No-one is every happy with the Oscars. For all their yearly attempts to shake things up, to improve the way their prizes are bestowed they never seem to get to the core of the problem. Quite simply they’re reactive not pro-active. The Dark Knight & Wall-E don’t get in? Expand the field to Ten. 4 Weeks, 3 Months, 2 Days doesn’t get in for Foreign Language Film? Implement an executive committee to ensure similar oversights don’t happen in the future. Not enough young people watching the ceremony? Hire James Franco & Anne Hathaway as hosts. No-one liked James Franco & Anne Hathaway’s attempt at performance art and Eddie Murphy shits the bed? Get Billy Crystal back.
Every decision is made to fix the short term game, and no-one’s thinking about the long con. The closest it gets is the annual discussion to move the Oscar Ceremony closer to the end of the calendar year which never amounts to anything. The reasoning being that they 6,000 odd Academy voters won’t have time to watch all the films to fairly distribute their vote, heavily insinuating the problem really is the way the season’s played by the studios. In order to remain fresh in the voter’s minds, the studios stockpile their product into the last couple of months of the year… occasionally releasing them only in one screen for a week to qualify before rolling them out in the new year (see: Rampart, We Need to Talk About Kevin).
So with a bit of reverse engineering it appears the key to getting an earlier Awards Ceremony (which I think we can all agree is in the best interests of everyone…) is to ensure all the voters see the films in time. Let’s do this in stages:
- Stockpiling all the films into the last few calendar months is creating an overwhelming volume of media for one person to watch so let’s spread them out throughout the whole year.
- Doing this would benefit a) the cinema goer who would be rewarded with greater choice throughout formally quiet months and a more relaxed viewing schedule. Nothing harms a film more than being squeezed in between two other works in the cold harsh December with Christmas Shopping on the mind.
- The counter argument to this is that films will be forgotten by Voting in January (because with an earlier ceremony… voting could open from Jan 1st). If you’re question is “Does Bradley have an amazing solution for this?” then the answer would be “Why yes… yes he does…”
- Mid-Year Voting. Stay with me… The Academy holds a vote for it’s members opening July 1st for voting in all categories for films in the first half of the year to be considered. There’s no prize ceremony, and although it would be nice to see, the results for this need not be made public.
- The results of the above vote will be tabulated and the Top 5 in each category will be then sent to each Academy Voter with their initial Nomination Ballot at the end of the year. This will allow the voters an opportunity to reassess what they felt to be the key works in the first half of the year ensuring they’re not forgotten come Voting Season.
- Of course making this public would allow studios to know which pre-season films to throw their weight and support behind, concentrate screener distribution and allow potential re-releases for a little extra cash.
- FINALLY, one result of this would be (hopefully) the diminished role of other awards voting bodies in the precursor season. By now having the ability to move the ceremony earlier, other bodies won’t have time to influence the season and may even be forced to postpone until after the Oscars allowing the views of the Academy to be their own.
I’m just old enough to remember the days when the Oscar Winners weren’t so fucking dull, so telegraphed that watching the ceremony feels closer to televised rigor mortis. Although it wouldn’t be possible to eliminate the precursor season completely it may allow for a more singular personality to shine through in the way the Academy votes and at the very least… it might make it all a bit more exciting. Who knows, if it had happened this year Fast Five may have got the Best Picture Nomination it so richly deserved…
Thoughts? Message me @mrbonturcode or leave a comment below!!