Oscars: What the Academy needs is a commissioner, like baseball, football, etc.

ImageEvery year we gripe about how the Academy “snubbed” this director, film, actress or actor.

Fans use that as an excuse to tune out the Oscar telecast.

Every year, the Oscars grow less special, less novel, because the awards and awards shows preceding them steal their thunder. This year, people are STILL talking about Jodie Foster’s speech, Ben Affleck’s unrepeatable Globes wins — because he’s not up for the Oscar.

And they will be, all the way through Oscar night, when the audience will probably shrink yet again.

And nothing in that collective, committee-driven, popular vote selected process that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences uses can seem to combat that. Ideas, trends, groundswells of support, all washed away in groupthink and popular vote amongst the members. 

The Academy doesn’t need a president so much as they need a commissioner, somebody empowered to act on behalf of the fans and “the good of the (movie) game.”

They need somebody who can look at the voted list of nominees, see that there’s an empty slot, and fill out the field — “Skyfall” could have qualified for best picture that way, “The Impossible,” maybe some other film with a more youthful bent — to reach out to a younger audience — “Perks of Being a Wallflower,” “Dark Knight Rises,” “The Avengers.”

They need someone who can take a list of nominees to executive committee to at least consider righting a wrong. I don’t know how that would work, but does anybody who saw “Silver Linings Playbook” really think all four actors deserved nominations in their respective categories? An arbitrary, “the role has to appear in X percentage of the film to qualify” might change that around.

They need to surprise, to go out and recognize films that they, as members of the industry, realize were better than some of those adored by critics’ groups.

A commissioner could jigger with the lineup, as well. More “special Oscars,” more lifetime achievement awards. Give viewers old and young something to tune in for — the unexpected. Surprises.

Producers of the show and members of the Academy have tried all manner of schemes, whims, etc., to make the show more relevant, more entertaining, a bigger draw. But they’re never ever going to be able to move the show in front of the Golden Globes. NBC won’t let that happen.

So they need to find a way to show different faces, do different tributes, and not be a repeat of The Globes. A commissioner would be a great place to start.

 

 

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