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I swear, the left side of my body went numb when I saw this.
What is the rational behind this? The Oscars' televised award show wasn't long enough? Did somebody decide to make sure that no one on the East Coast would get to bed until three in the morning on Oscar night?
The big excuse behind this decision appears to be that by broadening the Nominee list to ten, the Acadamy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be able to ensure that more great works of cinematic artistry will get the exposure they deserve. This, of course, is a big steaming pile of crap.
The Academy has never had a problem with fitting in films for acknowledgment. Their problem has always been their inability to select really great films for what has become perceived as an honor, an Oscar Nomination. Too many good movies for just five Best Picture nominations? Some of the recent winners haven't even been Oscar worthy. Gladiator wins best picture? Titanic sweeps, SWEEPS the Oscars? You can like these films, but you really can't defend the praise that was senselessly heaped upon them as supposed works of genius.
Now for the real reason why this idea has been shot through: Studio Advertising. Five more Best
Image via WikipediaPicture nominations a year means five more big-budget Hollywood investments that the studios can slap a "Oscar Nominee" label on, guaranteeing them extended box office runs and higher DVD sales. Anybody who doesn't think that the Oscars are nothing more than an annual advertising drive for the film industry probably thought Gladiator truly was the Best Picture that year. And don't give me the Slumdog Millionaire argument, either. They do that once every for or five years so they have proof that they aren't in the pockets of the major production companies.
So, who is going to lose out to this Best Picture expansion? The little guys. Oh, they'll still get nominations, but whoever produces the Oscars this year is going to have to trim some award presentations down if the want to keep the whole dog and pony show under seventeen hours. They sure as hell aren't going to trim the extravagant dance numbers and musical presentations. Where else are these big name performers going to display their talents? Besides their own movies, Broadway shows and music videos, of course.
Nope, there will be cuts, and they will effect people who might never get a chance to experience this kind of limelight again. Best Short Foreign Film? Best Wardrobe Design? Maybe they'll just
combine Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay. Hell, they could probably do away with the Screenplay category altogether. Or just lose Editing. So many of those Oscar presentations just give appreciation and respect to the people behind the scenes, the professional craftsmen without whom the films would never get finished.
I think that's my real problem with this decision. The Academy isn't doubling the nominations for all of the categories, just Best Picture. Their excuse is that there are just too many good films out there. The implication is that they need more space to show their regard fro the films, but not for the people behind the scenes that lay the foundation and framework for the films. Of course, I shouldn't blame them for this myopic view; they're just looking at the Big Picture. Too bad the Big Picture seems to be less and less about the people who make it.
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