Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Oscar Silliness

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has announced it's going to expand the Best Picture category from five nominees to ten.

Decades ago the Academy had ten Best Picture nominees, ending the practice after 1943.

Having ten nominees made sense in a year like 1939, when Best Picture GONE WITH THE WIND was joined on the list by MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, THE WIZARD OF OZ, STAGECOACH, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, LOVE AFFAIR, NINOTCHKA, DARK VICTORY, GOODBYE MR. CHIPS, and OF MICE AND MEN.

Or take a look at the following year's list of 10: REBECCA (the winner) and THE PHILADELPHIA STORY, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, THE LETTER, THE GRAPES OF WRATH, THE LONG VOYAGE HOME, THE GREAT DICTATOR, OUR TOWN, KITTY FOYLE, and ALL THIS AND HEAVEN TOO.

Or the year after that: HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY (the winner), CITIZEN KANE, THE MALTESE FALCON, SERGEANT YORK, THE LITTLE FOXES, SUSPICION, HERE COMES MR. JORDAN, HOLD BACK THE DAWN, ONE FOOT IN HEAVEN, and BLOSSOMS IN THE DUST.

Even the weakest of those titles has stood the test of time as a solid, well-crafted movie remembered decades later. And most of the films are four-star classics.

The Academy really thinks there are currently ten releases a year which will stand the test of time as these movies have from the '30s and '40s?!

Update: Thoughts from Kenneth Turan.

8 Comments:

Blogger Irene said...

Ha. It's hard enough to even come up with five, let alone 10. That is silly!

2:13 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Happy Housewife said...

Maybe the struggle to find ten movies to nominate will force them select a few nice movies for a change. My movie rule of thumb is to avoid (post-1965) movies that are nominated.

5:20 AM  
Blogger J.C. Loophole said...

To me it's a way to use the nomination process as "nolo contendre" option; the Academy nominates films that the wouldn't normally nominate to appease public opinion, ones they wouldn't even consider as a contender, but have obviously struck a chord. Then the nominate what they consider the "real" contenders and award how they want. They have had increasingly sagging ratings for years and are beinging to slide into irrelevance because of the elitist attitude that awards politics rather than art. This is a Hail Mary pass, pure and simple.

6:56 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks to you all for your input!

Here's another interesting article, "Behind the Academy Awards' Best Picture Decision." TV ratings appear to have played a major role in the change...

Best wishes,
Laura

8:45 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

It seems to me that having 10 nominees to promote during the live show will only make the show longer and turn away viewers.

Missy

10:21 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Interesting point, Missy -- it's not as though the show isn't already long enough (grin).

Best wishes,
Laura

10:35 AM  
Blogger Evangeline said...

The movies you mention make me realize why the Academy Awards are such a joke these days: rarely are movies that the public adores nominated in the major categories. Can you imagine a detective comedy like The Thin Man being nominated today? Not to mention the horribly annoying habit of nominating movies that no one has ever seen, or only received limited release, and we only end up seeing after the film is released on DVD after the awards ceremony? Why would I have any emotional investment in the Oscars when I haven't seen 90% of what's nominated?

7:52 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I know I personally haven't had an emotional investment in the Oscars for many years, Evangeline! I used to find it an exciting show but I haven't even bothered to turn it on the last couple years in particular, especially as I dislike the way so many actors insist on mixing politics and the awards ceremony.

It's really kinda sad to compare the movies that were nominated in the '30s and '40s with the types of films nominated today...

Best wishes,
Laura

11:45 PM  

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