Now that Sunday night’s Oscars are over, the Internet is
full of catty stories and tweets parsing every last second of televised
coverage, from Angelina Jolie’s exposed leg to Adam Sandler’s participation in
a taped segment in which actors discussed why they love movies. (If he really
loved movies, he’d stop making them, some have said.)
both understandable and sad that the Oscars — and movie-award season in
general — ends like this, with far more interest in the telecast’s trivia
than in the movies that win awards. Arguably, the news value of this year’s
show peaked before it even officially started, when Sacha Baron Cohen, in
costume as “The Dictator” for an upcoming movie, spilled an urn of faux human
ashes (ostensibly Kim Jong-il’s) on interviewer Ryan Seacrest.
getting worse, too, now that the Internet and 200+-channel cable television have
educated us ad nauseam to the nature and inner workings of the Oscar campaign
season. We carefully learn how a film builds momentum by moving through all the
secondary award ceremonies from critics groups and the Hollywood professional
guilds and associations.
a result, the Academy Awards themselves have become anticlimactic, which
partially explains the media devotion to dissecting the telecast. And the
attempts by the Motion Picture Academy to build false enthusiasm by allowing up
to ten Best Picture nominees have been a disaster, since we all now know how to
“read” the nominations to
distinguish the real ones (they also
have Best Director nods) from the padding. Not all that long ago, few outside
Hollywood insiders even knew there was a well-orchestrated “campaign season,”
much less how to follow and handicap it.
wisdom, and you hear a lot of it these days, would be to revive the Oscar
telecast by de-emphasizing the importance of the awards, themselves. Reduce the
number given out on TV, especially the more esoteric or niche ones, in favor of
increasing the glitz, spectacle, star power and big production numbers. Do like
the Grammys have done, where classical, jazz, folk, blues, opera, international
and more are rarely ever presented on the show.
I think the Academy should go the other way and try to increase public
awareness of the importance of Oscar nominations. But maybe not for the Big
Four categories – Best Picture, Director, Actor and Actress, which
probably do suffer from overexposure by the time the telecast comes around
(although The Artist, this year’s big
winner, could use the help since many people have been scared off by the fact
it’s a black-and-white silent film).Click the jump for more on ways the Academy could draw more attention to deserving films such as A
Separation, In Darkness, Footnote and Bullhead.