Hollywood Reporter columnist Scott Feinberg has put forward an obviously logical suggestion to improve the calibre of Oscar winners or at least increase the odds that deserving winners will be chosen as opposed to winners of popularity contests.
Feinberg is saying that in addition to the general membership’s across-the-board vote for Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film, the Academy should allow members to vote only in their specific area of expertise.
Only actors should vote for actors, only production designers should be allowed to vote for their own, only screenwriters can vote for screenwriters, etc. Obviously fair, couldn’t be simpler.
“How much do most makeup artists know about screenwriting, or film editors know about costume design, or actors know about sound mixing?,” Feinberg begins. “The answer: about as much as anyone on the street. Why, then, does the Academy allow all of its members — each of whom hails from one of 17 branches of the industry — to pick winners in all of its categories? This process always has struck me as indefensible.
“I speak with Academy members regularly, and they are the first to admit that they should not be voting in many of the categories in which they currently are permitted a vote. One might hope they would abstain from voting in areas they know little about, but that’s not realistic; instead, they vote for the movie they liked the best, or the only one they even saw, or in some cases, the one with a cool title or poster. (Seriously.)
“Make no mistake: This is why so many people who deserve Oscars don’t have them.
“There’s a simple solution to this problem: Limit members, in the final round, to voting in the same categories they were limited to in the nominating round. What possible argument could there be for doing otherwise?”