The Oscars are one of Hollywood’s greatest traditions, but they’re also one of the more inherently divisive. In any situation where you’re attempting to name a singular, unequivocal “Best” in a subjective category—not just a collection of “Very Goods” or “Great Efforts”—you’re going to draw some criticism. That’s partly because movies aren’t math problem sets: there’s not a single right way to do things, nor a single right answer upon which to arrive, and in reality, one person’s interpretation of a film can be entirely different than what someone else sees. And so, those films and filmmakers that do win Oscars necessarily have to appeal to votes based on the quality of the film, as well as appealing to the sense of populism they need to secure the majority of votes.
And that’s maybe why the Academy’s notorious, career-spanning snub of Alfred Hitchcock—one of film history’s most enduringly entertaining AND well-respected filmmakers—is especially perplexing.