Major Changes to Oscar Telecast

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Mister Tee
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Re: Major Changes to Oscar Telecast

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:20 pm

Okri wrote:How is this different than the Hoop Dreams for documentary anger, or the foreign film changes after 2007, in your mind?

The three changes are the same in the narrowest sense: each is meant to engender different results in the categories involved. But I think there are significant differences in the how and why the changes were/are meant to be achieved.

In the case of documentaries: there was a strong sense of cronyism prevailing among the rather limited group making the nominations. Films that had wide distribution/acclaim seemed to be perennially disadvantaged in favor of those made by people on the selection committee or their acquaintances. Suspicion was they were essentially rigging the system, to keep a popular favorite from likely triumphing over one of this clique's productions. This rigging had been going on for a while, but the Hoop Dreams thing made it crazy-obvious, and the Academy fixed things so that widely-seen docs now had a shot. (And, of course, they started winning -- which makes underdog fans unhappy, but, you know, why should this category be different from all other Oscar slots?)

(Aside: I wonder why the animated feature category hasn't been subject to the same "cut out the corruption" purge. The obvious blackballing of The LEGO Movie should have been the Hoop Dreams of its category.)

Foreign films were somewhat different. The process of winnowing nominees from such a wide pool of film was a deeply time-consuming effort. This wasn't such an issue when the category first appeared in the 40s/50s, because far fewer countries submitted films. But that's changed as worldwide cinema has expanded. These days, I don't know the exact number, but I assume it requires nominators having to screen something in the area of 100 films? The average industry-ite doesn't have near the time for such a project. So, volunteers for the committee tended to be retirees. I'm not opposed to these folks on principle -- particularly since the designation would apply to me these days -- but there was no doubt that the films they tended to nominate took on a much blander cast than those that had been nominated (and had been winning) in the 60s and 70s. The group clearly favored sentimental movies in general, often set in the years of their youth (lots of WWII and Holocaust movies), and resisted those that took much esthetic risk. At a certain point, this became too much for the Academy to bear, and they instituted reforms that helped somewhat hipper efforts make the cut. And, once voters were given these films as options, they started to win. I can't imagine, for instance, either Dogtooth or The Great Beauty being nominated by the fussbudget committee -- but the latter, once nominated, actually won.

In one sense, these two examples seem opposite: the idea under documentary was to get greater representation for audience-friendly efforts, while in foreign film the push was for the more difficult films to get their shot. But in another sense it was the same goal: to let prominent, often critically-acclaimed films take center-stage in Oscar voting the same way prominent, critically-acclaimed English-language fiction films do in the main categories.

The push for Best Popular Film seems the opposite: to lessen the emphasis on critical acclaim (since critically-acclaimed box-office hits already get best picture nominations all the time, as many here and elsewhere have documented), and to affect the voting outcome not by letting all films have their equal shot to compete with the field, but to improve a certain class of films' chances of winning by establishing arbitrary criteria that excludes some of the competition. (In that sense, animated feature might be the one category that's most analogous, but even with that you have clear criteria -- 99% of the time, it's easy to tell an animated film from a live action one -- rather than the still undefined standard of this new proposed category.)

Something interesting about the overwhelmingly negative response to these proposed changes (the only people I've seen in favor are Sasha Stone, Scott Feinberg and Mark Wahlberg -- take from that group what you will): it includes both people who think Black Panther should be nominated for all major Oscars, and people like myself or BJ, who...don't. It's a bit like Dems lining up with Never-Trumpers just now -- we've been foes before, and will no doubt soon be again. But, right this moment, we're united against a clear and present danger.

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Re: Major Changes to Oscar Telecast

Postby The Original BJ » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:21 pm

Okri wrote:
The Original BJ wrote:Here’s a wild idea: if the members of the Academy deem Black Panther to be worthy of a nomination for Best Picture, they should vote for it. If not, they should vote for something else. The idea that this movie is somehow more entitled to a Best Picture nomination than anything — and any Oscar voter who doesn’t think so is a failed Academy member — is starting to get on my nerves.


How is this different than the Hoop Dreams for documentary anger, or the foreign film changes after 2007, in your mind?


I guess any changes are going to be viewed through one's personal opinion of whatever movies they're intended to benefit. Which is to say, for me, finding ways to get more franchise blockbusters recognized by the Academy feels like causing rather than fixing a problem. Imagine if the documentary branch changes were not to make sure the next Hoop Dreams and Crumb were included, but Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, or the foreign film changes not to rescue 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, but Apocalypto.

I'm certainly not opposed to change for change's sake -- I think the influx of new members from all corners of the globe has been a welcome development (admittedly because I think it's probably benefited the kinds of movies I like to see included, like Phantom Thread and Call Me By Your Name). But I personally feel like the Marvelization of film culture hasn't been the most welcome development (and for the record, it's not like I HATE all of those movies or anything), so I'm not that enthused about it taking over the one arena where it seems those movies aren't center stage all the time.

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Re: Major Changes to Oscar Telecast

Postby Franz Ferdinand » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:13 pm


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Re: Major Changes to Oscar Telecast

Postby Precious Doll » Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:39 am

Okri wrote:
The Original BJ wrote:Here’s a wild idea: if the members of the Academy deem Black Panther to be worthy of a nomination for Best Picture, they should vote for it. If not, they should vote for something else. The idea that this movie is somehow more entitled to a Best Picture nomination than anything — and any Oscar voter who doesn’t think so is a failed Academy member — is starting to get on my nerves.


How is this different than the Hoop Dreams for documentary anger, or the foreign film changes after 2007, in your mind?


I think the documentary selection category has also and remains somewhat flawed, though since the days of Hoop Dreams I get the impression that there are a lot more film eligible for the category.

I think the changes to the Foreign Language Category have been very effective and did seem radical at the time - a committee selecting an extra 3 or 4 films to be added to a shortlist of 9 of which 5 will make the cut - but it has produced a 10 year run or so of winners that are an impressive bunch of films. I don't know the ins and outs of the changes over the years but during the 1980s and 1990s some horrendous choices were made in this category, third rate films directed by nobodys and if I'm correct about the voting process back then, seen by very few members of the Academy. Shame they hadn't come up with those change earlier as 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days would have been a likely (and deserved) winner in 2007.

Change can be a good thing when it is positive and pro-active and produces better results, like the Foreign Language Category but this 'popular film' stuff belongs on Peoples Choice or MTV not the Oscars.
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Re: Major Changes to Oscar Telecast

Postby Okri » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:02 am

The Original BJ wrote:Here’s a wild idea: if the members of the Academy deem Black Panther to be worthy of a nomination for Best Picture, they should vote for it. If not, they should vote for something else. The idea that this movie is somehow more entitled to a Best Picture nomination than anything — and any Oscar voter who doesn’t think so is a failed Academy member — is starting to get on my nerves.


How is this different than the Hoop Dreams for documentary anger, or the foreign film changes after 2007, in your mind?

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Re: Major Changes to Oscar Telecast

Postby anonymous1980 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:51 am

To get us back on track, I looked this up.

The Oscars seem to want to model themselves after the Grammys. The Grammys mostly nominate and reward the biggest, most popular names in music. They have the biggest stars presenting and performing. They hardly have any actual awards in their show at all (They presented only 9 on air despite having 80+ categories and 3 hours to kill).

Their ratings? 19.8 million

The Oscars: 26.5 million.

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Re: Major Changes to Oscar Telecast

Postby OscarGuy » Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:27 am

Wesley Lovell
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Re: Major Changes to Oscar Telecast

Postby Reza » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:54 am

Reza wrote:
Precious Doll wrote:
The Original BJ wrote:Here’s a wild idea: if the members of the Academy deem Black Panther to be worthy of a nomination for Best Picture, they should vote for it. If not, they should vote for something else. The idea that this movie is somehow more entitled to a Best Picture nomination than anything — and any Oscar voter who doesn’t think so is a failed Academy member — is starting to get on my nerves.

All of that said, I’m increasingly thinking the movie is in for a Best Picture spot. The bird-in-the-hand rule is really benefitting it right now, since it’s really the only thing even in the Oscar conversation at this point, and we also haven’t seen anything remotely at the Get Out/Dunkirk level (and may not through the rest of the year) to take its populist heat away. All of the past few days’ articles have me thinking people are really taking it seriously as a contender, and that perception should help it a lot.


I am in 100% agreement with you BJ but I also think everyone is now so shit scared of 'offending' someone with anything from a sideway glance to an omission now deemed worthy of crucifixion or worse by 'social media'.


Only in the United States of America. Thank God sanity still prevails elsewhere in the world.


I guess not. Just read your post about your experiences at the cinema and on the road.

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Re: Major Changes to Oscar Telecast

Postby Reza » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:48 am

Precious Doll wrote:
The Original BJ wrote:Here’s a wild idea: if the members of the Academy deem Black Panther to be worthy of a nomination for Best Picture, they should vote for it. If not, they should vote for something else. The idea that this movie is somehow more entitled to a Best Picture nomination than anything — and any Oscar voter who doesn’t think so is a failed Academy member — is starting to get on my nerves.

All of that said, I’m increasingly thinking the movie is in for a Best Picture spot. The bird-in-the-hand rule is really benefitting it right now, since it’s really the only thing even in the Oscar conversation at this point, and we also haven’t seen anything remotely at the Get Out/Dunkirk level (and may not through the rest of the year) to take its populist heat away. All of the past few days’ articles have me thinking people are really taking it seriously as a contender, and that perception should help it a lot.


I am in 100% agreement with you BJ but I also think everyone is now so shit scared of 'offending' someone with anything from a sideway glance to an omission now deemed worthy of crucifixion or worse by 'social media'.


Only in the United States of America. Thank God sanity still prevails elsewhere in the world.

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Re: Major Changes to Oscar Telecast

Postby Precious Doll » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:27 am

The Original BJ wrote:Here’s a wild idea: if the members of the Academy deem Black Panther to be worthy of a nomination for Best Picture, they should vote for it. If not, they should vote for something else. The idea that this movie is somehow more entitled to a Best Picture nomination than anything — and any Oscar voter who doesn’t think so is a failed Academy member — is starting to get on my nerves.

All of that said, I’m increasingly thinking the movie is in for a Best Picture spot. The bird-in-the-hand rule is really benefitting it right now, since it’s really the only thing even in the Oscar conversation at this point, and we also haven’t seen anything remotely at the Get Out/Dunkirk level (and may not through the rest of the year) to take its populist heat away. All of the past few days’ articles have me thinking people are really taking it seriously as a contender, and that perception should help it a lot.


I am in 100% agreement with you BJ but I also think everyone is now so shit scared of 'offending' someone with anything from a sideway glance to an omission now deemed worthy of crucifixion or worse by 'social media'.
"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.

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Re: Major Changes to Oscar Telecast

Postby The Original BJ » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:04 pm

Here’s a wild idea: if the members of the Academy deem Black Panther to be worthy of a nomination for Best Picture, they should vote for it. If not, they should vote for something else. The idea that this movie is somehow more entitled to a Best Picture nomination than anything — and any Oscar voter who doesn’t think so is a failed Academy member — is starting to get on my nerves.

All of that said, I’m increasingly thinking the movie is in for a Best Picture spot. The bird-in-the-hand rule is really benefitting it right now, since it’s really the only thing even in the Oscar conversation at this point, and we also haven’t seen anything remotely at the Get Out/Dunkirk level (and may not through the rest of the year) to take its populist heat away. All of the past few days’ articles have me thinking people are really taking it seriously as a contender, and that perception should help it a lot.

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Re: Major Changes to Oscar Telecast

Postby anonymous1980 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:51 pm

Nathaniel Rogers' blog busting the myth that the Oscars "don't nominate popular films."

He also proposed a compromise/alternative to adding a "Best Blockbuster" category: Do an executive committee "save" just like they do in Foreign Language Film. If they're so deathly afraid they're gonna get a lot of shit for snubbing Black Panther, then they should form a committee who will vote to add it to the Best Picture roster if the general votes don't. I'm not a complete fan of it but it's a better option than a "Best Blockbuster" category.

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Re: Major Changes to Oscar Telecast

Postby Big Magilla » Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:38 pm

Here's Anne Thompson Indiewire Post - in a nutshell, ABC asked for an even tackier Best Blockbuster category to bolster ratings which some saw as a ploy to get ABC/Disney owned Marvel an easy Oscar for Black Panther.

https://www.indiewire.com/2018/08/black ... 201992483/
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Re: Major Changes to Oscar Telecast

Postby Reza » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:32 pm

Creating this new category is a terrible idea but it would be interesting to see the eligibility rules for it.

I still can't believe they actually created this to ensure ratings which they will still not get. I think they just want Black Panther to win it because they knew that beyond costume design it was not going to get any other nods.

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Re: Major Changes to Oscar Telecast

Postby Precious Doll » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:03 am

Just a few random thoughts as I agree with just about everything that people have already brought up:

- Shunting some of the minor technical awards to the commercial breaks is so fundamentally unfair. This may be there only chance to accept and Oscar and for the family and friend to experience on TV. They deserve respect and a play in the show.

- Introducing a new category for 'popular' film will be missing the point. To some degree the winner of the best film is the most popular and sometimes like Titanic or Lord of the Rings 3 they happen to be popular with the larger population in general.

- Start accepting the fact that the industry is changing and the Oscars don't have the interest or clout they once held. Most people don't care. It's just s tradition and long my it reign but they simply have to accept the fact the few people give a second thought to the Oscar race, regardless of what is in contention.

- This talk of bringing forward the awards days is utter nonsense and unworkable. How are members supposed to view all those films in such a short timeframe. Half of them would be working on projects which would give them even less time to access the nominees and then return their voting forum after given reasonable consideration.

- This smells like a way of trying to get higher TV ratings to help generate more revenue for the Academy. Ain't going' happen. The general public have other things on their minds and they ain't Oscars. If the Academy wants to raise some revenue how about selling their old presentations on DVD & Blu Ray - shouldn't be too difficult to clear the song and clips from the films rights. They could also stream them as well.

- If they want to shorten the short the only way I can think of doing that is to reduce the number of candidates in the Animated Feature Category given the small number in comparison to other fields which have far more candidates to choose from and are only allowed 5 nominees.

- As for the show always being too long and 'going-over'time'. Well, for better or worse it's tradition.
Last edited by Precious Doll on Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.


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