And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

Ten Best Picture nominees… Really? What do you think?

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced it’s doubling the number of Best Picture nominees to ten, my first thought was “gawd, that means the Oscars will run even longer than ever!” My second thought was “will they be able to find ten worthy films.” Odds are there are now going to be at least one or two “artsy-fartsy” (sorry Arty Chick) movies on the list that no one has ever heard of and those of us who try to see ALL of the nominated films each year will feel compelled to go see.

So is it a ploy to sell more tickets and DVDs? God knows Hollywood is hurting just like everyone else. Apparently not, according to the “Company Town” blog in the LA Times, “few nominated films get a significant bump in ticket or DVD sales.” And several articles have pointed out that studio execs are reluctant to spend even more on those “For Your Consideration” ad campaigns.

Who knows what’s behind it? Maybe the Academy was bored or questioning its relevance. Maybe it wanted to mess with everyone’s Oscar office pool odds. I just know that I don’t particularly like the idea and I want to know what you think. Leave a comment.

5 Comments

  1. Arty Chick, June 24, 2009:

    I read this and had similar thoughts. I cannot for the life of me see what good it will do to have more choices. We’ll have 10 “Academy Award Nominated” each year now, but I think there will be more mass market films on the list, not more artsy ones. I think the disgruntled public was more upset over Batman not getting the nod than anything. Maybe that was what the Oscars were supposed to be in the first place, a people’s choice of best films. I looked at the news feeds and they mentioned all the things that “could” have been nominated last year: “Dark Knight,” sure, but also “The Wrestler”,”WALL-E”, “Happy-Go-Lucky”(loved it), “Frozen River” (good but not mainstream), “Synecdoche, New York”, “Man on Wire”(it would be nice if a documentary could make it to the top category), “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (it was a great film), “Waltz With Bashir” and “Iron Man” (mainstream again.)

    I can only imagine if the field were more clogged. I wonder if the voting members are still a bunch of old folks. I had friends in LA when I was out there who voted for some of them cause they didn’t really go to the movies, just a screening or two and the DVD screeners. Big movies that got press were voted for more than the small films, just cause they didn’t have the time or energy to really see a lot. I think the Oscars are a bit of a sham in really being about the best in any real way except for being a popularity contest.

  2. Arty Chick, June 25, 2009:

    I thought more about this and I would love to know more about the behind the scenes wrangling that caused it. If the last Oscars had had 10, what would they have been? Would “The Dark Knight” have made it into that 10 or was it ignored? Was it #6? Did the voters in the Academy appreciate the film for its cinematic greatness (I did not) or was it just another big action/effects flick to them? Is it purely about the ratings of the broadcast? Why? Why? Why? Has anyone really answered that?

    The LA Times gives a hint with:

    The academy garnered $73.7 million in revenue related to the Oscars in its 2007-2008 fiscal year, according to the organization’s financial statements. Most all of that money came from the license fees paid by the Walt Disney Co. for domestic and international rights to the program. The academy’s total revenue for the year was $81.7 million.

    Of that, the academy spends $31.1 million to stage the Academy Awards, Oscar luncheons and the Governors Ball. The excess revenue is hugely important to the organization, helping it to sponsor an array of public events and exhibits, and pay for restoration work, film archives, financial grants to other institutions, student contests, screenwriting competitions and science and technology programs.

    I think it is entirely about keeping the revenue coming in and if that means giving the appearance of having more films to choose from for Best Picture, they’ll do that. But are they going to do away with Best Animated Picture now?

  3. Mainstream Chick, June 26, 2009:

    I like a good “Top 10 list” as much as the next guy (or chick)… but when it comes to Oscar, there is a certain appeal to having the year’s “best” movie picks whittled down to five. With an expanded list, there won’t be nearly as much drama and arm-chair quarterbacking in the aftermath of the big announcement of nominees. Plus, the show will just get longer and longer to incorporate the additional nominees, unless – and this wouldn’t hurt – the producers eliminated some categories from the main broadcast. Then maybe I’d be okay with more Best Picture nods. Let’s face it, how many of us have seen those ‘shorts’? And do you have a CLUE how to distinguish best sound editing from best sound mixing?

    And – if you expand the list for Best Picture, doesn’t that just set up a fight on who’s left off the list for Best Director? I’m just sayin’…

  4. Arty Chick, June 26, 2009:

    I have never understood how a film can get say Best Director and Best Actor and then not get the Best Picture Oscar. I agree with Mainstream Chick that you might need to expand the Best Director Category, too.

    But as for the Best Sound Mixing and Sound Editing, if they eliminated those, you can only imaging the noise those people might come up with.

  5. forrestgump, July 1, 2009:

    i predict it will fragment the vote so much that they will then need to have a primary to whittle down the list before the actual show. so maybe they’ll get 2 shows out of it…

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