I have a solution for the obviously flawed Academy Awards’ nomination process. We all know the line about what an honor it is to be nominated by your peers, but we also know that the motives and taste buds of a certain sector of the Academy — i.e., the sentimentalists, the cheap-seaters, the over-the-hill gang — have resulted in various embarassments.
The geezer-homophobia bloc that took down Brokeback Mountain is the most infamous example. Two current manifestations are the Best Actor nominating of Brad Pitt for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and the Best Actress nomination-snubbing of Happy-Go-Lucky‘s Sally Hawkins.
One way to fix this would be to monitor and, when necessary, disenfranchise those Academy members who’ve proven repeatedly to have exhibited bad or atrocious taste, but that would just provoke a rebellion from defenders of the over-70 set and everyone asking what’s “bad taste?” and shouts of “no elitism!”
A more practical and political solution would be to create a board of elite taste-filter types — a revolving team of accomplished industry veterans who “know better” by virtue of being in the game and currently productive. These people would have ultimate deciding power over nominations and winners.
The concept of elite taste filter boards is not new. Similar thinking led to the creation of the Electoral College in the late 18th Century and last year to the creation of Mark Johnson‘s elite Foreign Language Film board that gives them trump power over the ninnies who refused to short-list 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days.
This elite group could, when the situation warrants, dismiss and counter-act certain bad-taste nominations when they go too far. To me this makes sense. The rank-and-file can’t be and shouldn’t be trusted to do the right thing. They will always do the wrong thing and sometimes make decisions that result in gravy stains upon the Academy’s reputation. One-man, one-vote democracy is a shaky enough system in the political arena, but it can’t work when it comes to recognizing and voting for serious artistic achievement.