The film Cake, starring Jennifer Aniston, is a likely Oscar contender. It's also "one of the very worst films of 2014," writes David Ehrlich at Slate. Its inclusion in the Oscar conversation simply underlines how "hollow" the awards process is. "Cake is not a reflection of a system in which films exist for awards more than awards exist for films—it’s a product of it," he notes. The film, "more brazenly than any other movie in recent memory, reveals that the Oscars are a sport, and—like all sports—they’re won by whoever wants it most (provided the player has deep pockets, as this league has no salary cap)."
Aniston stars as a woman suffering from chronic pain after a "mysterious accident." It stays a mystery for most of the film, which means the "most relevant dramatic question becomes: Why is this beautiful person slightly less beautiful than we’ve been conditioned to think she should be?" These days, Aniston is touring the country campaigning for an Oscar, and the film's production company, Cinelou, appears to have sought one from the start as a way to bolster the new firm. An exec says Cinelou "saw an opportunity" after the Oscars recognized "so many" films "outside the studio system" last year. Perhaps we can't blame Cinelou or Aniston for "playing the game," but "it’s astonishing just how transparently Cake’s awards push has epitomized the grotesque caricature that awards season truly is," Ehrlich writes. Click for the full piece.