I hate to disagree with such an amiable guy as Jack Matthews ("The Trouble With Oscar," April 10), but I wonder if he's considered the fact that the Oscars are a pretty fair representation of the mainstream Hollywood product. This "Academy" has always been made up of respectable professionals, craftsmen and technicians, certainly, but very few artists.
The Academy can wrap Oscar from head to ped(estal) in artistic pretensions, and any objective observer will still be able to see he's wearing no clothes. When you have this huge body of voters, all of them working in an industry that depends more and more on box-office receipts as its sole justification for being, it stands to reason that originality and artistic integrity are going to take a beating, which fact the Oscars annually demonstrate.
If the Academy started recognizing the best films and the people responsible for their production (and there would certainly be more than five in each category), I'm not sure what you'd have, but it wouldn't be the Oscars.
What we need to make ourselves feel better about the Oscars is simply to pay them less attention, or failing that, to disregard the Academy's absurd pretensions. The Academy is no more fit to determine artistic merit than Elvis was to determine culinary merit. My suggestion to the Academy would be to change Oscar's name to "Nutty-Buddy."