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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.
by Sean O'Connell
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.
by Kristy Puchko
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.
by Jesse Carp
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.
by Eric Eisenberg
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?
by Katey Rich
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.
by Kelly West
(Kate Winslet image via FeatureFlash/Shutterstock)
(Christian Bale image via Helga Esteb/Shutterstock)