The longer you watch the Oscars, the more you realize it's far more fun to complain about the awards than to care about who wins them. It wouldn't be Oscar season if there weren't an opportunity to talk about all the ways the Academy got it wrong, whether nominating the wrong people and the wrong movies or picking the wrong categories to begin with. But while we could complain all day about how Michael Fassbender and Tilda Swinton were snubbed, or why The Artist doesn't deserve to win all those statues, we're thinking bigger picture today. If you were in charge of the Oscars, how would you change it?

We put that question to our crack movie writing staff, and here's what we all come up with-- the massive, game-changing overhauls to the awards that we think would make it better. Check out our picks below, and let us know your own in the comments.

We'd Drastically Shorten the Ceremony
by Sean O'Connell
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The Oscar telecast is too damn long. People point at the superfluous tributes that might not interest Joe and Jane Public. The “In Memoriam” death reel; the live performances of Best Song nominees; the painful interactions between the host and the gorgeous A-listers chained to their chair, acting like they are entertained.

But do you know when viewers at home really tune out of the Oscar telecast? It’s during the presentation of the winners in the categories of Documentary Short, Makeup, Sound Mixing and Editing, Visual Effects … heck, all of the below-the-line Oscars. And why? Because most of the people tuning in haven’t seen – and will never see – The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, nominated this year in the Short Film (Animated) category. People don’t care who wins, and they care even less what the winners of those categories have to say – particularly if it’s just a long line of more name you’ve never head of and never will, again.

It’s a hard truth. But it’s accurate. Hand out those trophies at a separate, non-televised ceremony. Keep the Oscars to the top 8 categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Actress, Adapted and Original Screenplay). Limit the telecast to two hours, including the fluff. America will thank you Monday morning.



We'd Give Stunt Performers and Voice Artists Their Shot At The Spotlight
by Kristy Puchko
Actors at Oscar time are about as close as we in the U.S. get to royalty. We long to gawk at Meryl, the Oscar's grand dame, in all her finery, and laugh along each time someone references Jack [Nicholson] or his established front row seat. This deference to Oscar's brightest stars seems to be why the Academy refuses to expand its borders to include those in the industry who could possibly detract from their glory.

For 20 years now, the Academy has refused to create a category for stunt performers, who have long risked their necks—often literally—to create jaw-dropping movie magic. These daring doers deserve recognition for their incredible contribution to American cinema, but since giving them notice could potentially diminish the shine of our stars, it's woefully unlikely to happen anytime soon.

Voice actors, the behind-the-scenes performers who are partially responsible for the rise in respectability of the animation genre, are in the same boat, and deserve their own Oscar acclaim. These unsung actors project personality into their animated roles, relying solely on their remarkable voice talents. If nothing else, this could serve as Andy Serkis' long sought-after way to an Oscar.

We’d Make Best Picture Admit What It Is, Best Live Action Narrative Feature Film in the English Language
by Jesse Carp
Let’s be honest, calling the category Best Picture is more than a bit misleading given the history of the Oscars. Rarely does the Academy even nominate a foreign language, animated or documentary film for the top prize, let alone have one of them actually win. In 84 years only eight non-English films have been up for Best Picture, with an additional three half-foreign language flicks sneaking in as well - the only three to win (The Godfather Part II, The Last Emperor and Slumdog Millionaire). As far as the other two categories, three animated films have found nods (no wins) and no documentary has ever been nominated. You can’t claim to be awarding the Best Picture of the year and then almost exclusively mine live action narrative films in the English language.

Now, we’re not arguing that the Academy should simply rename the category to reflect the reality (because ‘Best Live Action Narrative Feature Film in the English Language’ is a mouthful) but stop trying to have their cake and eat it too. Simple solution: keep everything relegated to their own categories. The Oscars already have awards in place to reward these separate entries so allowing them to occasionally compete for ‘Best Picture’ gums up the works and makes their respective awards obsolete. If only one animated film is nominated for the top prize (say, Up) it will then obviously win Best Animated Feature. And with the number of Best Picture nominees increased from five to, well, more, it’s time for the Academy to be honest with itself and put rules in place to keep categories separate before they potentially ruin all four.



We'd Have Two Best Picture Categories, One For Comedy and One For Drama
by Eric Eisenberg
I hate to give the Golden Globes credit for anything, but when it comes to determining the best movies of the year, they get one thing 100% right: they don’t make dramas and comedies do battle against one another. There’s a very different mindset that an audience has when walking into a serious film versus a laugher, and that continues as they walk out. A comedy’s job isn’t necessarily to make you think about the way the world works – it exists as pure entertainment.

As a result comedies have never fared well in the best picture category. In fact, only six pure comedies (It Happened One Night, You Can't Take It With You, Going My Way , Tom Jones, The Sting (1973), and Annie Hall) have taken home the biggest prize of the night. Obviously the numbers change when you include comedies that have dramatic elements, but why should a movie have to adapt to that standard? By having two Best Picture categories, the Academy has the chance to reward the prestige films that come out every year as well as some of the lighter fare that the more mainstream audiences can get behind. And isn’t that what they are going for with the expanded Best Picture category anyway?

We'd Get Rid of the Best Original Song Category
by Katey Rich
In previous eras of film, like when original movie musicals were more popular or even when a Diane Warren power ballad would play over the credits, the Best Original Song category could honor a new composition that's an undeniably powerful part of the cinematic arts. Previous winners include timeless classics indelibly linked to their films, from "Arthur's Theme" in Arthur to "Time Of My Life" from Dirty Dancing or "Over the Rainbow." When an original song matters in a movie, it more than deserves its prize.

But way more often you get lineups like last year's, where a middling Randy Newman song beats out even more dull competition, or the lead song from a forgettable animated musical like The Prince of Egypt or Tarzan wins by default (and, in Tarzan's case, beating out something amazing like "Blame Canada" from the South Park movie). The Best Original Song category is hampered by a flawed voting process and voters who often bring out their personal agenda instead of rewarding actual quality, but as this year's paltry two nominees prove, the biggest problem is that there's just not enough to choose from. When there's an excellent original song in a film, let the Academy honor it with a performance during the ceremony, and let the Grammys take it from there. It's better to have no winners at all than the embarrassing mixed bag we've been getting over the years.

We'd Add A Category For Best Ensemble
by Kelly West
An Oscar for Best Ensemble to celebrate the outstanding casts of various films could open up a world of possibilities, particularly in celebrating an element that has been proven to be crucial to the success of a film, but isn’t directly recognized by the Academy. Take Bridesmaids for example. Sure, Melissa McCarthy had the stand-out performance there, but the comedy was bursting with great comedic performances that, when combined, complimented each other and helped make the film the hit it was. The Departed is another movie in recent years that could have benefited from this category, given the fantastic performances delivered by everyone in the cast-- none of whom won an individual acting prize. Whether to celebrate a film full of outstanding performances on the part of its cast or to acknowledge a particularly stellar group dynamic, a Best Ensemble award could serve to recognize and appreciate a team achievement, in addition to awards passed out for individual performances. (Oscar image via Stacie Stauff Smith Photography/Shutterstock)

(Kate Winslet image via FeatureFlash/Shutterstock)

(Christian Bale image via Helga Esteb/Shutterstock)

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