News Nuggets: Oscars amend category rules, but are the changes enough?

Oscars amend rules for music, visual effects, foreign-language, and makeup categories: “The makeup category has been renamed to include hairstyling, and within that category, all branch members who have seen the seven shortlisted titles will receive ballots to list their top three choices during the nominations process. In the original song category, the exec committee will now be able to recommend that a fourth songwriter for an individual song be considered ‘in rare and extraordinary circumstances’ … In visual effects, the number of potential nominees chosen by the branch’s exec committee (via secret ballot) will be 10 … And for foreign language, films must be submitted to the Academy in 35mm or (DCP (digital cinema package), but are no longer required to be exhibited in those formats in their countries of origin.” VARIETY

Oscar rule changes miss opportunities to fix categories: “One of the biggest controversies coming out of last year’s Oscar nominations  was in the music branch where due to a ridiculous rule original songs must achieve an unrealistic voting standard of an overall 8.5 score that only two (‘Real in Rio‘ from ‘Rio‘ and eventual winner ‘Man or Muppet‘ from ‘The Muppets‘) managed to meet, leaving a number of major contenders including deserving songs from big names like Mary J. Blige and Elton John out in the cold … There was also an opportunity for another overhaul of the arcane rules for nominating Foreign Language films, a perennial source of controversy. The Academy could have used this opportunity to change the way films are submitted from individual countries, a process that has increasingly become mired in the politics of some countries leading to unworthy entries and the overlooking of genuinely deserving films.” DEADLINE

Kenneth Branagh will be knighted by Queen Elizabeth: “Belfast-born actor/director Kenneth Branagh is ready to say yes to a knighthood from the Queen, 18 years after he first turned it down. Branagh, 51, said no to the award all those years ago because he didn’t feel worthy, being only in his mid-thirties, but now, after multiple Oscar nominations and BAFTA wins – not to mention a current starring role in one of the most watched shows on the BBC – he’s okay with being known as Sir Kenneth. ‘I was genuinely shocked when I got it. At this stage in my life, my practice is, if people are kind enough to acknowledge what you do it seems polite to say, “Thank you very much,”‘ Branagh told the Daily Mail.” IRISH CENTRAL

A closer look inside expensive Emmy campaigns: “The glossy and, at times, extraordinary courtship of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ 15,280 members is a dance that began in earnest in the mid-1990s after Fox and the cable networks became contenders in the race for the TV industry’s most prestigious prize. How big? Tom O’Neil, who has been tracking Hollywood’s top awards for decades and is the editor of the entertainment awards site GoldDerby.com, estimates that the TV industry spends $30 million to $40 million every year competing for Emmys. That astounding sum covers extravagant advertising campaigns that begin in print but also extend to skywriting over Malibu and Santa Monica beaches and ice-cream trucks delivering free treats at industry haunts.” THE DAILY BEAST

Calling for new blood in Emmy’s comedy categories: “For starters, if ‘Glee‘ gets a nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series I’m boycotting this year’s Emmys. Not really, but I’m certainly going to bitch about it on Twitter. And ‘The Office‘ was once a great TV comedy but it dipped in quality this season, as did perpetual Emmy darling ‘30 Rock.’ It’s time for this category to get an infusion of new funny. I’ve already mentioned ‘Community,’ but I also think that ‘Louie,’ ‘Girls,’ ‘Happy Endings,’ and ‘Raising Hope‘ are highly deserving of a closer look from Emmy voters.” ZIMBIO

Is “The Avengers” worthy of consideration as a great film? “Surely no movie about comic book heroes, all of whom have their own movie (except Black Widow), could be good enough to have conversations or write essays about. ‘The Avengers’ was damned good. Way better than it had any right to be. So good that it made me want to wax philosophic about the comic book legacy America has delivered to the world, about the world of Stan Lee, and to feel some pride that this creation, this genre IS wholly American. ‘The Avengers’ is a summer movie in the grand tradition of great summer movies but it is also a tribute to the very worthy art form of Marvel comics.” AWARDS DAILY

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