Wednesday, July 22, 2009

10 nominations for best film?

A few weeks ago the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (also known as the Oscars) announced that they were doubling the number of best picture nominees from five to ten. What a terrible, terrible idea! First off, they didn't just add one or two they decided to go all in and just double the damn thing to ten. I'm trying to make sense of it the best I can and admit I'm having a tough time figuring it out.

The first thing that pops in my head is that this group got in cahoots with film company bigwigs and came up with this bright idea to help promote more movies. It's all about increasing the box office of more movies. The more films in the running for the top prize means more people will try to see that year's better films. Usually there is a spike in tickets sold for the best film nominees after the nominations are announced. More films equals more public relations onslaught for the pictures, the stars, the directors, the magazines and websites devoted to celebrity culture and events--like I said: more money for the entire industry.

Do we really need to have ten nominations? The answer: no. Let's think about the film industry in the year 2009 and the majority of films that are hoisted upon us. Hollywood releases an endless stream of sequels, remakes, comic book or graphic novel adaptations or pure by the numbers formula pictures (just pick the genre and you'll be bombarded by formula). Every so often a wild card slips in like some bastard bad seed that takes off and shocks and surprises us with a nomination and wins (Slumdog Millionaire). The film industry at this point in time is a cesspool of mediocrity, regurgitation, strategic marketing and no imagination. It's usually a struggle to find five films that are truly worthy of best film status so to double it to ten is just plain crazy.

This move will cheapen the award for best picture by turning it into some kind of Golden Globes or People's Choice award where they hand out nominations at such a dizzying rate it's hard to keep up with just who wasn't nominated. Do you want to see the actual best films nominated (granted, I am using this term loosely because they have issues in this regard too but just for the sake of this argument I'm assuming that they nominate the best five films) or do you want to see some great films nominated, some good films nominated and then some that have absolutely no business being touted as lasting works of art?

Why stop at ten nominations? Why not increase the number of actors or actresses or directors to ten? More publicity! More happy botoxed actors/actresses! More money! Why not just increase the total to 15 or 20 nominations? Heck, with all these increases the film anti-Christ himself, Michael Bay, might find himself nominated for a best picture or best director. Naw, they'd have to increase it to 150 nominations per category for that hack to get a chance at an award for anything other than blowing stuff up (this wasn't a planned attack on Bay, honest, it just popped out at the end). Nice job Oscars--you've made your ultimate award mean less than it ever has before. That's smart.


larry said...

You say, "This move will cheapen the award." Didn't that happen some time ago? Maybe a way to give the BP award any credibility would be to only nominate good films. I know that would mean in some years ther would only be one or two nominees and in some years none.

Joshua Blevins Peck said...

I agree, see paragraph 3 and 4--it there trouble finding good, original films some years.