So yesterday it was announced that the Academy Awards will now widen the competition for the Best Picture award from five to ten nominations. To most people, this will mean next to nothing. But to people such as myself, who love movies, love the oscars, and love to debate after the fact, this is a bit of a shocker. Why would the Academy do such a thing?
There are several reasons. One is that for years and years there have always been, at the very least one movie that was left out of the competition that deserved to be there. I really thought that the film Wall-E had a shot at being the second animated film to be nominated for best picture last year (the first was Beauty and the Beast). But alas, the Academy nominated The Reader (a good film but not the best of the year). One thing that opening up the competition could do is allow for more films that often get overlooked such as animated films and foreign films. One could say that these films already have their own category in the first place. But what happens in Wall-E's case where the film was easily better than the majority of the films that were out there by a long-shot.
However, my gripe is this. I love Pixar's films. But I don't want them to get a Best Picture nomination because the Academy decided to widen the field. I want them to get a nomination because they make damn good movies. Their films are easily in the top 10 each year. I want the Academy to put them up there with the Steven Spielberg films and the Peter Jackson films. Because in my eyes they are just as good, and in some cases better.
The other reason the academy is doing this is for a reason that makes a little bit more sense and sounds a little bit more like Hollywood with a capital H--money. If they can nominate more movies then more stars have the chance to walk the red carpet, which makes the event more "glamorous."
This is crap if you ask me. These awards ceremonies are not about the stars or the amount of glitz and glamour. These ceremonies are supposed to celebrate an art form and congratulate filmmakers on creating works that further our knowledge of ourselves and the world around us.
Are we forgetting why people love movies in the first place. It's because art has the ability to affect us and change us. Art has the ability to make us better people, to challenge our thoughts and our beliefs. These award ceremonies are supposed to celebrate the films that do this to the best of their ability. They are NOT supposed to be about the latest headline in Perez Hilton's blog.
I was all for a bit of a shake up in the way these award ceremonies were done because of the simple fact that phenomenal films like Wall-E get left out of the mix, but doubling the size of the race is not the answer. In my opinion, all that you had to do was add one or two more slots to the race and it should work fine. You wouldn't have snubs such as Wall-E, The Diving Bell and The Butterfly, or Children of Men.
Also, part of the fun of the Academy Awards is arguing until your face turns blue that your favorite film didn't make the cut. And what happens when there aren't ten stand-out films in a year (something that happens more than you think)? Will the Academy stoop to nominating films like Transformers 2 simply because they made a ton of money?
After hearing the news yesterday I don't think I'd be surprised.