Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Academy Award Week (2013):Should the Oscars Add More Categories?

My friend Keith shared an article with me from, about the Academy adding more categories.  throughout the years this topic has been brought up countless times.  People talk about adding categories as a way to spice things up, and provide more films with the opportunity to compete at the Oscars.  

The most recent category which was added to the main ceremony was the Best Animated Feature film category.  With an increasing number of quality animated features being released, the Academy created a parallel category to the Best Foreign Language Film category.  People were citing that amazing films like Shrek, Toy Story 2, and so on were being snubbed in the Best Picture category so they created this new category to compensate.  While I still do not fully support this category I think it's a necessary evil.  I will be shocked the day I see an animated film win the actual Best Picture prize.  Prior to the increased number of nominees only one film made it into the Best Picture race, Beauty and the Beast.  Past films like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Lion King, Shrek, and Wall-E were snubbed.  When the the number of nominees increased two other films were nominated in the Best Picture category Up, and Toy Story 3.

So does a genre category solve the problem of recognition or further the problem?  The answer is both.  I think many Academy voters now feel as though by having the category they can feel proud about honoring the great animated films released every year.  This is an important thing, and films like Spirited Away, Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and Persepolis (just a nominee) would not have any other form of recognition.  Yet there is an inherent problem with that logic.  

Voters goes for the most intense, dramatic tales because they think those are the most "Oscar worthy."  Films like Moonrise Kingdom, which was snubbed from Best Picture this year, are often not nominated in the Best Picture category.  This year's slate of Best Picture nominees are all great (minus Les Miserables) but are also incredibly depressing.  The only films with "laughs" are Argo and Django Unchained, although you may have laughed at Russell Crowe's singing, I know I did.  So do you add more genre categories to spice things up, and give more films a chance?  Let's look at the categories creates.

Best Ensemble
Pro-Appreciating the acting is important
Con-Who gets the Oscar?  Does every member of the cast get one, the goal of the Oscars is prestige, and this takes away that element
Verdict: Do Not Add this Category

Best Comedy
Pro-Comedy is rarely honored at the Oscars, and as I stated above this is one depresing slate of Best Picture nominees this year
Con-This silos comedies into a separate but equal type situation like animated, and foreign language films.
Verdict: One of the stronger possibilities, I just do not think this solves the problem, and Oscar voters need to appreciate comedy more!

Best Debut Film, Performance
Pro-I added the performance part, this could be a great way to honor rising stars and directors.
Con-Why single out directors and performers, what about breakthrough screenwriter, editor, etc. and again this creates more Oscars making them less special to achieve.
Verdict: Not a bad one, but I am hesitant on how this would/could work, what makes you new, like Best New Artist at the Grammy's.  I can see Harvey Weinstein abusing this one.

Best Casting
Pro-Casting director's rarely get much recognition, and they often put together the great casts.
Con-Sometimes this process is a bit murky as to how much this person actually defines the cast, and does this position really warrant an Oscar?  
Verdict: I would take this as a consolation for Best Ensemble, but this is a less exciting way to change to the Oscars.

Best Soundtrack
Pro-There are so many soundtrack, which transcend the score of a film, and I think the music that is put together in a film is one of the most important elements.  Think Kill Bill (both of them), Garden State, 500 Days of Summer, Forrest Gump.  This would be a great idea
Verdict: This is the best idea, and should be considered!

Best Stunts/Choreography
Pro: While these are very different they represent some of the most important work done in film today, and should be recognized in some capacity.  While I do not want Step Up (choreography) to be a nominee, I do think that either of these categories could work.
Con: These two would have to be separated, and would there be enough to make nominees in choreography?
Verdict:  I would be down for these in a special honor capacity or if they could figure out a cool way to do them.

The last two seem like a joke although they only intended number eight as one.  They are Best Action Sequence, and Best Female Director.  With regard to Best Action Sequence, I say, this is not MTV presents the Oscars.  I do however like their jab at the Academy with regard to Best Female Director, how did the Academy not nominate any of the women who directed fantastic films this year?

One thing is for certain the Academy does need to look at their process, they can't tell their members how to vote, thus forcing them to name a comedy a Best Picture nominee, but it's time to assess, and think should there be new categories, or revisions, and if so how should they be done.

No comments: