Posts Tagged ‘academy awards


OW: And the Nominees Are . . .

Academy award nominations come out next week Tuesday, and the big change that was announced was that the Best Picture category was going to be expanded from five nominees to ten nominees. According to then Academy President Sid Ganis, the decision to expand the list was to “allow Academy voters to recognize and include some of the fantastic movies that often show up in the other Oscar categories, but have been squeezed out of the race for the top prize.”

Now, it’s been debated for months what the actual impact of this decision will be (if any) by bloggers and critics alike, but now that the votes are already in (they were due by Saturday, January 23) is the addition of five more nominees enough to make a difference?

LA Times columnist Patrick Goldstein sets us straight:

“As virtually every breathless Oscar prognosticator will tell you, there are only four movies that have even a remote chance of winning best picture, and all four of them — “Avatar,” “The Hurt Locker,” “Inglourious Basterds” and “Up in the Air” — would’ve made the final cut anyway, regardless of whether the academy had five or 10 best picture nominees this year . . . . it’s safe to say that all the other films in the discussion are glorified also-rans. It’s a four-film race. Period. . . . none of the films outside of the Fab Four is going anywhere.”

In essence Goldstein figures that with these four movies a shoo-in for noms and one most likely to take home the award, having ten nominations changed little if anything at all. When posed the question on whether or not it was still a bad move to expand the nominees, current Academy president Tom Sherak had this to say:

“I know it’s the oldest cliche in the world but, by and large, if people are talking about you, it’s always a good thing. The move to expand the nominees has created an enormous amount of buzz about the Oscars and the movies that are in contention. A lot of people think it’s a good idea, a lot of people don’t, but regardless of the pros and cons, it’s ignited a debate that been good for the Oscars.”

Now I know this has been debated to death, but Goldstein makes a valid point. What was the purpose of this exercise if there are sure fire Oscar noms? Is being “talked about” as Sherak implies simply enough? Or will the six other nominees “being recognized” be satisfied with that?

In these quotes from two different Academy presidents we have different reasonings for having nominations–with only one of them supporting the benefit of the nominees. When it comes down to it, I tend to agree with Goldstein, adding five more nominations doesn’t do all that much. In this specific scenario this year, I’m sure that the other six movies that are nominated would be talked about just as much if they hadn’t been nominated before this change was made (they probably still would have been talked about just as much–but mainly because why they’re good but not included).

This is of course all hypotheticals. We’ll just have to wait and see after the awards come out whether or not this decision proved fruitful.


OW: More Transparency Needed as We Look Behind the Curtain


When the nominations for this year’s Academy Awards were announced several weeks ago, some called the absence of Bruce Springsteen’s song, The Wrestler, from the list of nominations a “snub.” I’ve read that a lot of people are shaking their heads and asking why it wasn’t listed as a nominee when the song evokes the same strong feelings that the movie portrays. With only three nominees in the category and if the song is as good as advertised, it begs the question . . . what happened?

Shedding some light on the reason is Steven Zeitchik’s article from the Hollywood Reporter:

The branch’s several hundred members no longer list their top five choices, as they did for years (and as they do for best original score). Instead, they rate the songs on a scale of 6 to 10, with half-scores (say, 7.5) allowed, too. In order to land a nom, a song has to average an 8.25. (If more than five songs hit that mark, the five highest make it.) . . .

But the system doesn’t end there. Voters don’t just rate a song based on how they liked it. They rate each on the 6-10 scale twice, first strictly on the merits, then based on how it plays in the film. The idea is to make sure that people aren’t just voting for a good piece of musicianship, but choosing a song that complements or enhances the movie. “People sometimes think this is like the Grammys, where we’re just choosing out favorite song. But this is a film award, and you have to look at how a piece of music works with the rest of the film,” [branch chair Bruce] Boughton says.

“It’s not a perfect system,” Boughton acknowledges. “We’re going to sit down after all this and see if there are ways to improve it.”

There is the perception out there that the Academy is not accurately assessing its industry and at it’s worst, are totally off base when making award selections. Add that to the fact that the general public has no insight into the awards process and you have an award that one group of people thinks is baseless and another that accepts it as dogma. That is why I’m really glad I stumbled upon this article. I think it gives us some transparency into the awards process, if only for this category.

To me, the system seems simple enough. Granted, the decision is still up to voters who can vote any which way, but what happens if there are no films that get a score of 8.25 or higher? Would the Academy not have an award for Best Original Song for that year? What I appreciate is the Boughton’s forthrightness behind how the process works as well as an acknowledgment that maybe there might be ways to improve it.

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