You know the movies. They’re the weepy dramas, often based on a true story, about an ailed male protagonist. Maybe they comment on race relations in one or two scenes, maybe a main character is afflicted with a fatal disease, or maybe a man is wrecked with guilt for an accident he caused. They’re Oscar bait; the movies made to jerk tears and woo the Academy.
In a new skit from Late Night, Seth Meyers spoofs the cliches of a typical drama made with awards in mind. He longing gazes at passing trains, he suffers from a foot disease, he has a self realization while playing solitaire, and does the whole angrily-hitting-the-steering-wheel-while-screaming-in-the-car thing for about 30 seconds. It’s a funny parody of the movies we often see sweeping awards season each year.
There aren’t too many movies at this year’s Oscars that resemble Meyers’ spoof though. Sure there’s Lion, the biggest weep-fest of a movie you could imagine, but even that film didn’t have the typical over-saturation of marketing and For Your Consideration ads expected of awards bait. You could argue La La Land is Oscar bait in the sense that its a nostalgic love letter to Hollywood and classic musicals, but it’s far from from the dramas Meyers is spoofing. If anything Manchester By the Sea is the most Oscar baity of them all, but unfortunately it’s one that likely won’t win many accolades on Sunday night.
But this year the Best Picture Race also includes a film about a young queer black boy (the furthest thing from Oscar bait), a historical tale about three black women, and a sci-fi drama about motherhood and communication. So while Meyers hits the cliches perfectly, his parody is also a refreshing reminder of how exciting this year’s mix of Best Picture nominees are. La La Land may leave the ceremony as the night’s big winner, but at least this year’s awards is full of some unique and groundbreaking cinema.