Monday, June 29, 2009

TEN Best Picture nominees. Really????















Hey, good news! There’s now a chance TRANSFORMERS II can be nominated for an Oscar as Best Picture of the Year! Same for LAND OF THE LOST. There will now be ten nominees for Best Picture instead of five. Hollywood is still reeling from this “bombshell” (as Academy President Sid Ganis put it).

Why the change?

Ratings for the Oscarcast suck. The all-important young people aren’t watching. So the Academy is changing their long-standing policy to be more like the MTV Movie Awards.

The argument of course, is moviegoers don’t care about the Oscars because the nominees are all art films, usually depressing, and co-star Judi Dench in at least four of them. Films like YEAR ONE get passed over whenever there’s a Holocaust entry. So to increase desired-demographic interest the Academy will now cast a wider net allowing summer popcorn fare to join the Oscar party.

The big question of course is – are there even ten good movies a year? Will GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST actually receive consideration?

The truth is these mainstream movies for the most part will just become schmuck bait. The SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRES and dreary Paul Thomas Anderson films will still be the main contenders. STAR TREK and G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA may now get nominations but who are we kidding?

You’d think Hollywood would be thrilled by this announcement but they're not. This just means they have to spend more money on Oscar campaigns, money they can now ill afford to waste. “For Your Consideration: DANCE FLICK”. Might as well make paper hats with that campaign allotment.

The studios have been scaling back their Oscar campaigns, not only because of the economy but because Oscar nominations don’t bring people into the Cineplex like they once did. And now they’re going to have to fend off the producers of IMAGINE THAT who feel they deserve some love?

This also may backfire for the Academy because it means the Oscarcast will be that much longer. We’ll have to see clips from CRANK 2: HIGH VOLTAGE. The show’s too long by several hours as it is.

But members of the Academy must be thrilled. More nominees mean MORE SCREENER DVDS!! Why rent ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS for the kids when you can get a copy for free? The housekeepers of L.A. will be able to see all their favorite movies now, not just Sean Penn fare.

I’m just glad there weren’t ten nominees in 1985. I’d hate to think VOLUNTEERS would be shut out while PEE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE got a Best Picture nod.

37 comments:

Mike Bell said...

I'm actually looking forward to the "For you consideration" ads in the trades.

Tyler Perry must be wetting himself right now.

I kid. Because I love.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Agreed. Madea will finally be honored by the Academy. It's Perry's time now!

Michael Hagerty said...

The word flick in all caps and italics made me think The Valley might have an Oscar contender.

gottacook said...

Actually, the TV show might not get longer than it is now: It's also been announced that (1) the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, and other honorary Oscars will now be given at a separate banquet, and (2) Best Song nominees must pass a certain threshold in a scoring system to compete, and if there are fewer than two, then there will be no award that year (and hence no potentially misconceived song performances).

Frankly I don't care what the Academy includes or excludes in next year's telecast, as long as they don't again hire the director who decided it would be a good thing to make the camera swoop around during the "in memoriam" segment, rendering many of the honored dead unrecognizable and their names unreadable (although I did find online a version of the same film that was stationary).

sephim said...

I don't think they're going to have room for ten noms, not with the 45 minute "Tribute To Michael Jackson" they have to have now.

Anonymous said...

I guess you have to give them credit for trying. Whatever cache the original award shows had has been diluted by all the meaningless ancillary 'award' shows. Let's face it, MTV, Kids Choice, Teen Choice, Guys Choice, Your Pets Choice are all PR fests where celebrities exchange an appearance for a chance to hype whatever they have coming out.

Remove the fact that the awards are all subjective and generally meaningless and your left with whatever indigenous entertainment value the shows might have. On that basis a lot the audience, especially the all important young adult demographic, actually do enjoy watching the MTV Movie Awards more than the Academy Awards.

I don't understand why they felt the need to go to 10 movies. Why not try 6 or 7 and see how that goes?

My suggestion; let's have the general public vote in a "Wild Card" film, using twitter of course. Also, I think they should have Simon Cowell critique all of the nominees before they announce the winner.

Ultimately Emmy, Tony, Grammy and uh... Academy all have the same choice; either chase ratings with programming stunts until they are indistinguishable from the shows that mock them, or maintain their dignity, do a show to honor their respective industries and live with the fact the ratings are going to go down like Bruno eating a Ball Park frank.

Eric said...

I think the Academy Awards used to be more popular when theatrical releases of movies were more popular. TV and direct-to-DVD and video stores have not helped the cause.

And honestly, some of the awards they give are a little puzzling. Best Screenplay... Best Adaptation from a Novel... Best Original Screenplay... Best Story... Best Revival of a Play into a Move That Was Written by Two Jews in a Deli who Didn't Order Corned Beef...

Shucks, call a spade a spade. Make the damned show two hours long, and just give the actor awards and movie awards. Oh, and as noted, the memorial part of the show WITH A STATIONARY CAMERA.

WV: fiate - Because fiseven didn't work.

Paul Duca said...

Weren't there more than five Best Picture nominees in the early days of the Oscars? I seem to have read that somewhere?

Eric--remember Johnny Carson's immortal Oscar hosting comment "Two hours of sparkling entertainment...spread out over a four hour show"

John said...

Has anyone actually seen Crank 2? It's fabulous. No kidding, a stupid action movie that's not afraid of it's own genre and willing to take it over the top and keep on going. Like Up, in its way. Pure cinema. Hear me now and believe me later. The Oscars should cut to a Crank 2 clip early and often. Screams, I guarantee you, screams.

Anonymous said...

There were 5 Best Picture nominees
per year for the first 4 years.

It went to 8 nominees in the 5th year.

Then 10 in the 6th year.

Both 1934 and 1935 had 12 Best Picture nominees.

There were 10 Best Picture nominees
per year from 1936 -1943.

It's been 5 since 1944.

Mary Stella said...

It's all about the ratings?? I'm so naive. All this time I thought the broadcast was about seeing who won what award. Now you tell me the big screen is pandering to the small screen's demographics and adding nominees.

Here's my idea of an ideal Oscar broadcast: More shots of the red carpet entrances but use mimes as the hosts. I like to see what everyone's wearing but hate the inane commentary. Always have Hugh Jackman host the show and do a brilliant opening routine. Announce the first group of winners -- maybe five awards, total -- and have them come up one after the other to get their statues. Transition with another number by Hugh Jackman. Announce the next group of winners.

One more number by Hugh Jackman - singing the Best Original Song winner but none of the other nominees. Just tell people they can d/l them from iTunes.

Finish with the announcement of Best Actor/Actress/Director/Film.

Hugh Jackman says goodnight.

Put hidden microphones at all the exits so you can hear what everybody leaving really thinks.

Show's over in less than 90 minutes.

Irene Rubaum-Keller said...

I get the SAG DVDs and this year I think only The Dark Knight came. They cheaped out and sent movie passes to screenings instead. If I didn't go see Ghosts of Girlfriends Past close by, at a reasonable hour, I'm sure as hell not going to Burbank at 5:30pm on the 405. What are they thinking?

Blaze said...

I'm not holding my breath that ten slots means light-hearted movies or comedies will have a chance at bat. It'll just be the other stultifyingly deep and tediously meaningful that didn't quite made the cut with five slots.

Nathan said...

I read gottacook's comment about the camera swooping around during the "in memorium" segment (which, frankly, I didn't remember), and my first thought was to wonder, "Were they looking for dead celebrities in the audience"?

ryanpaige said...

There's been ten screenplay nominations (over two categories) for some time, and they manage to not have to nominate stuff like Transformers and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past despite having to fill ten slots.

Though I believe Borat did get a nomination a couple of years ago.

Rockgolf said...

Not for an instant am I concerned that the films you list will be nominated for Best Picture. After all, 9 out of 10 movies released in America are pornos, and you never see anything like that at the Oscars.
I'm sure that the industry will find at least 8 films deserving of nomintation. And that's still 3 more than was possible in previous years.
Of course, it does mean the AMC theater's Oscar nominee marathon will have to increase to a 2-day event.

WV:Pirrest - because pies need sleep too.

gottacook said...

Nathan: The camera was swooping around apparently in an effort to "enhance" Queen Latifah's performance; she was singing next to and downstage from the screen showing the In Memoriam film, which as a result was absurdly difficult to see on TV. Sorry, no audience shots, this year at least.

John said...

This is more of a "save us/save the audience from themselves" type of thing. If you look at the Oscar nominees for the past 3-4 years and look at the top grossing movies for each year, there's been a growing disconnect between what the Academy judges think should be nominated, and what the audiences are shelling out their $10-to-IMAX-$20s to see.

Expanding it to 10 nominees means the judges can still pick "their" films, even if some of those suck dirt at the box office. But they can also throw in 3-4 high grossing pictures that got halfway decent reviews as a way to try and lure the viewers back into the telecast. There's no way in hell those 3-4 films are going to win, but in the Academy's mind, it's the thought that counts.

Steve the Creep said...

I think the question of whether or not the Academy should have expanded the Best Picture nominees to 10 is good to debate, but seriously, bringing up Transformers 2, G.I. Joe and Land of the Lost? That's like the red state senator who argues against gay marriage by saying it'll lead to men marrying their pet snakes.

I think a bigger issue is that if you don't live in Los Angeles or California, you can't see half the films that are nominated. How are you supposed to be invested in whether or not a film wins when it opened on Christmas Day in those two markets only?

I think a big way to help make the Academy Awards more appealing is to make it less formal. Remember the Golden Globes when Ricky Gervais got up there with a beer in his hand and started riffing. Now that's something I wouldn't fast forward through.

Emily Blake said...

I don't understand why it can't be a different number depending on the nominations. If there are 5 good movies in a year, nominate 5. If 7, nominate 7. Why does it have to be 5 or 10, or any predetermined number?

Tom Quigley said...

Nathan said:

..."I read gottacook's comment about the camera swooping around during the 'in memorium' segment (which, frankly, I didn't remember), and my first thought was to wonder, 'Were they looking for dead celebrities in the audience'"?...

Indeed they were... As a matter of fact, I recall them zooming in on Peter O'Toole several times...

Vermonter17032 said...

Instead of expanding the BEST PICTURE category, they should ad a category: BEST FILM TO GROSS $200 MILLION OR MORE.

But I'd be happy to see STAR TREK nominated this year. It really is a very good film... Better than several Oscar winners in my opinion (i.e. Titanic, Gladiator, to name just two that come to mind).

WV: aloot - Business practice made popular by ENRON and Bernie Madoff.

Kirk Jusko said...

The so-called "important" films won't neccesarily win. Remember, the winner is the film with the single most votes, but the single most votes aren't always the MAJORITY of the votes. I can envision a situation where the important films split the vote, and something like YEAR ONE wins.

This has always been a problem (for those who care) for the Oscars, whether there's 10 films nominated or five. What they really need is a runoff vote if no single film gets a majority. Of, course, if you do that, the telecast will be even longer.

Tom W said...

Considering the world market (or foreign market if you want to be provincial) for movies and the success of Slumdog Millionaire, I think it's more likely to see more non-American films nominated than box office winners.

Alan Coil said...

Doesn't matter if there are 5, 10, or 20 nominations if they are going to nominate weak movies like Gladiator. I liked Joaquin Phoenix's performance in the movie, but the rest was tripe.

No, let's NOT invite the general public to vote on a wildcard movie. The general public can't be trusted to know gold from pyrite.

The most important movie this year is Transformers 2 because it has already made over $200 million domestically, $400 million worldwide. Do we want such manure nominated for ANY award show?

D. McEwan said...

"sephim said...
I don't think they're going to have room for ten noms, not with the 45 minute 'Tribute To Michael Jackson' they have to have now."

Commemorating what? His embarassing performance in THE WIZ back in 1979, 30 years ago? He wasn't a movie star. Let the Grammy's do the tributes to the King of Pap. The Oscars are for Movie Stars.

"Mary Stella said...
It's all about the ratings?? I'm so naive."

No Mary, it's not about the ratings, as much as they'd like them higher. It's about stimulating movie-going, and the more nominated movies, the more movies that get the Oscar-Nom Bump and sell more tickets. At least that's the theory.

My theory is, instead of nominating ten "Best Pictures," trying MAKING ten good movies. But stimulating the box office through increased movie quality is too radical an idea to risk money on.

WV: perphati: the surcharge added by a pretentious place for obese patrons: "That'll be an addtional $10 perphati."

Anonymous said...

How to make the Oscars exciting again:

Run clips of old Oscar shows with classic movie stars arriving at the podium, use top-notch impressionists to dub in their voices.

i.e.) Bogie: Here's looking at you, kid. And you, and you, and you, and you, and you, and you, and you. So much for my chat with the octomom. Who writes this crap?

Wayne said...

Just what Hollywood needs. More self congratulation.

gottacook said...

Congratulations to (kaynahora) Senator-elect Al Franken!

addy said...

It's probably impolitic to say, but Pee Wee's Big Adventure WAS better. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering... did you have anything to do with "Volunteers"?

Ian

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Rather than adding five more Best Movie nominations they should have added five movies in a new category: Popcorn Schlock flicks. Let the lowbrows have their moment.

Jaime J. Weinman said...

Pee Wee's Big Adventure was a better film than any of the five best picture nominees that year (and a lot better than the winner, Out of Africa). No matter how many movies they nominate, they'll always wind up giving the awards and most nominations to big, boring, "important" movies (except for occasional years when a freakishly entertaining movie such as Casablanca manages to slip through) and the movies that become classics will be the crazy little imaginative-type movies.

J.J. said...

Okay, I've written this idea elsewhere, but we'll play it again just for shits and giggles. Here's my plan:

One Best Picture per month (every month a new picture gets nominated), that makes 10. Then two wildcard pictures get nominated, say from the holiday season or summer or whatever... That makes a total of 12. They're seeded by some arbitrary process. Those 12 square off in a playoff format starting in January -- The # 1 seed vs the # 12. the # 2 vs. 11, etc, etc. etc. The winners of the playoff elimination go through the process again - the seeds left go head to head (using the same process: winner of the 1 vs. 12 gets to be the number 1 seed again and plays number 6, etc). Then the winners of the series go to the Academy Awards Live show where there are three judges who give their opinion about the films and try to influence the live audience vote. The live audience votes and the winner is announced. Nobody knows who it will be until that announcement... The process would be fun and add a true eliminate of surprise to the Awards. Heck, this idea could work for all of the categories...

If you're going to make a mockery of the Academy Awards, might as well go all the way, right?

Kirk Jusko said...

PEE WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE was directed by Tim Burton (his first film, I think.) Sooner or later, that guy's got to win an Oscar.

sephim said...

D. - you forgot about Moonwalker and I'm sure they'll count Captain EO.

And they will definitely be playing both his and Crispin Glover's version of 'Ben' because you know, why not?

Or the time he was nominated for "Best Pyrotechnics" for that Pepsi commercial?

And in case they need to make up more time, they'll just superimpose his head over La Toya's Playboy shoot - or maybe they won't, because nobody can tell the difference between them anyway.

Well, they probably can now.

lumbarp said...

I'm trying to remember the last time that I actually CARED about the Oscars . . . It must have been years ago. I actually stopped watching them the year that SILENCE OF THE LAMBS pretty much swept the thing (frankly, Anthony Hopkins just souped-up the performance he gave in a really good TV movie called GUILTY CONSCIENCE to play Lecter, and Jodie Foster grimaced as if in need of a powerful laxative, which was not pretty to watch). Of course, the Oscars are boring because movies are boring--most of the good writing and acting are being done on TV these days--which is why I tend to watch the Emmys.