5 ways to fix the Oscars

Here at Gold Derby, we absolutely love the Oscars. It’s the Super Bowl of awards shows, after all (only without the funny commercials). However, even we’ll admit that the Oscars are far from perfect. There are various aspects of the ceremony that could be reformed in order to create a better viewing experience for those at home.

In other words, the Oscars are flawed. But they don’t have to remain that way. Below, see our 5 ways to fix the Oscars.

Oscars: Complete list of winners

1. Combine the sound categories.
Every year, anonymous Academy members come forward with their tails between their legs, admitting they have no idea what the difference is between Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. If voters don’t care about these two races, why should the rest of us? The Oscars need to combine both sound categories ASAP, just like at the BAFTAs and the Gold Derby Film Awards. Hey, combining these races would even make room on the live ceremony for a brand new category, like …

2. Add a category for casting directors.
It’s crazy to me that the Emmys reward three casting directors each season (drama, comedy and movie/mini), while the Oscars honor none. That’s ridiculous considering the Academy created a new branch for casting directors a year and a half ago, but still haven’t recognized these members with their own award. If the Academy worries that the title of Best Casting Director is too boring for audiences to accept, why not spice it up and call it Best Film Ensemble? Only, instead of the entire cast getting trophies like at the SAG Awards, this long-needed Oscar race would be to recognize the hard-working and under-appreciated casting directors.

3. Stop ignoring voice-over performers.
It’s crazy to me that the Emmys have two races strictly for voice-over performances, while the Oscars only recognize four performances total each year. Let’s face it, the viewing audience wants to see celebs up on that stage, so creating this category would be a step in the right direction. If this race had existed in the past, memorable performances like Robin Williams (“Aladdin”), Ed Asner (“Up”), Scarlett Johansson (“Her”) and Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Hobbit” franchise) could have cleaned up thanks to their impressive vocal chops.

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4. Announce the three shorts during the live pre-show.
The three Oscar shorts have been around forever, so eliminating them isn’t an option. But keeping them on the main telecast doesn’t make sense either, since 99% of the audience has no interest in finding out the winners of Best Live Action Short, Best Animated Short or Best Documentary Short. Why not compromise? Still hand out the trophies on Oscar night — during the live red carpet pre-show — instead of rewarding them on live TV in front of billions of people. The Grammys have no problem handing out trophies before the main ceremony, so why do the Oscars? Or maybe do with the Tonys do: dole them out during TV commercial breaks.

5. Be consistent, academy.
If only peer groups can choose nominees, why does everybody get to vote on the winners? If it’s unacceptable to have hair stylists deciding who’ll be nominated for Best Screenplay, why is it OK to let them choose who gets the gold? If there can be five to 10 nominees for Best Picture, why not director, screenplay and other races, too? What’s the logic of that? And speaking of illogical, look at what happened in those categories this year with Bennett Miller being nommed for Best Director but “Foxcatcher” getting snubbed for Best Picture. Huh?

Those are my 5 ways to fix the Oscars. What are yours? Sound off in the comments section below.

30 thoughts on “5 ways to fix the Oscars

  1. If they go with your fifth point (individual branches also choose winners) then I say keep the sound categories separate since then we will have actual sound professionals voting who know what they are talking about. Otherwise, yes: combine them. For the shorts, I would do them in the commercial breaks, that way the winners still get their Oscar moment up on the stage and the film buffs who care about those categories can watch the speeches online later. The biggest thing that needs to change, imo, is the best picture lineup. Enough with the 5 to 10 nominees crap. Its almost mathematically impossible to get 10 anyway. Make it a set number. We get 10 nominees and that is that.

  2. Very good, and I agree. It’s one thing for everyone to vote for Best Picture, why should they vote in the respective catagories? Be consistent!

  3. Some dumb suggestions here. We don’t need a voice over category. Do you really think there’s sufficient high quality competition year after year to warrant that? You listed 4 examples of stellar work covering 24 years.

    We need fewer categories not more. Casting director is equally needless.

    Agree about combining sound though. Give both the chief sound editor and the chief sound mixer an award which you can simply call Best Sound.

    What really needs fixing is the production of the ceremony itself (Zadan and Meron simply have to go) and we need some way of injecting some surprises as there hasn’t been one in an acting race for what seems like forever.

  4. I’ll chime in with a big fat NO on the Shorts. Sure, most of the viewing audience probably don’t care about the results of these awards but more often than not, the winners of these Short categories often give the Oscar telecast the best and more memorable acceptance speeches and reactions. “You know you’ve entered new territory when you realize your outfit cost more than your film” was a quip by Jessica Yu, still quoted and remembered to this day and guess what? She’s a Documentary Short winner. So a big fat NO on relegating the shorts pre-telecast or during commercials.

  5. Here’s how you fix the Oscars:

    Host – He/She should open the show, and then only be there sporadically throughout. Neil Patrick Harris was making a joke about every presenter, and that briefcase gag failed horribly. Also, the host also doesn’t need to be there after every commercial break/before it goes back to commercial. Neil was

    Musical Numbers – The Sound of Music was great because there was a huge surprise after it…Julie Andrews showed up! That being said, Jennifer Hudson should have sang while the montage was playing.

    Presenters – Except for Actors/Directing/Picture, Presenters should be presenting 2-3 awards EACH. Why didn’t you have Oprah and Eddie present the two screenplays together? Sound goes together…Documentary Feature / Short…Animated Feature / Short…Costume/Production…

    Shorts – DO NOT GET RID OF THEM on the live show. Many times those speeches are highlights of the night, but if they are announced earlier in the night, when the audience has more patience, then that’s fine.

  6. 1. A Best Voice-over/Motion Capture combined category might be a nice way to cover 2 under-recognized types of performances wile guaranteeing enough worthy nominees.
    2. BP back to the TRUE top 10 way is very much needed.
    3. Best Ensemble Would be nice, but viewers would only care if the Casting Director AND the Cast got awarded.
    4. Combining sound would be acceptable as long as the trophy is given to lead Editor and Mixer
    5. And why not award the short films at the Governor’s Ball when the Lifetime Achievement awards are handed out? The nominees could still schmooze with the celebrities and have their chance to make an acceptance speech. Bring the winners on stage like the “Best Guest Actors” Emmy winners to Present an Oscar together.

  7. Very thoughtful and inspiring ideas. My only nitpick would be that Benedict Cumberbatch in no way would deserve a voice-acting Oscar. Anyone could have voiced Smaug with that much distortion of the voice.

  8. I feel like the voice over category would be abused, or looked down on. Probably both. Genuine, professional voice actors would get ludicrously overlooked while major stars would see it as a “lesser award”. I say start encouraging voters to take these performances more seriously so they can get them in the main acting categories.

    I agree with the person above about moving the shorts to the governor’s ball. There they can have a better chance to make connections with some of the big wigs, given that the people they want to talk to probably have something else on their minds during the oscars.

    Ensemble is a great idea, casting is a real art. Most people feel that someone is right for a part because they played something similar in the past, it takes a real eye to see beyond that. But also, yeah, let them each speak during the main ceremony.

    I say just go back to ten best pictures. Let them whine all they want about how hard it is to pick ten. Let them list as few as five and up to ten then nominate the ten biggest vote getters. Who cares if one movie only got 200 votes, we wont know that! Diversity!

    Also, bring the honorary award back! those speeches were highlights.

    I agree with the sound categories, but yes, honour the mixer and editor.

    Also, find a way to make sure very nominee is within three seats of the aisle for god’s sake.

  9. Move the Oscars to Saturday night. I have been known for my Oscar party for years…and it has been getting smaller and smaller due to being on Sunday night. I think more would watch knowing they could sleep in the next day or didn’t have to go to work

  10. I know the scheduling is fixed with all the guilds and globes…etc….but how refreshing would it be to have the Oscars the first award night of the season. You could actually watch and all 5 actors and actresses would be in the running…too many categories are a forgone conclusion by the time the Oscars role around.

  11. Movies are cast by the director and the producers. Casting “directors” often never even meet the key actors that make a film. The title is misleading and should be changed to casting assistant to the director. Casting is an office job with no advanced degree or artistic field to present secondary actors suggested by agents and managers to the filmmakers. The academy should never have bowed to the pressure and given cd’s a branch, especially as many casting workers now make up to six figures charging actors for access to jobs under the guise of “workshops.” The Criminal Minds casting department and others have even extended this scam to other cities.

    Imagine winning an Oscar for casting Bradley Cooper in American Sniper when you never met Bradley Cooper, or even went to the set.

    Oscar commercial ad time is big money, which is why it won’t ever be much shorter, despite the lip service. Many boring categories like sound editing and mixing could be easily combined and moved to the pre-tape segment, but don’t hold your breath.

  12. My problem with having a voice-performance category is that it might become just another place to give sentimental awards to overdue actors over superior work. And do we really need more than 4 categories for acting when we have only one each for directing, cinematography and editing, which are more important to the success of films?
    I’m more strongly against a casting/ensemble prize because, like Scott Warner says below, we can’t know how much of the principal casting is actually decided by the credited casting directors. It’s an essential job, of course, but often more of a logistic rather than an artistic skill. Of course, if you awarded most of the ensemble cast of a movie instead of the casting director, you’d get a whole load of undeserving people winning an award, so if they had to do this, one statuette between the lot of them would be preferable.
    But the Oscars shouldn’t be remodelling themselves after the Emmys, who have so many categories that it makes the list of nominees look cluttered and almost meaningless.

  13. NO, NO, NO to eliminating the Shorts from the live show. They have the most interesting winners with the most intelligent and thoughtful speeches.
    I vote for getting rid of a full/time host – that will tighten the show. Aside his opening number, Neil Patrick Harris was basically wasted space the rest of the broadcast.

  14. A measure that HAS to be decided right now is moving the show back to March. Placing it in February just doesn’t give the appropriate time to Academy members to watch all the movies they have to decide for and this way results aren’t faithful enough. They just do what the guilds tell them to do.
    Agree with combining both sound awards in just one category. Most of the times both awards go to the same movie just because “it sounded or loud/cool/better”. That’s the only criteria; most of the members just have absolutely no idea of the difference between them.

  15. Your argument for some of these bad ideas is, “The Emmys do it” or ‘The Grammys do it.” So…you want the Oscars to change and be more like an award show that doesn’t have as big an audience and that doesn’t have nearly the prestige/cultural impact? Yeah, not thanks.

  16. ———-// 1. OSCARS BEFORE THE GUILDS >> It’s understood that the Oscars are seen as the “Super Bowl” of awards season, but imagine in nearly every touchdown and scoring play in the big game was pretty much known ahead of time. That’s what the Oscars feels like. Unfortunately this probably will never become a reality, but the excitement level would be much higher if the top awards weren’t already mostly in the bag. It would also make everyone’s office Oscar Pool much more exciting. To me, this is THE BIGGEST issue with the show. Make the winner more of a mystery and most of the other surface flaws of the show would seem trivial. ———-// 2. MOVE IT TO SATURDAY >> Again, never going to happen because TV rating would take a hit and this is something the show cannot afford, but I have to think more people would watch it until the end if they didn’t have to wake up for work early the next morning—especially folks on the east coast. This same gripe applies to the Super Bowl. Knowing you have to go straight to bed rather than let it soak in afterwards makes the culmination of these events sort of unfulfilling. ———-// 3. SHOW MORE CLIPS! >> As an artist/designer I really appreciate all of the amazing art that goes into the title cards and animations they show when they are announcing the nominees, but I think it would be more appropriate to show actual clips from the films that clearly exemplify WHY the nominees were nominated. It seems they did this more often several years ago, but now it’s pretty much just the acting categories that get true clips shown. ———-// 4. LET THE WINNERS TALK >> The show is long already. Don’t cut off speeches so early, especially the early winners in the “smaller” categories. They are often the ones who give the most personal and grateful speeches. If they are so concerned about the length of the show then cut some of the arbitrary gags and skits that they always sprinkle in. ———-// 5. CLONE 1990s-ERA BILLY CRYSTAL.

  17. I wholeheartedly second adding a category for voice-over performances! Its an absolute crime at how many have not received Oscar recognition over the years. Sarah Silverman in Wreck-it Ralph, Eddie Murphy in Shrek, Ellen DeGeneres in Finding Nemo, and who can forget Steve Carell as Gru in Despicable Me?!

    Great suggestion! 🙂

  18. Start the show at 7 pm eastern time. Lose the host. lose the songs. Let the winners speak. Lose all movie tributes that are not in the Best Picture category. Let the singer sing over the death montage instead of after.

  19. Just add Best Casting and Best Stunt Coordination, eliminated Best original song, songs are not as important as actors or directors for a movie.

  20. The stage is always the same every year, try to change it up a bit. The Intro/background music is sometimes similar too. Too many performances. This year it was kind of like the grammys… 2 awards and a performance. Only do performances for original song category. No tributes/in memoriam song. SHOW is way too long… lose the Shorts category, combine sound category, change up the scedule.. would it hurt to announce best actress first? or best director?…why all the boring categories up until 10:30..??

  21. Don’t combine the sound categories, add a Casting Director Oscar, ignore the idea about having a Voice-Over performance category (we would need to use asterisks), and leave the shorts categories alone (that’s not nice). Makeup and Hairstyling Oscar deserves 5 nominees like every other category. A big no to adding nominees in other categories.

  22. All due respect BUT THIS POST IS INSULTING. You should be ashamed of yourself!
    The short film categories reward filmmakers who are mostly young and don’t have the resources the studios behind the nominees in the big categories have and it’s great that the Academy recognizes them. The lack of respect for these filmmakers is insulting. THE PROBLEMS OF THE OSCARS AREN’T THE SHORT FILMS.

  23. The problem of the Oscars is all the unnecessary time wasted in irrelevant things: A song after the In Memoriam (when it could be in the background). A speech from the Academy President reminding us why movies are great. Technical and Scientific awards clip. Tributes to specific films (like, since these guys are the producers, they always honor musicals: Chicago, Sound of Music, Wizard of Oz). Just pick a theme each year, and pay tribute to that (Mafia films, heroes, villians, romance, action, biopics, the 70s, the 30s…) is not that difficult. And be consistent: If you’re gonna give time to perform the song nominees, do it for all of them, or for none at all. I was so pissed when James Bond got to songs in one ceremony, and Pi’s Lullaby didn’t get a chance to be sung, which I think had the potential for a beautiful performance.

  24. No way! Don’t touch the Short categories! Shorts are IMPORTANT. Also no to the combine sound thing; nonsense. Actually, these aren’t ways to fix the Oscars at all. If something add the off-screen performance category, but that doesn’t “fix” anything.

  25. 1) If the Academy wants to know the difference between sound mixing and sound editing, all they need to do is ask. Or it should be explained to them. Simple as that. I know the difference because someone told me. And now I know. Done.

    2) Why? Personally, I need the mechanics of casting to be explained to me so as to justify why casting directors need their own Oscar category. And I’m sure people at home will too — especially if they don’t understand the sound awards.

    3) Nah. Why not just recognize the major voiceover players with the nomination for Best Animated Feature?

    4) Absolutely NOT. Why would you want to move the shorts awards to a live pre-show, but include a NEW category for Casting in the main telecast?

    5) Between Adapted and Original, you have ten nominees to go with the (up to) ten Best Picture nominees so it would make some sense that 10 directors be nominated as well. And I agree with you on the entire body voting for the awards — especially if they don’t even know the difference between sound mixing and sound editing. The only award everyone should vote on is Best Picture. Other than that, it should be the individual branches voting on the nominees and winners — unless members of the general body actually know enough about makeup and hairstyling, for example, in order to vote on it.

    This is a rather incendiary post.

  26. To be honest, I don’t think they need to have a casting director award in the Emmy’s and not here either. I’d argue that the casting director does way less than a sound editor/mixer, especially when many big films these days are written with specific actors in mind. I’d argue that having a Best Stunt Ensemble is actually a more relevant category as it would bring some of the bigger action and blockbuster films to lights and reward some truly difficult (and life threatening) work. And I fundamentally disagree with having the Shorts off-screen. I think it’s a great way to recognize emerging talent and help them get recognized as they build their careers.

  27. I really like the idea of having a voice over performance. It reminds me of the ’92 Golden Globes when Robin Williams won a special award for ‘Aladdin’. Also it would honor people like Ellen DeGeneres for ‘Finding Nemo’ and Scarlett Johansson for ‘Her’. If anything, maybe it could be a non-active category that gets activated if the Board of Governors sees fit. I also really like the idea of a Casting award. It would be similar to the Best Ensemble Performance at the SAGs without handing out 10 statues for one win.

  28. The two ways to REALLY fix the academy awards.

    First, have as many members from Asia, Europe and elsewhere as there are members from the US and the UK so that the awards become TRULY representative of the best films from around the globe, not just those from the Hollywood machine.

    Second, create a critics branch of the academy to rival the actors branch so that there will be at least a few people in there fighting for what is truly the best and most relevant film making achievements.

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