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We're smart--let's fix the Oscars 
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Post We're smart--let's fix the Oscars
Not that anyone would listen. In any event, I'm curious about people's specific changes they would make to the telecast.

My ideas:

Cut the stupid short film stuff.
Yes I know that winning the short film Oscar often helps launch your career. But the concept of shorts is so dated. Back in the 1940s when audiences went to the movies to see a double feature, they often saw a short film in between. But that age is long gone, and the idea of the Academy continuing to honor films no one sees is ridiculous. I mean, why not just have a "Best Newsreel" award?
Get Rid of the Animated Feature Award
I completely understand the idea behind this, but there are so few animated films released every year that the award seems kinda dumb. C'mon, a couple years ago there were only three nominees and Surf's Up somehow was among them. It needs to go.

I'm tended to add "Ban Biopics" but I'm not sure that would be the spirit of things. Oh well, when I'm ruler of the world...

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Fri Dec 04, 2009 1:17 pm
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Post Re: We're smart--let's fix the Oscars
I'm tended teehee to agree with you on Short Films, especially for Documentary shorts.

I think the Academy should force their collective staff to ignore any and all commercials, film reviews, and to negate receiving any film merchandise from any studios. With great power comes great responsibility, and obviously, the Academy as a collective simply isn't disciplined enough to avoid media manipulation.

All nominees must provide speeches that meet quality standards, even if it is unlikely that they will win (they will be notified before the nominations are posted publically). Thanking people from the film crew will be kept until the last minute and after that amount of time the threat of a commercial break will be imposed. Anyone unwilling to submit a speech outline will risk losing the nomination.

Get rid of the 'Films from yesteryear' and 'People who died this year' montages. In fact, get rid of every single montage altogether excepting maybe eon at the end (after the Best Picture winner is awarded) which gives a retrospective of the night's major winners. You're an awards show, not Entertainment Tonight.


Fri Dec 04, 2009 1:48 pm
Post Re: We're smart--let's fix the Oscars
Geez, just cause you guys are bored by the short film awards doesn't mean they shouldn't give them out.

They are not like newsreels because film students don't make newsreels to practice their craft. They make short films. Now maybe the academy should expand this to include more internet media, but it is still a relevant category anyway. Aspiring filmmakers make short films and use those to get funding for larger projects. That is not an obsolete idea. Neill Blomkamp just did that and the result was District 9.

I would love less montages though.
And the animated feature category is iffy--I don't like how it segregates good animated films and prevents best picture noms, but it's nice to see recognition for animators who normally would not get mentioned during the Oscars.


Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:26 pm
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Post Re: We're smart--let's fix the Oscars
To whoever moved this thread:

I actually think it belongs much better in the General Movie Discussion Forum than the 2010 version of "Oscar-Related," but whatever.

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Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:33 pm
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Post Re: We're smart--let's fix the Oscars
JamesKunz wrote:
To whoever moved this thread:

I actually think it belongs much better in the General Movie Discussion Forum than the 2010 version of "Oscar-Related," but whatever.

I think it belongs better here. We have a new Oscar board every year for organizational purposes, but that doesn't mean that every thread in this section has to be specifically about this year's nominees (and even if they did, this year's ceremony will likely come up in this discussion at some point).


Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:43 pm
Post Re: We're smart--let's fix the Oscars
This is not a big thing, but...I'm still a little bent that Marty didn't get to say a damn thing when they awarded The Departed the Best Movie Oscar. I mean, yeah, he finally got the Best Director award and got to speak then, but, I always felt the director should have a chance to say something, or at least take a bow, or whatever in recognition when his film wins Best Movie. Just me though.

I also agree, less, or no montages. Save the applause until the entire category is announced? Remove the snippets of performances/film? I don't know. To me, it's the length of the entire thing that bothers. It always seems they are rushing at the end when the big categories are being announced. I hate that.

To be honest the last time I watched any part of the Oscars was that year that The Departed won. Since, I've really just looked up the winners online.

Rambling post.

Just keep the Oscars short and sweet.


Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:49 pm
Post Re: We're smart--let's fix the Oscars
If you're going to get rid of Best Animated Feature, get rid of Best Documentary, too. And Best Foreign Language Film. Because of the way the Academy is, these three categories are absolutely necessary. (And have you seen Surf's Up? It's not THAT bad.)

I don't agree on the short films at all. If any of you have ever been to the IFC Center, you'll always see a short or two before the film starts. When I saw Hunger, I was pleasantly surprised by that. So the day and age of shorts in the theater isn't gone - just nearly gone. XD I'm sure a few other movie theaters do this, too. Last year and the year before, I actually paid to go see the short films. You know what? They were really good. You should go see them, too.

I'm a little more ambivalent on the songs. We don't need the gigantic musical numbers. If you're going to be fair, you may as well show the films nominated for Best Picture. Or a longer clip at the very least. However, if they leave the songs in, I'm not going to complain.

I don't know, I'm probably the only one who enjoys the masturbatory style of the Oscars. I don't know why they try to cater it to audiences at all. It's technically for the filmmakers. The average person behind the television doesn't give a shit who won Best Editing.

I agree with James; this has nothing to do with the 2010 Oscars. I don't mind it being here, of course, but it's technically not relevant. I also agree with Trevor; last year we had topics about other Oscar related topics.


Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:55 pm
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Post Re: We're smart--let's fix the Oscars
Pedro wrote:
If you're going to get rid of Best Animated Feature, get rid of Best Documentary, too. And Best Foreign Language Film


No. Fallacious logic. Three to five animated films get released in the US each year. Literally thousands of foreign films get released, and each nation chooses one to represent it. My problem with the animated award is that there's no competition, which is manifestly not true with docs and foreign films. Now if you want to discuss changing the screening process for them, I'm all ears...

Pedro wrote:
I don't agree on the short films at all. If any of you have ever been to the IFC Center, you'll always see a short or two before the film starts. When I saw Hunger, I was pleasantly surprised by that. So the day and age of shorts in the theater isn't gone - just nearly gone.


I've seen a lot of strange movies in theaters. I've seen Thumbsucker, City of Men, The Informers, The Aristocrats, Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, Whiteout, The Girlfriend Experience, The Brothers Bloom, Brick, Junebug, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, The Hurt Locker, 500 Days of Summer, etc. And never once have I seen a short film in front of the film, except for Pixar movies. They're dead. Sure they pop up occasionally, but just because some people still hunt with muzzleloading rifles doesn't mean they're not woefully obsolote.

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Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:17 pm
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Post Re: We're smart--let's fix the Oscars
JamesKunz wrote:
Three to five animated films get released in the US each year. Literally thousands of foreign films get released, and each nation chooses one to represent it. My problem with the animated award is that there's no competition, which is manifestly not true with docs and foreign films. Now if you want to discuss changing the screening process for them, I'm all ears...


That is clearly not true, especially this year. There are twenty eligible nominees this year, let alone the ineligible ones. You can still argue that twenty is not a big number, but there's definitely competition this year. Other years, eh. That's why there were three nominees instead of five.

JamesKunz wrote:
I've seen a lot of strange movies in theaters. I've seen Thumbsucker, City of Men, The Informers, The Aristocrats, Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, Whiteout, The Girlfriend Experience, The Brothers Bloom, Brick, Junebug, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, The Hurt Locker, 500 Days of Summer, etc. And never once have I seen a short film in front of the film, except for Pixar movies. They're dead. Sure they pop up occasionally, but just because some people still hunt with muzzleloading rifles doesn't mean they're not woefully obsolote.


The type of movie doesn't matter (unless it's Pixar); it's the theater. Even then, there are thousands of film festivals dedicated to shorts that occur throughout the year. Plus the internet. There are more shorts than feature lengths! I'd hardly call them "dead".


Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:33 pm
Post Re: We're smart--let's fix the Oscars
JamesKunz wrote:
I've seen a lot of strange movies in theaters. I've seen Thumbsucker, City of Men, The Informers, The Aristocrats, Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, Whiteout, The Girlfriend Experience, The Brothers Bloom, Brick, Junebug, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, The Hurt Locker, 500 Days of Summer, etc. And never once have I seen a short film in front of the film, except for Pixar movies. They're dead. Sure they pop up occasionally, but just because some people still hunt with muzzleloading rifles doesn't mean they're not woefully obsolote.

Pedro wrote:
The type of movie doesn't matter (unless it's Pixar); it's the theater. Even then, there are thousands of film festivals dedicated to shorts that occur throughout the year. Plus the internet. There are more shorts than feature lengths! I'd hardly call them "dead".

I have to agree with Pedro.

I mentioned before how short films are still of importance to aspiring filmmakers. But Pedro brings up another point. The method of content delivery shouldn't matter. Just because short films are not shown in movie theaters frequently does not mean that they are unimportant. I should hope that the Oscars don't choose what they honor based on how popular the films are or how prevalent their distribution is. I would like to see more focus turned towards the internet since that is where some of the best work is being done now in short form, but the Academy is slow to change. However, discarding the short film categories is not a way in which I think they need to change.


Sat Dec 05, 2009 2:44 am
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Post Re: We're smart--let's fix the Oscars
Fine. Keep the award. But don't deliver it during the ceremony. Announce it beforehand. Absolutely no one in the audience or at home has seen the shorts, and everyone doesn't even bother pretending to care. And nor should they. I see 6 movies a week and I don't give a shit about them, so who does? The filmmakers, pretty much.

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Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:20 am
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Post Re: We're smart--let's fix the Oscars
My knee-jerk reaction to the idea of removing shorts was as negative as anyone else's, but I think I see the merits of the idea. In this day and age, there are more varieties of audiovisual entertainment than ever. If you can dream it up, you can film it, and you're not beholden to any standards but those of your own imagination and resources.

What this does to the traditional institution of cinema is force it, more and more, to define what it is--and what it isn't. What is a movie? What's it made of? Does the material it's shot on make a difference? Does the number of professionals involved matter, or the affiliation with industry organizations? Do budget or funding matter?

I think most people can agree that the vast majority of movies they see--indeed, what they commonly think of as movies--are feature length. So if the Oscars are to be increasingly exclusive, which is happening by default with all these new forms cropping up, then length might as well be one of the criteria. It has more practical relevance than any of my other examples.


Sat Dec 05, 2009 12:48 pm
Post Re: We're smart--let's fix the Oscars
JamesKunz wrote:
Fine. Keep the award. But don't deliver it during the ceremony. Announce it beforehand. Absolutely no one in the audience or at home has seen the shorts, and everyone doesn't even bother pretending to care. And nor should they. I see 6 movies a week and I don't give a shit about them, so who does? The filmmakers, pretty much.

One of the Landmark theaters here in Seattle shows the nominated shorts before the Oscars--all the animated ones for one ticket, and all the live-action ones for one ticket if I recall correctly. I'm sure that is done in other cities as well.

However your point still stands--the overwhelming majority of Oscar viewers will not have seen them. I agree that not much would be missed if the awards were moved to the technical awards ceremony.
The only thing lost is the increased visibility for the award recipient. They get to mingle with big time stars and producers. Viewers also hear of their films and may seek them out on video if they haven't seen them (Wallace & Gromit was a winner in the animated category, and I wouldn't have heard of it otherwise).


Sat Dec 05, 2009 1:34 pm
Post Re: We're smart--let's fix the Oscars
JamesKunz wrote:
Fine. Keep the award. But don't deliver it during the ceremony. Announce it beforehand. Absolutely no one in the audience or at home has seen the shorts, and everyone doesn't even bother pretending to care. And nor should they. I see 6 movies a week and I don't give a shit about them, so who does? The filmmakers, pretty much.


I'll never agree to getting rid of it during the ceremony being both an Oscar apologist and one of the hopeful "filmmakers", but I suppose I get it. They don't show the student short film award, after all. (They're filmed and put on the internet, though.) If they were to not air the category, I wouldn't cry about it. I'd just be really disappointed. I know everyone else has better things to do, but I like my Oscar ceremony to be nearly four hours long. That's always been kind of a staple of the Oscars.

You're point of view is far too negative, though - not to mention incorrect factually. The box office for the Oscar shorts last year was $644,635; about half of which was received before the ceremony. That's not a lot by any stretch of the imagination, but it's certainly enough to debate the fact that NO ONE gives a shit just because you don't. It's also more than a lot of indie films that get released every year. (By that argument, should we not care for the Independent Spirit Awards? Hey, some people definitely don't, but that doesn't make them any less valid.) Plus, the quality of the shorts is higher than the crap that gets dumped into mass release every weekend, and probably better than at least four of the six movies you watch every week.


Sat Dec 05, 2009 1:55 pm
Post Re: We're smart--let's fix the Oscars
Don't get me wrong, I deeply respect all artists of all kinds, and I understand some people use short films to get their foot inside the door (me included pretty soon), but it's also necessary to realize that the base audience for any awards show do not care about a film they have never seen. They want to rally behind movies they've seen, actors they know, etc., and really, if the viewer's response is not the Academy's priority, then they should probably just can the televised ceremony overall and revert to their first non-broadcast for tips. Television can be edited and sliced in any number of ways strategically, so why can't the academy more artfully and economically present its own arc via the boob-tube?


Sat Dec 05, 2009 2:51 pm
Post Re: We're smart--let's fix the Oscars
1. No-one says we have to scrap the short film awards, but do they need to be televised? I'd say no. Still tape it though. Then stream it online. Without restrictions. Interested parties can see the winners on youtube or elsewhere.

2. Another thing that doesn't need to be televised is the Academy President's speech. Yawn. I don't see this as being interesting to most viewers. Again, make it available online for people who are interested.

3. You know what takes long? The time from when a winner's name is announced until they actually start talking. I know you can't really do much about it, but the cumulative delay is not insignificant.

Ken wrote:
My knee-jerk reaction to the idea of removing shorts was as negative as anyone else's, but I think I see the merits of the idea. In this day and age, there are more varieties of audiovisual entertainment than ever. If you can dream it up, you can film it, and you're not beholden to any standards but those of your own imagination and resources.


Audiovisual Entertainment? Paul Schrader is that you?


Sat Dec 05, 2009 6:50 pm
Post Re: We're smart--let's fix the Oscars
There is an umbrella category that includes cinema, television, YouTube videos, slide shows, music videos, and so on and so forth. It needs a name, so you might as well call it what it is. "Audiovisual" is both specific enough to tell you just what it's referring to and general enough to encompass what it needs to.

To sum up my previous post, should shorts be categorized independently under the umbrella of "AV"? (There's a Schrader term for you.) Is there reason to believe that speciation has occurred between shorts and features, so that only one of them should be referred to as "film" by the Academy's standards? Don't knock it until you've considered it. What is a film?


Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:00 pm
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Post Re: We're smart--let's fix the Oscars
Pedro wrote:
You're point of view is far too negative, though - not to mention incorrect factually. The box office for the Oscar shorts last year was $644,635; about half of which was received before the ceremony. That's not a lot by any stretch of the imagination, but it's certainly enough to debate the fact that NO ONE gives a shit just because you don't


Wow. They made ~322,000 before the ceremony, and you're using that as evidence that I'm "factually incorrect" by saying that no one saw them? Christ even Pluto Nash made 4 million. For moviegoing purposes, 322,000$ is nothing. Does that mean short films are worthless? No, of course not. That's not what I'm saying. But the Oscar telecast isn't made for film nerds or future directors, it's meant to be accessible, and the short films waste everyone's time. Again I love movies more than anyone I know (though I bet you guys could give me a run for my money) and I don't give two shits about it. How can the average filmgoer care if I don't? So give the awards, but don't clutter up the ceremony with them.

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Sat Dec 05, 2009 9:10 pm
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Post Re: We're smart--let's fix the Oscars
I generally manage to see most of the animated shorts before the Oscars and several of the live action and documentary shorts, generally by looking them up on YouTube. (Three times in the last five years, the Oscar has gone to the only animated short I hadn't seen.) They'll often appear in the Youtube screening room.

There are usually 10-20 animated features per year. If you think there are only three to five, you haven't been paying attention. The current solution is a bad one brought about by the failure to consider them for Best Picture. Unfortunately, giving them their own category gives another excuse not to consider them. With ten nominees this year, there is even less excuse; two animated films, Up and Fantastic Mr. Fox, are among the year's ten best.

It's also true for foreign films to a degree, but an additional problem: there was the recent stupid decision to make their eligibility for Oscars dependent on the date of release in their home country, rather than in the US. Before that, a film could be up for Foreign Language Film the year it was released in its home country and for other Oscars the year it was released in the US.

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Sun Dec 06, 2009 1:19 pm
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Post Re: We're smart--let's fix the Oscars
HOw about this:
1: One leading actor/actress per film. This means that a leading actor cannot win an award if the leading actess for the film has been nominated. This would also stop One film running away with nearly everything major award. I feel that there should be only be one leading actor per film. That is why it is called Lead.
2: The leading actor / actess must spend more time on the screen than anyone else. This would alliminate Silence of the lambs scenario when anthony Hopkins was only on screen for less then 20 minutes.
3: Insist that the best supporting actor / actress appear on screen for at least 1/4 the time that the main leading actor / actor does. This eliminates actors getting an supporting nod for a 5 minute job.
4: Have a best cameo oscar. This would reward a really good short preformace. Anything under 5 - 10 minutes.
5: Best use of realism. This would be the oposite of Best Special effects.
6: Perhaps it is time that the oscars recognised films that have been made for TV.
7: Best DVD. this could include special features etc.

(i): I don't aggree with who posted the idea that they get rid of the memorial to the people who have died in the last year.
(ii): I agree with the idea of getting rid of the nominated songs being played in their entirity. Perhaps the winning song should be played out at the end of the cerimony.


Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:56 am
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