“A large portion” of the Academy’s board of governors has been pushing for a return to five Best Picture nominees, according to a piece filed last night by The Hollywood Reporter‘s Stephen Galloway. A “high-level source” is quoted saying the Academy “tried” the current system of allowing up to ten nominees “but it didn’t do us any good.” What an idiot. The point of allowing for more Best Picture nominees is to include a people’s favorite or two. If you nominate American Sniper or The Dark Knight or The Blind Side you’re presumably engaging a wider audience…right?
You don’t want to just nominate the kind of high-calibre films that Hollywood Elsewhere readers prefer or…you know, elitist foo-foo movies. You have to strategically lower or democratize the real-estate value and try to liberally redefine the idea of “best” (at least for appearances’ sake) if you want to keep the riff-raff in the pen.
The underlying reality is that cultural devolution will continue regardless of how many Best Picture nominees are allowed. The cinematic interests of Joe and Jane Popcorn have never been very sophisticated, but they’re even more degraded now with most of them agreeably submitting to soul-suffocating big-studio franchises and the indie sector pretty much generating all the Best Picture nominees. The whole idea of average mainstream ticket-buyers hankering to see quality-level films has been gradually losing currency for at least the last 20 to 25 years. But on other hand how can it not be good for ratings if one or two Best Picture nominees offer at least some general appeal?
Galloway reports that “sources say there is fury among the governors about the quality and length of the show.” The length? Oscar telecasts have always run long and so what? Go to bed if you’re so bored or tired and read about the winners the next day. But improving the quality is always a good idea, and one way to do that is to jettison Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron and that awful plasticized gay Las Vegas vibe. Ellen DeGeneres was okay, but Neil and Craig’s decision to hire Seth McFarlane as 2013’s Oscar emcee was obviously a colossal misjudgment and the general consensus is that Neil Patrick Harris struck out also. Heave-ho time.
These are other possible changes will be reviewed at the next Academy governors meeting on Tuesday, March 24th.