A few facts about today’s news item worth paying attention to — as told to me by Michael Moore himself in a phone call this evening:
1) The entire branch of 166 documentary filmmakers will now get to vote on the doc nominees, where in the past that privilege was limited to private screenings by a selection committee.
2) Screeners for the documentaries will now be sent out to all members where before they had to view them in a theater during a specific time and vote that day.
3) They will get the films quarterly. They will receive around 15 films every few months to watch instead of having to cram them all in at the end of the year — they still have to qualify, but they will be seen.
4) The new rules effectively protect the smaller fish from being chased out because the big fish have more money to manipulate the broken system.
5) The reviewing policy was written with conditions that heavily benefit the filmmakers, not the critics and not the Academy. Any filmmaker can appeal if no critic is sent to review their film. Why was this system implemented? It’s explained below.
Moore says, though, that after two years of trying to get these rules changed — something I’ve never seen any individual do in the 13 years I’ve been covering the race — the way it all came down was ultimately “heartbreaking.” Though he was only elected a year and half ago, Moore says it’s a cause that’s been close to his heart as he’s watched year after year the great documentaries virtually ignored, “The Academy says it’s decided what the Best Documentary of the year is. But if only 5% of the Academy are deciding that we’re not telling the truth. Wouldn’t it be more honest,” he said, “if we let the whole Academy vote.”