For a minute there it looked like big trouble in Oscar city.
For a while it was going to ruin the lives of all of those folks who get free screeners, who attend film festivals and write about the movies some of them end up voting for. It was as though their whole world was collapsing. This pretty little oasis of film appreciation was about to be blown wide open. Yes, they were opening the doors and letting in — GASP — actual ticket buyers.
Yes, for a brief minute there, it looked like the film industry cared about the people who fund their movies.
Yeah, no. Turns out it was one big bluff along, probably to help deflect the inevitable outcry of pushing the date further back and dumping some of the awards off the main telecast. Maybe they were serious at first about opening their doors to people who are normally excluded from the annual hunt for Oscar – but the caterwauling from the “awards community” was likely too much for them to take – it was already too much for me to take.
When I started this site back in 2000 there was a healthy mix of movies the public liked and movies the critics liked. Now, it seems to have tipped pretty far in one direction, leaving the critics almost completely in control of how the Oscars turn out. It was never designed to be that way.
It’s true no one cares about the Oscars who exist outside the bubble of Oscar. Most don’t see the movies until they arrive on VOD and half the time they think, how did that movie get nominated for so many Oscars?
If their aim was to boost ratings, probably this wasn’t the way to go. If their aim was to unplug from the vortex of privilege and elitism, well, maybe it was. Who knows. I see movies in theaters with actual audiences who are paying a lot of money they don’t have for a few hours of entertainment. It does give a better perspective of what’s actually happening in Hollywood. If it weren’t for ticket buyers, no one in the Academy, nor the critics, would have given Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho the time of day. Ticket buyers made that movie get noticed. Probably the same is true about Steve Spielberg’s Jaws. Because back then, movies people liked were considered along with the ones the critics liked. Now, it’s almost exclusively given over to critics and bloggers. The public is 100% shut out of the process. So why should they care?
If the awards race is built on a select area on the airplane that gets a custom made meal while the rest of the people on the plane have to eat airplane food, I’m not sure we can get them to be interested in what we’re eating unless they get to eat it too. Many Oscar movies never even make it to the rest of America until long after the Oscars finish. The Oscars are mostly serving egos and keeping the independent film industry afloat. I am not sure that was ever the intention of what the Oscars are supposed to be.
But the upside is that I don’t have to listen to the whining anymore. And that, my friends, is a huge upside. What a slap in the face it was to some people that the Oscar voters were going to have to step outside their comfort zone and take a look at both what the film industry is now and what it will become.
So it means no Oscar consideration for Crazy Rich Asians or any other “popular” movie the Academy will ignore. And it probably means Black Panther is out. Probably. I guess we’ll have to see how it goes.
How can they improve ratings? I have no idea.
ACADEMY DETERMINES NEW OSCARS® CATEGORY
MERITS FURTHER STUDY
LOS ANGELES, CA – While remaining committed to celebrating a wide spectrum of movies, the Academy announced today that it will not present the new Oscars® category at the upcoming 91st awards. The Academy recognized that implementing any new award nine months into the year creates challenges for films that have already been released. The Board of Governors continues to be actively engaged in discussions, and will examine and seek additional input regarding this category.
“There has been a wide range of reactions to the introduction of a new award, and we recognize the need for further discussion with our members,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. “We have made changes to the Oscars over the years—including this year—and we will continue to evolve while also respecting the incredible legacy of the last 90 years.”
Changes to the 91st Oscars (2019) include restructuring and shortening the length of the telecast to three hours. To honor all 24 award categories, six to eight categories will be presented live, in the Dolby Theatre®, during commercial breaks. The winning moments will then be edited and aired later in the broadcast. Selected categories will be rotated each year. The Academy will collaborate with the show producer(s) to select these categories.
The Board of Governors also voted to move up the date of the 92nd Oscars telecast to Sunday, February 9, 2020, from the previously announced February 23. The date change in the timeline will not affect awards eligibility dates or the voting process.
The key dates for the 2019 awards season are as follows:
Saturday, November 16, 2019 Governors Awards
Thursday, January 2, 2020 Nominations voting opens
Tuesday, January 7, 2020 Nominations voting closes
Monday, January 13, 2020 Oscar Nominations Announcement
Monday, January 27, 2020 Oscar Nominees Luncheon
Thursday, January 30, 2020 Finals voting opens
Tuesday, February 4, 2020 Finals voting closes
Sunday, February 9, 2020 92nd Oscars
Starting in 2020, the Scientific and Technical Awards will move to June, as the technologies honored do not represent achievements within a specific awards year.
The 91st Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscars also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.