Friday, January 12, 2007

Timing is Everything

Oscarwatch --which I've been linking to a lot (tis the season!) just linked to and agrees with this article by Dan Harris in Entertainment Weekly which is critical of Oscar's shortened schedule. I absolutely and vehemently disagree with it. Can't people see that extending the Oscar season only makes the studios lazier about distribution models. The long schedule helped to create the Miramaxization of Oscars: long expensive campaigns, agonizingly slow rollouts, one week qualifiers. That old system did not do moviegoers any favors. It just left them out of the equation. It turned film conversation into marketing conversation.

It's not the Academy's fault that their members don't have time to see the movies. It's the studios. The Academy should stick to their guns.

6 comments:

aaron said...

But the studios still haven't fixed the problem. The studios are never going to know what is good and what isn't. They can't seem to figure out what's good.

At least with the longer schedule, the voters got to see way more stuff that the studios waited until last-minute to release. If it continues as is, there will never be any surprises any more. I don't think the studios are ever going to start releasing stuff earlier...

NATHANIEL R said...

i remember what it's like to live in a flyover state. that system sucks for the majority of people in america who don't get to see the movies until March.

at least this way moviegoers can participate a little bit more. if they want people to care about the oscars its senseless to leave out the audience. and that's what that system does with its qualifiers and its movies that nobody hears about until AFTER nominations. etc.

Billy McLellan said...

yeah, but how long will it take studios to realize that members have no time to see films? it just pains me because i KNOW that were the oscars a month later, deserving films like pan's labyrinth and children of men would have more time to become more of a presence... and then we'd see some differentiation (at least a LITTLE) from other awards shows. the lack of surprises in the past few years is killing me.

Edward Copeland said...

I was initially resistant to the shorter schedule, but I've come to prefer it instead of dragging it out until late March or early April when everything seems REALLY anticlimactic. I think the main negative impact this has had is on the plethora of other award-giving bodies who, in a rush to get out and try to influence the Academy, often miss films that haven't come their way. That's why you find so many awards and top 10 lists from places outside the big cities populated by films that got wider release. Often, those films are good and deserve praise anyway, but too often it results in Top 10 lists that are more the "Top 10 things I got to see" instead of anything close to resembling than actual 10 best from that year.

Edward Copeland said...

Also, the stories of how seriously Academy members take their "duty" are legendary, letting spouses fill out their ballots. Leaving some screeners unopened, voting for what they've "heard" was good (which I really have to believe is the only reason people keep pretending that "Babel" isn't insipid), so I'm sure the nominating process is warped but once nominations are out, it makes it much easier for them to see things, shorter schedule or longer schedule. What should really be done is to spread the process out throughout the entire year. The Tonys, though nominated by a committee, have to go when things first open and perhaps if screenings were set up for Academy voters during initial release, they (and critics) would be less overwhelmed by the screener bombardment in the year's final months.

Kamikaze Camel said...

I'm glad it's earlier. Everyone's so exhausted by the end of March (three months into the year!).

And, really, if Children of Men only gets a couple of tech nominations it's the studios own fault. The movie was released pretty much simultaneously around the globe in September yet the US doesn't get it until Christmas? What happened there? I know adult sci-fi is hard to market (The Fountain), but... honestly? So weird.