Last April I posted one of the most logical, sensible and fair-minded parliamentary suggestions in the nine-year history of Hollywood Elsewhere. (The column is 15 years old if you count the Mr. Showbiz version, which began in August of ’98, and the Reel.com version from ’99 to ’02 and the Movie Poop Shoot version from ’02 to ’04). It was about the need to minimize the impact of the likes and dislikes of out-to-pasture Academy members. Not in a dismissive or disrespectful way, but moderately and appropriately.
“If the Academy wants to be part of the world as it is right now and have the Oscar winners reflect this, it has to reduce the influence of people whose professional peaks happened 15 or 20 or more years ago,” I wrote. “These people will retain membership and all the priveleges that go with that, but their votes won’t count as much as those who are actively working and contributing to the films of today, or at least films made within the last five to ten years — simple.
“Every year Academy members will be asked online ‘how recently have you worked on a feature film destined for theatrical or a film or series destined for cable or streaming?’ If the last film you worked on was released ten or more years ago, you get a single vote and become a C-grade voter. If the last film you have worked on was released between five and ten years ago, you get two votes and become a B-grade voter. And if you’ve worked on a film made and released within the last five years, you get three votes and becomes an A-grade voter.
“How would this system be unfair? What could possibly be the downside? If this system had been in place seven years ago, Brokeback Mountain would have won the Best Picture Oscar.”