Now that we have had a few days to recover from this crazy award season, let’s take a moment to reflect. This year so many unique things happened this awards season and many of them were derived from changes the Academy made. Of course like any change, there are sometimes problems along the way like the well documented troubles with the online system and the kneecapping of December contenders that occurred when they changed the Phase 1 deadline mid-year. However slowly, the Academy has adapted to the shifting landscape of the awards season and film. But what more could they do? Well today’s Circuit 3 attempts to answer the question: what changes would you like to see the Academy make?
1. Stop using the host as a ploy for ratings. There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to improve ratings for the Oscars. It is a TV show and requires ads to pay for it, so by all means go and look for new ways to get people to watch the show. But don’t pick a host specifically because you want young people to watch when you know it won’t play well. Seth Macfarlane is a gifted comedian and showman but under the Academy purview he was so bland and restrained that I couldn’t even get worked up at how offensive he was and I won’t even go into the debacle that was James Franco and Anne Hathaway. Few people who have the slightest interest in film and the Oscars are tuning in because of the host. If you look at the highest rated telecasts, the reason they were so watched is because of the films nominated, not the host.
2. Go Back to 10 Best Picture nominees. This might just be something petty but I generally hate lists that aren’t multiples of 5 (Circuit 3 excepted). This sliding scale thing just gave us back to back years of 9 nominees, so what would have been the issue with 10? The real reason I think the Academy should go back to 10 is that it really forces the voters to take stock of an entire year and determine what the best films to represent that year are. How thrilling was it to see District 9 and Inception among the nominees? Even though I abhor The Blind Side, I can argue that it deserved to be in that Best Picture lineup based on its importance to the film year. I don’t think 10 nominees ruins the exclusivity of the award considering something like 400 films are released a year, but it certainly could help those ratings and the public opinion.
3. Change the (Foreign language and qualifying run) eligibility rules. I kind of cheated here but these are two rules I have a big problem with. This business of only allowing one film per country to compete doesn’t help improve international cinema in this country and also breeds spite for famous filmmakers (see Spain’s treatment of Almodovar since about 2002). If France or Spain or Iran or some country we’ve yet to hear about have 3 of the best foreign language films of the year and they get nominated, what’s the big deal? Another issue I have is with this foolishness that is the one week qualifying run in NYC and LA. I am fully aware many producers use the Oscar noms as a way to generate business, but this policy is so elitist and anti-consumer. How are you going to declare something the best of the year and 96% of the country won’t get to see the film till January or February of the next year, if at all? Amour and Zero Dark Thirty didn’t open till Jan 18 in Houston where I live, a city with 2 million people and the number 6 media market! I think that being nominated for any kind of award has to be earned via critical clout, box office, word of mouth and this current policy doesn’t help with that. I’d like to see them go to a 5 out of the top 10 major market minimum for one week qualifying release.
What are the 3 changes you think the Academy should make?