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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » Film-Yak   » Oscars Won't Televise All Awards Live, Gets Shorter, and Adds Popular Film Category (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Oscars Won't Televise All Awards Live, Gets Shorter, and Adds Popular Film Category
Mike Blakesley
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 - posted 08-08-2018 03:57 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Oscars Won't Televise All Awards Live, Adds Popular Film Category

Major change is coming to the Oscars.

On Tuesday night, just five months after the lowest-rated Academy Awards telecast on record (a mere 26.5 million viewers tuned in), the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' board of governors not only re-elected cinematographer John Bailey as its president, but also approved several major changes to the tradition-bound ceremony's format in the hope of retaining the viewers it still has and luring others back into the fold ahead of the 91st Academy Awards on Feb. 24, 2019.

To address the concerns of those who find the show to be too long and boring (thanks largely to the current existence of 24 competitive awards, of which the general public only cares about a few), Bailey and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said in a letter to members that the board has "committed to producing an entertaining show in three hours." They explain that this will be achieved partly by "present[ing] select categories live, in the Dolby Theatre, during commercial breaks (categories to be determined)." Those categories will not be removed from the telecast; instead, "the winning moments will then be edited and aired later in the broadcast."

This new format is similar to the one employed at the Tony Awards, which are annually broadcast on CBS, to recognize some of its lower-profile categories. (The Tonys present those awards and record acceptance speeches of them during a pretelecast portion of the ceremony, rather than during commercial breaks. Presenting them during commercial breaks is probably intended to make nominees in those categories feel more integrated into the heart of the telecast.)

The fact that this change has been endorsed by the Academy's board of governors, which is dominated by representatives of "below-the-line" branches whose Oscar winners could be impacted by this, is a testament to how dire the situation is, as far as the telecast's ratings. Still, one can safely expect a groundswell of protest from some of the members of those branches.

At least as important, in terms of improving the ratings of the Oscars telecast for ABC, the Academy also said in its letter that it "will create a new category for outstanding achievement in popular film" in time for the 91st Oscars, adding that "[e]ligibility requirements and other key details will be forthcoming." Some will complain that adding such a category cheapens the prestige of the Oscars, making it more like the People's Choice Awards or MTV Movie & TV Awards, but that is old-world thinking. More than the length of the telecast or the name of the host, Oscar ratings have been shown to correlate with the popularity of the nominated films among the general public. And the gulf between what the public buys tickets to see and what the Academy nominates and awards has never been greater.

If the popular film award (likely to be nicknamed "the Popcorn Oscar") is implemented in time for the 91st Oscars, then there is little doubt that ratings will improve, since blockbusters like Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again — and their fan-favorite stars — will be guaranteed a presence at the ceremony. (Black Panther already was expected to seriously contend for competitive nominations and awards, and the Academy confirms, "A single film is eligible for an Oscar in both categories— Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film and the Academy Award for Best Picture.")

The Academy also notified members that the date for the 92nd Oscars — the one that will take place in 2020, honoring the films of 2019 — has been moved up from the previously announced Feb. 23 to Feb 9. In all likelihood, this is to combat the sense that the Oscars have become anti-climactic, coming, as it does, at the end of a months-long season in which it is preceded by dozens of awards ceremonies. Those ceremonies won't fade away as a result of the calendar change, but people inside the industry will certainly be less burned-out by the time the Oscars finally come along.

Below is the full text of the Academy's message to its members.

* * *

The Academy's message to members is below:

Dear Member,

Last night, the Board of Governors met to elect new board officers, and discuss and approve significant changes to the Oscars telecast.

The Board of Governors, staff, Academy members, and various working groups spent the last several months discussing improvements to the show.

Tonight, the Board approved three key changes:

1. A three-hour Oscars telecast

We are committed to producing an entertaining show in three hours, delivering a more accessible Oscars for our viewers worldwide.

To honor all 24 award categories, we will present select categories live, in the Dolby Theatre, during commercial breaks (categories to be determined). The winning moments will then be edited and aired later in the broadcast.

2. New award category

We will create a new category for outstanding achievement in popular film. Eligibility requirements and other key details will be forthcoming.

3. Earlier airdate for 92nd Oscars

The date of the 92nd Oscars telecast will move to Sunday, February 9, 2020, from the previously announced February 23. The date change will not affect awards eligibility dates or the voting process.

The 91st Oscars telecast remains as announced on Sunday, February 24, 2019.

We have heard from many of you about improvements needed to keep the Oscars and our Academy relevant in a changing world. The Board of Governors took this charge seriously.

We are excited about these steps, and look forward to sharing more details with you.

John Bailey and Dawn Hudson

The Academy later issued an addendum:

While the details for a popular film category are still being finalized, a single film is eligible for an Oscar in both categories — Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film and the Academy Award for Best Picture. The new category will be introduced this coming year, at the 91st Oscars. In creating this award, the Board of Governors supports broad-based consideration of excellence in all films.

Hollywood Reporter article

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Scott Jentsch
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 - posted 08-08-2018 04:48 PM      Profile for Scott Jentsch   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Jentsch   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It will be interesting to see how they determine the qualifiers for the "popular film" category.

Will it be total box office for the movie in the previous year?

Number of weeks in theaters?

Number of weeks in the Top 10 Box Office?

Most number of days between theatrical and home video release?

Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes score?

Just out of curiosity, I pulled a report of the movies that were the longest lasting in the Top 10 Box Office in 2017:
  • Hidden Figures (11)
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (11)
  • Beauty and the Beast (10)
  • La La Land (10)
  • Dunkirk (9)
  • Wonder Woman (9)
  • The Boss Baby (9)
Since Hidden Figures and La La Land were 2016 movies, they would be excluded. If we were to consider box office reports extending into the subsequent year, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle would be at the top of the list with 12 weeks and The Greatest Showman stayed in the top 10 for 11 weeks.
Running the same report for 2018 so far (but excluding any 2017 movies):
  • Black Panther (13)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (9)
  • Deadpool 2 (8)
  • A Quiet Place (8)
  • The Incredibles 2 (8)

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Mike Blakesley
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 - posted 08-09-2018 12:12 AM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The internet is blowing up over this, predictably.

Variety article with a bunch of whiny tweets

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Leo Enticknap
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 - posted 08-09-2018 12:27 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Interesting, to say the least, that they didn't mention one of the major reasons why this year's Oscar ratings were so dismal. Every time someone made a political speech, millions of viewers switched off.

So if AMPAS wants to boost ratings again, they should take a leaf out of Brad's book and ban all mention of politics and politicians (of any and all colors) in the speeches, and broadcast it with enough of a time delay that they can go straight to adverts if anybody - even the best actor winner - tries it. I'm surprised that advertisers aren't demanding this, anyways.

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Aaron Garman
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 - posted 08-09-2018 07:25 AM      Profile for Aaron Garman   Email Aaron Garman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Creating a new category diminishes not only the event but the award itself. Outstanding achievement in...popular film? Are they saying the shlock they nominate or pick for Best Picture isn't at all popular?

That or maybe all the popular films are terrible and don't deserve anything but a participation trophy, which is all this new award would be.

I used to watch every year, and this year I tuned out most of the broadcast. It just is not the same anymore.

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Mark Ogden
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Like others, I tend to think that Disney had a hand in this. The show is broadcast by their ABC network, which pays much money to the Academy for the rights. It is not hard at all to believe that this is a way to get their Disney Studios, Marvel Studios, and now 20th Century Fox films a back-door Oscar. I think it's a bad move, it will delegitimize the true Best Picture winner by making two winners; the fanboi favorite and the actual best picture. In essence, the "popular" best picture, and what will be forever be stigmatized as the "unpopular" best picture. There's already a great deal of talk about Black Panther as Best Picture, but which one, and if it's the "popular" one, why DOSEN'T it deserve the regular award?

No good can come of this.

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Leo Enticknap
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quote: Aaron Garman
Are they saying the shlock they nominate or pick for Best Picture isn't at all popular?
At the risk of straying into dangerous territory myself, if I had to be cynical, I'd say that, after what happened with Moonlight and The Shape of Water, they want to be able to give the best picture award to a movie that is politically correct but drops dead at the box office, without driving away the mass audience for the ceremony show (and the advertising revenue that depends on those ratings, which accounts for about 95% of AMPAS's income). Creating a new, prominent award that has to go to a movie with proven mass appeal is a way to achieve that.

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Mitchell Dvoskin
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I thought that the Academy Awards were supposed to represented what people working in the production industry thought was the best work of the year, within their specialty. If that is so, then having a most popular award would be meaningless.

Personally, I think they should include all the awards "live", and get rid of those boring musical numbers and stunts. Really, taking the camera over to a commercial cinema to annoy paying movie goers was kind of the end for me watching. I'll be happy to read who won what the next day.

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Mike Croaro
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Mitchell D. wrote:

".........get rid of those boring musical numbers and stunts. Really, taking the camera over to a commercial cinema to annoy paying movie goers was kind of the end for me watching."

Mitchell you hit the nail on the head. These stunts are ridiculous. How about the dumb pizza stunt?

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Justin Hamaker
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Traditionally I think the "prestige" of the Academy Awards has resulted in certain types of films being discounted as best picture worthy. This applies to virtually all comedies, as well as most CGI heavy movies. The Academy hasn't given enough consideration to the fact motion capture characters should be recognized, or that the technical arts involved making a CGI heavy movie are just as much a part of what makes a good movie as anything else. In fact, the continued advances in CGI are expanding the boundaries of what is possible for movies, and they types of stories that can be told.

For example, a movie like Ex Machina shows how blending CGI with good story telling creates an award worthy movie, yet it only received the Visual Effects award, and the only other nomination was for screenplay.

To be fair, I do think this issue will be resolved with the efforts to expand the membership to bring in more youth and diversity.

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Mike Blakesley
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-
quote: Mitchell Dvoskin
having a most popular award would be meaningless.
The proposed award is not for "most popular," it is for BEST popular film.

Meaning, they would take the top-ten list for the year and the academy would vote on which is the best of THOSE movies.

If a really good movie was to become super-popular (which has happened), then the Best Picture and Best Popular Film awards could easily go to the same title, although it probably will never happen, for the same reasons Best Animated Film will probably never win Best Picture....whatever those reasons are.

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Terry Monohan
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It's cut back live TV time for the Oscars. Disney/ABC needs more time for commercials to run with the new tight format. A boring event will even get worse.

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Mike Blakesley
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 - posted 09-06-2018 03:42 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
They caved under the unrelenting bad vibes, is my guess.

Where they screwed up was calling it "Popular Film" and not giving any criteria for nominations. They should have called it "Best Achievement in Mainstream Film" and just said the nominations would be from the official top ten movies of the year as determined by ticket sales (not grosses).

Anyway, here's the cave-in article from Hollywood Reporter:

Academy Postponing New Popular Oscar Category
11:11 AM PDT 9/6/2018 by Gregg Kilday

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is postponing the introduction of the new “popular” Oscar category it had intended to introduce at its upcoming 91st Academy Awards on Feb. 24.

The Academy announced Thursday, following a meeting of the board of governors on Tuesday, that it is shelving the idea for the moment and will not launch the proposed new award at the next Oscar show, but it said it will continue to discuss the idea for the new award and "will examine and seek additional input regarding the new category." The announcement explained that implementing the new award nine months into the year "created challenges for films that have already been released." The Academy did not provide any timeline for when further details about the new award might be decided.

“There has been a wide range of reactions to the introduction of a new award, and we recognize the need for further discussion with our members,” Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said Thursday. “We have made changes to the Oscars over the years — including this year — and we will continue to evolve while also respecting the incredible legacy of the last 90 years.”

Last month, the Academy’s board of governors voted to create the new award, which it said would recognize “outstanding achievement in popular film.” But it did not lay out the criteria or voting process that would be used to determine which films would be eligible and how they would be selected. With awards season currently taking shape as dozens of Oscar hopefuls are introduced at festivals in Venice, Telluride and Toronto, which kicks off its fest Thursday, numerous questions were raised about the proposed award. With studios and distributors drawing up plans for the coming awards season, the Academy was under pressure to set up rules regarding the new category.

While the Academy appeared to still be committed to the new award, even though it said it requires further study, the question will now become whether or not it quietly drops the idea altogether.

Hoping to stem falling ratings for the Oscar broadcast, the Academy is looking for ways to attract the attention of mainstream moviegoers. The new award was seen as a way to guarantee that blockbuster movies, like the Marvel, Star Wars and DC Universe films, as well as surprise hits like A Quiet Place and Crazy Rich Asians, would be assured of air time on the broadcast.

But the announcement of the new award was met with an immediate wave of criticism. "The film business passed away today with the announcement of the 'popular' film Oscar," Rob Lowe tweeted. "It had been in poor health for a number of years. It is survived by sequels, tent-poles, and vertical integration." Critics of the idea variously complained that creating a new Oscar was akin to asking popular films to sit at the kids' table, while others argued it would devalue the eventual winner of the best picture Oscar.

This season, Black Panther was emerging as a possible test case for the new pop Oscar. Undeniably popular — the pic has grossed $1.3 billion worldwide — it has also been critically applauded, earning a 97 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Early handicapping has put it in the running for a best picture nomination, and while the Academy said a film could be eligible in both the best picture and best popular movie categories, some warned that a movie like Black Panther's best picture prospects could be impacted negatively if Academy members were suddenly offered the option of voting for it as best popular film. The pic's star Chadwick Boseman told THR, "There's no campaign [that we are mounting] for popular film; like, if there's a campaign, it's for best picture and that's all there is to it."

Even those who supported the idea of the new Oscar — including those inside the Academy — were hard-pressed to describe the rules and voting process that should be used to decide the winner of the category.

In announcing that it was setting the award aside for the moment, the Academy said that it would continue with other changes intended to keep the upcoming Oscar show from running over three hours. As previously announced, it said that not all of the 24 Oscar categories will be presented live — instead, six to eight categories will be presented at the Dolby Theatre during commercial breaks and then edited versions of the presentations will air later in the broadcast. It is expected that the crafts categories as well as the three short-film categories will be relegated to the non-live presentations, but the Academy said Thursday that the affected categories would rotate from year to year, presumably so that none of the crafts branches feel they are being permanently moved to the commercial-break status.

Also as previously announced, the 2020 Oscars are moving to an earlier date on the calendar. Instead of taking place toward the end of February, as has been the recent tradition, the 92nd Oscars will be held on Feb. 9, 2020.

To meet that earlier date, the Academy announced key dates for the 2019-2020 awards season. Its Governors Awards will be held Nov. 16, 2019. Nominations voting will open Jan. 2, 2020, and close Jan. 7, with the nominations to be announced Jan. 13. The Academy's annual nominees luncheon will be held Jan. 27, 2020. Final voting will begin Jan. 30 and conclude Feb. 4, 2020.

Because of the new compressed schedule, beginning in 2020, the Academy will move its Scientific and Technical Awards ceremony to June. The Sci-Tech Awards, at which the Academy honors technological achievements, have traditionally been held two weeks ahead of the Academy Awards. But the Academy said that since the technologies involved do not represent achievements within a specific awards year, it is able to hold that ceremony later in the year.

Hollywood Reporter article

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Martin Brooks
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There's an easy way to shorten the show without relegating awards to commercial breaks and dumbing down the show. They should start the speech clock as soon as the winner is announced so the winners don't spend a lot of time kissing and hugging people as they walk down the aisle. (An allowance can be made based on how far away from the stage they are). It's ridiculous how long it takes some of these people to get to the stage. They can kiss and hug after they receive their award.

They should also get rid of all the tacky bits for the presenters. Bruce Vilanch no longer writes for the Oscars, but whoever is writing now writes just like him.

Between those two things, I bet they could save 30 minutes.

And let's not forget that one of the reasons the show is so long is because of the number and length of commercial breaks. Years ago, there was far fewer.

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Mitchell Dvoskin
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Best "popular" film is a category that makes no sense. Either a film is considered best by Academy members, or not. Most popular does not require a vote, the boxoffice dollars speak for themselves.

If they are going to do this, why not have a "best" film for each genre. Best Science Fiction, Best Drama, Best Comedy, etc.. Best "Popular" film was just a really stupid idea by the Academy leadership. There are other awards shows for most popular, I watch the AA's for what people in the industry thought was the best work of the year.

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