With The Oscars coming up on March 2nd on ABC, I thought back to all of the ceremonies that I have watched over the years and I found myself saying, "I have never heard of this movie."
More often than not, you can end up getting a lot of films nominated that either you have heard of or you haven't. If you have, that merely tells me that you have a lot of time on your hands. Where I found myself stymied was how those films that I have never heard of even ended up in the nomination pool to begin with. I am not saying that there have not been films that had made the grade and were not deserving of nominations at all. For instance, such films at 'The Green Mile', 'Avatar', 'The Silence of the Lambs', and so forth, were included in some of my favorite ceremony watching experiences, though that may have been some time ago. But, when I hear of such films as, for example 'Sexy Beast', which Ben Kingsley was nominated for 'Best Supporting Actor', I was like 'Okay, now what was the movie all about?'
Regardless of my personal quirks concerning the issue, I decided it was high time that I checked this out. It turns out that the selection process, according to Curiosity.com, is a long and arduous one. Of course, only five make it, and even then the producer and/or director have to fill out what is called a Screen Credit form once the nomination has been made. So, it sounds like the money men have a lot more riding on their movie than even the actors do.
It seems that the Academy is in it to make the producers look good but to also keep the anticipation for the viewers going for the the three-to-four hours that the ceremony lasts, and that's before the red carpet reports from the media that are ongoing at least two hours before that.
So, the next question becomes: are the producers and who they are the most important factor when it comes to making a nomination? I mean if they are signing the form, are they taking all the credit? On top of that, only members of the Academy are allowed to vote as well, which are mailed out to Academy members and then sent back. Basically, they make the final determinations before the ceremony If one were to think about it, the other categories that become involved in the ceremony could be looked at as nothing more than filler, almost like a company-wide meeting of a large corporation to make sure that the other departments that make the company run are not left out. The screenwriters, art directors, special effects personnel, sound and film editors, etc. Sure, they all vote for each other, which is fine, but in all truth, most viewers do not care about all of the technical categories and merely put up with it to get to the final goal, which is Best Picture. It all boils down to what those same members deem as the best film at the end of the night, regardless if you love it or hate it. I'm one of those people who thought that 'Django:Unchained' did not deserve a nomination last year (or a win) due to its content and language alone. But of course, I'm not exactly a Quentin Tarentino fan, either.
Here in the early stages, we have all of these scripts coming in of every kind, with hundreds of people looking them over that have been selected and they have to narrow it down to five. By far, I know that it is no easy feat, but there is one thing in my mind that the Academy misses in this as well: what really makes a movie one that is to last for the ages? It all boils down to the fan base. I to the many geeks and movie gurus that are out there that I am going a little 'People's Choice Awards' on you, then what can I say?
Movies are made. People pay to see the movies that they want to see. Why do they do that? Simple: because that is what they want. Hollywood was created so long ago not only to make films, but to make entertainment that will spark the imagination of its viewers. From the producer's stand-point, if people are not paying that money and getting their butts in the seat, they won't stand a chance at nomination anyway. The producers are the one that sign that form right? Their job is to front the money needed for any project while its the writer's job to get the story that they can market. Hence, the nature of business and the process of supply and demand. The fans demand something, they ultimately have to make the decision as to whether or not to meet that demand.
The Academy bases their decisions on what they determine to be what I call 'the It film'. It has made no difference whether or not that the fans may have put it there or if the film is any good. It is only that they like it. Which is why I am asking myself, "Why all of the Sundance, Cannes, and other festival films that appeal only to the art house crowds are mixed in with say, a blockbuster? It does not happen every time admittedly, but it does happen.
In any event, while those that read this may or may not agree with me (as I have so learned a great deal in the last week), it makes me wonder do the Selection Committees merely pick just to pick as they are tired of reading scripts or they do see that spark from someone that does remain indicative of a great film?