On May 4th the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will hold a huge group discussion among its members in three cities — Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco — to discuss the Academy’s future. The idea is that members will spill their gut feelings about what’s wrong with the Oscar race and suggest changes, etc. This’ll definitely be something to cover and kick around, although brutal honesty almost never happens when members of an esteemed organization get together.

I for one believe that Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone has offered two excellent suggestions.

Boiled down, good suggestion #1 is “go back to ten Best Picture nominees.” Here’s how Sasha puts it: “Do not have it both ways with having members choose five Best Picture nominees only to have them include the fringe dwellers when a film gets more number one votes. Keep the list to ten — as they did in 2009 and 2010, which resulted in brilliant inclusion of films that never would have gotten in otherwise like District 9 [and] The Kids Are All Right — because a voter is going to include a better variety when given ten slots. Having it both ways wreaks unnecessary havoc because (a) it doesn’t include movies that wouldn’t have been included otherwise, and (b) it doesn’t honor films that the general public likes more.”

Good suggestion #2 is “don’t let the guilds call the shots.” In Sasha’s words: “Why have an Academy at all if all they do is put a period on the end of an already written sentence? Just because the DGA and PGA tells you to vote for something doesn’t mean you always have to vote for it. Will the Academy ever be original again? Will they always fall in line with the guilds? Hard to say but in the years that I’ve been doing this I’ve watched their power and their influence slip dramatically. The Golden Globes are gaining in prominence as the Academy dims in the wake of the precursors that decide the race. Of course, we bloggers and pundits aid in that — we herd them into the pen and say ‘pick that one.’ Can it change? Doubtful.”