It figures that my trip to Yosemite would again include crazy AMPAS news. Last year, it was ten best picture nominees. ¬†Now, it’s the potential switch in the date from late February to January. ¬†Both Vulture and Movieline have written responses. ¬†We’ll answer¬†Vulture‘s:
If the Oscars were held in January, before awards fatigue sets in, people might actually watch them, putting more attention on good movies.
AD says: Not really true. ¬†No one really watches the other awards shows except awards junkies. ¬†Most everyone at least tries to watch the Oscars. ¬†Although after Avatar lost last year it might be more comfortable for them to stick with Dancing with the Stars — at least that way they have something to do with the outcome. ¬†Moreover moving the Oscars to any time of year isn’t going to help ratings.
‚Ä¢¬†It Would Make Other Award Shows Irrelevant ‚Äî and Better!
No longer would you¬†need to suffer through the BAFTAs or SAGs, since they’d all be rendered pointless as Oscar predictors ‚Äî but if they were a fun post‚ÄìAcademy Awards victory lap for nominees, maybe you’d actually¬†want to watch them. If they didn’t have to worry about scotching their Oscar chances, stars could relax, have a few drinks, and do things on-camera that they might otherwise not. Wouldn’t it be great to hear a¬†speech like this at the Golden Globes?
AD says – well, no. ¬†Once they change the date of the AMPAS it is like musical chairs watching them change their own dates to match. ¬†This much we’ve learned after ten years at the wheel.
Your will to live isn’t the only thing watching a half dozen precursor awards shows destroys ‚Äî there is also suspense. We knew for weeks before this year’s Oscars that Jeff Bridges and Kathryn Bigelow would be making speeches. But if the ceremony had happened in January, their acceptances would have felt spontaneous and exciting, instead of just inevitable.
AD says: ¬†Large masses of people don’t really watch the Oscars for the surprises. ¬†Only awards show junkies know/care. ¬†They watch for the stars. ¬†Bring on the stars and the people will come. ¬†More popular movies winning supposedly helps too. ¬†So the best way to help ratings is to make better mainstream movies with big stars in them who might get Oscars.
Eliminating the two-month gap between the end of the eligibility period and the awards themselves would mean films and performances would be rewarded, not just expertly run campaigns. If this year’s Oscars had been in January, Sandra Bullock might not have won Best Actress. But surely Mickey Rourke would have had a better shot at Best Actor in 2009 if voters had had less of his off-screen behavior to consider.
AD says: Not going to happen. ¬†Campaigning starts the moment the sperm even casually begins thinking about finding the egg. ¬†Long before conception. It will just get pushed back. ¬†Musical chairs, people. ¬†Live with it.
‚Ä¢¬†An End to the December Glut
Instead of dumping all of their awards contenders in the year’s final weeks, studios might be better inclined to turn loose a couple of non-stinkers before December. This summer could certainly use a few.
AD says: Finally we can agree on something. ¬†Oscar movies in Summer and Fall will be the focus of the race.
My own personal feeling about this is that every move the Academy makes smacks of desperation. ¬†If so, perhaps this all is a bit like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. If it’s true that the Academy producers are desperate to bring more eyeballs, and thus, more advertising dollars, all of this fancy footwork ain’t going to work. ¬†The truth is, this is a respected institution that has lasted in a climate where nothing is respected or respectable anymore. ¬†But we don’t see 60 Minutes trying much to change what they’ve got going – and thus, the Academy should be a little more stubborn about itself. ¬†The changes that it needs to make are not going to be made from the outside in.
It is the worn out groove they’ve carved for themselves, the rules they must adhere to with regard to certain branches doing the voting, that keeps the Oscars from feeling vital. ¬†However, I don’t have the solution to their problem if their problem is: enough people aren’t interested in how they vote. ¬†I don’t have a lot of faith in the general public of late. ¬†Rome wasn’t built in a day but once it started to fall …
Moving the Oscars to January won’t change the way it’s all done. ¬†It will just take some time to adjust and it will be business as usual.
The one thing I think they could do to appease the dullard masses is, perhaps, create a people’s choice award the way BAFTA does with their Orange. ¬†The public could vote and maybe they’d be happy that their one popular choice did indeed win an Oscar.
That’s all I got, fellas. ¬†Run with it.