Oscars' rule changes will make the Academy Awards better

by: Nathan Swank

This past week, the governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted to “add a new twist” to the Best Picture nominees (read the Academy’s official statement).  Essentially the 10 nominees will now become anywhere between 5-10 nominees.  Meaning that in order to receive a nomination a film must receive at least 5 percent first place votes from Academy voters.  For example, if only seven films receive the correct amount of votes only seven will be nominated.

Academy Award Statues

After about 65 years of only having five nominees, The Academy reverted back to a ten nominations format that many believe started because THE DARK KNIGHT and WALL-E were left off the ballet in 2008.  I admit I am one of those people that was filled with a diseased rage as both films made my Top 10 Films of the Decade.  But we don’t need to get me started on that rant again.  On the plus side, The Academy realized this blunder and opened the Best Picture category from 5 to 10.  Ok, not bad.  Now we will definitely see some films that deserve some recognition.  However, with every groundbreaking original piece of work like DISTRICT 9 that gets in, we also have to stomach an overplayed generic safe Hollywood piece like THE BLIND SIDE (I’m sorry mothers everywhere but it’s not “best film of the year” good).  Now a door has been opened where an obvious unqualified film gets in and we are flooded with too many movies that clearly have no shot.  It didn’t help that the poor selection of movies from 2008 got the first ten-nominee treatment.  I mean would THE HURT LOCKER really have won any other year?

THE HURT LOCKER, A SERIOUS MAN, AVATAR, AN EDUCATION, DISTRICT 9, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, PRECIOUS, THE BLIND SIDE, UP, UP IN THE AIR

Oh yeah, I could easily cut this in half.

Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie in The Hurt Locker

The Academy is attempting to right their wrongs and I can appreciate that.  Who’s to say you have to have an even number?  Personally, I had four movies above the rest from last year and every year it’s different.  Sure it’s nice to make top 10 lists but sometimes there just isn’t enough worthy to make the cut.  Or if you add this mediocre flick you might feel obligated to add another mediocre one.  I like the fact that our Academy Awards tries to be selective and snooty.  Why shouldn’t only the best films get in?   As long as we have a host to make fun of the overly self-important prestigious event, I’m in.

THE KING’S SPEECH, SOCIAL NETWORK, BLACK SWAN, TRUE GRIT, THE FIGHTER, INCEPTION, 127 HOURS, THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, TOY STORY 3, WINTER’S BONE

Then again last year saw 10 films that overall I was relatively pleased with.  I personally could have cut two films from the 10 but I have a feeling the Academy would have cut two different films devastating my opinion.  Against popular belief, I think THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT and TRUE GRIT were the weakest of the bunch but according to the Best Director category Grit would be in and Christopher Nolan’s amazing INCEPTION would tragically be out.  And what about the captivating indie WINTER’S BONE, what place would it have had? I’m betting it missed the cut.

Colin Firth in The King's Speech

Overall, I believe moving to 10 was a step in the right direction and the sliding scale is a step even closer to fairly include only the best.  However, time will only tell because it all comes down to if their opinion matches mine.  And isn’t that what we all care about?  The 10 nominees made everyone feel more involved because nearly everyone had a horse to root for no matter how lame that horse may be.  I guess I can get behind putting a rifle to a couple of these films…as long as I decide.  But since I don’t, I’ll continue to complain when things don’t go my way.

Now we need to get the other categories in shape, specifically Best Director. The suspense is sort of taken away when the Best Picture and Best Director nominees don’t sync up.  But that’s another story.  In the meantime, my love affair for you Oscar will continue to beat heavily.

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