The Movie Blog Presents: 5 Ways To Improve The Oscars

Even though this year’s Oscars was one of the best in the last few years, there are still big areas for improvement. We humbly submit for your approval, 5 solid ways to improve the Oscar telecast… and then a couple of not to solid ideas that might work anyway.

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22 thoughts on “The Movie Blog Presents: 5 Ways To Improve The Oscars

  1. Fantastic post, John. Can’t say I’ve enjoyed anything you’ve previously shared, as much.

    I agree with most everything…except for the animated film bit. I confess, I have a bias against animation. I grew up on cartoons, on comics, etc, so it’s not like I don’t have a history with the notion. But I do not believe that animation is simply another ‘style’ of filmmaking, and therefore, don’t believe it should be considered for Best Picture. Animation, more than ‘regular’ filmmaking, is a technical pursuit of an artistic goal. Within creative expression, animators strive to imbue the characters with those elements identified in humans, elements an audience can empathize with. (No empathy, no connection, no great result.) The successful anthropomorphizing of objects, of animals, toys, can bring about magic. But to me, it’s a technical pursuit. This alone separates it from ‘conventional’ filmmaking. (A note here: this is my *opinion*. It’s *my* belief, *my* truth. I’m not telling anyone else to see things my way, so please, direct your stink-bombs elsewhere.) So I’m glad the Academy has a separate category for Best Animated Film and hope this issue can be put to rest.

    As an addendum, regarding the discussion about why the Oscars are losing their audience, why the numbers are down, why on this very blog, one predicated on a love of movies, there’s such ambivalence… Nothing can be done to radically improve the numbers, or turn the tide, for that matter. Times have changed. Just as the paradigm for movie revenues has been turning away from cinema ticket receipts (currently about 12% of the studios’ revenue comes from theatrical release), so has the importance -or relevance- of the Oscar broadcast. (*Not* the Oscars; they’ll be relevant to those people they were created for…the Academy members…whether or not any of you haters tune in). Back when I was the age of many commenters here, and especially before even this time-frame, there simply weren’t the options that people have now in terms of entertainment. And of news. No Internet. No cable. Just tv, newspapers and magazines. It’s an entirely different world. Back then, ‘film’ had mystique. Now, everyone can -and does, it seems- post a video online. Back then, filmmaking was magic. Now, everyday people can discuss production values, film deals, profit and loss, they know the weekend’s BO figures… Just as the music industry hasn’t kept pace with changing times regarding its product, Hollywood seems to expect that the Oscars will always have that special place in peoples’ hearts. And maybe that’s true, albeit to an ever-diminishing extent. But times have changed. And things generally don’t tend to go backwards. So my prediction is a) lower numbers down the road, no matter what changes they make, and b) eventually, a much shorter broadcast.

  2. and john this is off topic bt there is no way in hell transformers not winning for effects was a fuck you to lucas. that is a huge stretch to make…

    nobody looked at their ballot and went
    “hhmmm best vfx….golden compass…..pirates……transformers?? well i really want to say fuck you to george lucas so i won’t be voting for that…i’ll give it to golden compass..that’ll show him”

    that is a ridiculous theory…and if thats the case how do you explain all the times ILM have won? like..i dunno…last year?

    i think it just proves that michale bay movies are not liked by the academy end of story. there is just no way it is linked back to some hatred of lucas…

    lucas hate has nothing to do with it all….

  3. That montage at the end was awesome. I agree with just about everyone of your ideas except number 4. I think instead of letting the winners know they have 30 seconds to thank people I think they should just give them 2 mins. I think 2 mins is not too much to ask.

  4. clinky is right…no true a lister is going to host to the oscars…clooney will never host the oscars while he is a viable candidate to win them….

    I don;t get this idea that it has to be a movie person….it is a tv show after all and tv show hosts or stand up comedians are the best prepared to do the show..clooney is charming and funny in small doses but I think he would be a terrible host.

    I don’t care who it is though really as long as they’re funny…

    and if they got rid of best animated feature well you are just not going to see animated films getting nominated for best picture every year….it was a freak occurance when beauty and the beast got a nom and sorry as good as the fims gets if there was no animated catagory you will have pretty much have banished animated films from the show altogether…

    as for songs allt hey have to do is make it a medley….have guests sing a snippet from each song in one 7-8 minute medley and get out of the way.

  5. As for having movie star hosts, I don’t think most of the “A” listers would want to do it, but also, TV Hosting and Movie Acting are not necessarily the same skill set. Billy Crystal had both skills, but that’s probably rare. Chevy Chase, in his day, was a decent movie star, but an unsuccessful TV host.

    And having a Best Animated Feature Oscar means that “Ratatouille” gets to win an Oscar, instead of, let’s face it, even if it got nominated, no chance at all of winning Best Picture.

  6. yes definately on the boat with the best picture movie montage instead of the best songs!!

    and yes i do as well remember the original score montages.. those were nice!

    one way i think the oscars could be improved… get Billy Crystal to host again!

  7. I’m gonna have to disagree with you on the song category, but only because I think they should also have clips from the Best Picture nominees (why on earth did they get rid of that?!) and as somebody mentioned above, they should also perform best score nominees like they used to do (does anybody else even remember that?). I remember a nice medley of the nominees for best score one year which was done with dancers on stage the whole time. Then again, the best song nominee doesn’t really make much sense to begin with except to simply be a way to get viewers to watch (and I realize that a musical and a movie about a song were nominees, so clearly the music was important, but shouldn’t they have been up for score then?). If you got rid of all those absurd montages, there’d be plenty of time for all that stuff. Although, keep in mind, they had a week to prepare so maybe montages were an easy time filler.
    Although I completely agree with the animation point, keep in mind it was created because Ghibli and Pixar were simply making films that were too good to ignore, but still not accepted by the mainstream as art. So yes, it’s a consolation prize, but it’s a step forward in recognizing it as art, which it simply hadn’t been seen as. Besides, getting rid of it should also mean getting rid of Best Foreign Language Film, which exists for similar reasons, to expose the public to good films they might not otherwise care to see.
    This is too long, but let’s be fair. If there’s a category that should be gotten rid of, it should be the shorts. Who ever sees these? They play only in festivals and not even in most of them, so why should the viewing public care? Even if it encouraged people to watch them, currently it’s way too much trouble for people to find them. I’ll shut up now.

  8. If there is one thing they should pay more attention to it is the Film Score.

    Unlike a single song, the film score actually is a very important part of the movie.

    Like they said in the Oscars this year, what would Jaws be if it didn’t have that famous theme for the shark that John Williams created?

    Get rid of the songs, and pay some more attention to the film scores.

    By the way I like your little montage at the end, lol.

  9. Your argument that the songs take up too much time relative to other stuff is persuasive, but my mom, who is very much the average TV and movie watcher, says that the performances are one of the few reasons she does watch anymore. I can’t help but think there are many (maybe not Movie Blog readers) who feel the same.

    But yeah, fewer montages.

  10. Really Good Points there John.

    I agree with most of them especially the animation one.

    The one point i can live without is the hosting duties. I don’t mind someone from another way of entertainment as long as that person does a good job.

    One question: Stewart is an actor and has appeared in a couple of films so he’s technically part of the industry. Sure, he may not be an A-lister but he’s part of the industry. Just wanted to throw that around.

  11. John,

    I have to ask you what you think the precise reason is that the academy continually disregards animated features as “best picture” worthy films.

    Is it because they think that animation is an inferior style of film or is it simply because the members of the academy are simply too anal and intent on preserving traditional movie values, (which believe that animation is mostly for children)fearing they would face ridicule from their peers for holding an animated feature in such high regard.

    I hope this is indeed not the case because it is very disheartening for me to think that these movie “experts” are intentionally snubbing quality films simply because it is presented in a different art style.

    Your thoughts….

  12. Agree with you all the way here John, especially with your stance on animated films. Also, during the songs (which I agree are totally pointless), I simply muted the tv, opened iTunes, and played something else overtop. Nothing like seeing Amy Adams but hearing either Primus or Tenacious D or something of the sort.

  13. Good stuff John. I would like to see the rules around movie eligibility tightened up too. It seems more and more each year the studios work the system to promote films with limited appeal. If a movie has not gone into wide release by a certain date and for a minimum time of say, two weeks, then it should not eligible for a Best Picture nomination.

    Not making films available to the public is another reason why the Oscar viewership numbers are down.

  14. That montage at the end was hilarious! I don’t mind tv people hosting the Oscars, and I kinda like the musical numbers, but I can understand why others don’t.

    Great little video!

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