Bryan Reesman‘s 12.17 N.Y. Times piece considers the tribulations of “Oscar Hell” week — i.e., Academy members having to see every last film in a relatively short space of time (mid November to late December, although they have until early January), and, apparently for a majority of Academy members, mainly on DVD screeners. The reality is that a lot of films — the lower-budgeted indies without big stars — simply don’t get seen.
“You’d be amazed how many smaller movies don’t even get the cellophane cracked by academy members, because they’re into looking at the higher-profile films first,” says publicist Murray Weissman. “They just don’t have time.”
Motion Picture Academy officials, Reesman writes, “claim indifference to the frenzy that they have unleashed by compressing the Oscar season.” AMPAS spokesperson John Pavlik says that Academy members “should have been seeing the films throughout the year, not waiting until the week after Christmas to start watching movies.” And Pandemonium Films honcho Bill Mechanic (who’s also a former member of the academy’s board of governors), says, “There’s probably a greater volume in December than there used to be, but if you’re a caring member of the academy, you do your work.”
Just as a relatively modest percentage of kids in your high-school English class did their reading and turned in their homework with absolute regularity, so goes the Academy’s approach to “doing the work.” Most of them do it catch as catch can; some are outright slackers.