Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Topic of The Day: Seeded BP Nominations at the Oscars

Hello, Bloggers, I just read an online article on Vulture.com by Adam Sternbergh about how to fix the Oscars. He suggested they fix the Best Picture category by using seeded nominations. In other words, make it like the sports playoffs. I thought that was a great idea and here is why:

According to Sternbergh, they should reduce the Best Picture nominees back to five. Then, divide the film calendar into four three-month segments and have voters pick the best film from each segment while picking a fifth wild card from any segment.

What makes that idea is so great is that allows a film that came out pretty early, and is popular and/or receives unanimous praise, to become a potential player and the film doesn't feel like a distant memory even if it screened at the Academy. Sure, The Grand Budapest Hotel came out pretty early and still did very well at the Oscars. But it still was re-released in theaters towards the end of the year.

Also, this proposed process prevents the constant clutter that occurs at the end of each year. What I mean is a lot of the awards contenders are released at the end of the year and a lot of them start off in a few theaters to generate some buzz which flusters those that want to catch them as soon as possible so they can get their homework done before the ceremony. Plus, it would benefit the studios who would be able to focus on a select few contenders without ignoring their other contenders that fall through the cracks. Take, for example, how in 2013, producer Harvey Weinstein had Philomena, August: Osage County, The Butler, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, and Fruitvale Station under his belt. But he ended up gearing his focus towards Philomena as his other contenders either peaked too early (The Butler, Fruitvale Station) or too late (August, Mandela). But if they used the seeding method, Fruitvale Station could have had a fighting chance as it opened to almost universal acclaim and did nicely at the box office.

I'll use one year as an example of how the BP lineup would've looked like if they had used the seeding method. Take last year. In the first three-month segment in the Winter, The Grand Budapest Hotel would've taken the slot for that period for sure. So, that's one. In the spring season, from April to June, there were some well-received blockbusters like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Fault In Our Stars and X-Men: Days of Future Past that might've gotten a stronger push. Then, there is the summer season when Boyhood came out. So, I'm sure that would've taken the slot for that segment. Of course, since the summer season is blockbuster season, they could go crazy and pick Guardians of the Galaxy.  Next, there is the fall, from October to December. Birdman would probably take that slot. I would say Gone Girl, but judging by its showing at the actual Oscars, they clearly wanted Gone Girl to stay gone. That leaves the wild card. Do they go with a prestige film that comes out at the end of the year or do they a remember a great film that came out early in the year that stayed fresh in their minds, whether it'd be a fun blockbuster or an artistic smaller film that received solid acclaim?

Let's say they picked a film like Whiplash for the wild card and still picked a blockbuster from the spring season. Here is how the category would probably look:

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The Grand Budapest Hotel

If the lineup looked something like this, you would not only have the smaller films they usually include, but this would also solve the ratings problem by including Captain America. 

So, I am completely on board with Sternbergh's proposal for a seeded nominations process. Whether you agree or disagree, please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for reading!