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Category Fraud- The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and The Controversy

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  • Joe Burns
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    #1201978642

    Category fraud has been an issue with the Academy for a long time, either it being actors being put in lead for supporting performances due to name recognition(I’m looking at you Ann Bancroft in The Turning Point) or actors that are definitely leads, but are put in supporting due to the studio knowing that the lead race is too competitive(Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls,Jennifer Connely in A Beautiful Mind, Marcia Gay Harden in Pollock, Eva Marie Saint in On The Waterfront, ect) or/and wanting to have double acting nominations (Recent examples include Carol, August Osage County, The Help, Notes On A Scandal, The Hours, ect). A good amount of the performances that are accused of committing CF are debatable for a variety of factors, mostly in relation to screen time and the importance/impact that the character has on the film. However, a lot of anger has been raging in the Oscar follower’s world that there is no authority that the Academy has to rule on this- the studio campaigns the person wherever they want to and most of the time the Actor’s Branch complies. Personally, I feel that a board that would review the campaign’s selection of category placement for it’s actors would be a good way to stop outrageous examples of category fraud, such as Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit and Rooney Mara in Carol from being campaigned for leading if there is a consensus that the person is clearly a lead or clearly supporting. However, in tricky cases where the board differs significantly on the placement, they should rule that the person can be put in either category by the Actor’s Branch, which then would decide where the actor will be nominated in with no emphasis on one or the other. It would be marketed to the voters as a clear cut choice, rather then as “this is how the studio wants it, take it or leave it”. This would apply to SAG as well any other awards body that forces the person to vote in the category that the studio wants the actor in.

    What do you all feel about this? Do you support the idea of monitoring this issue? Do you feel any positive things come out of category fraud? For me, it does give a chance to recognize more performances that would have failed to get into leading if supporting wasn’t an option.

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    Maxwell
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    #1201978649

    Well, as far as good things go… it allowed Charlotte Rampling to get nominated!

    Seriously though, there needs to be some sort of board or committee that can make definitive rulings. The Tonys do it, can’t remember if the Emmys do it or not. Granted, the problem here is that there’s a lot more eligible work at the Oscars than at the Tonys.

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    Eddy Q
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    #1201978916

    Unfortunately I don’t think preventing category fraud is on the Academy’s agenda at all, especially when they’re so focused on diversity at the moment. Not to mention there are still problems with having board members decide on category placement. The board may be full of idiots who’d make their decisions based on percentage of screen time rather than any understanding of a film’s narrative. Let’s say they determined that all performances lasting under 50% of their film’s duration were supporting. It would be a disaster; there are many films with two or three lead roles where each performance would clock in at around 40%, and yet they should not all be considered supporting. Even if they had a system where voters were allowed to decide for themselves in more debatable cases, who’s to say which cases are “debatable” and which are not? The only way the Academy (or other groups for that matter) could make any real progress on this issue would be if all members were sent a memo detailing how much of a fuck-up category fraud has been especially in the last 15 years, and practically begging them not to fall for the nonsense on the FYC ads any more. Unfortunately that amount of honesty is considered “unprofessional” and “inappropriate”, two adjectives which have been immeasurably effective in preventing shit from getting done in all circles of life.

    • This reply was modified 10 months, 3 weeks ago by  Eddy Q.
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    Sasha
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    #1201978926

    Nomination process is much different than what’s going on after it so I can bet that Rampling was very probably in third (or maybe even second) spot thanks to passion votes. Passion votes are the ones that actually count during that process. It was very probably Lawrence and Blanchett that were fighting for the last spots.

    As for category fraud everyone here knows my position on it. I fucking hate it but I already give up on it because voters are fucking sheep who can’t think for themselves. Whatever you put on FYC ads they’re gonna follow it. But this year we’re gonna have only one truly disgusting category fraud and one borderline: Hugh Grant and Jeff Bridges. I can live with Bridges but Grant in no way was supporting. It was actually his story.

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    Bee
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    #1201978929

    The funny thing is that Best Actor isn’t really that strong this year. If they really wanted to, they could give Grant that last slot which would be Affleck, Garfield, Grant, Gosling, and Washington. But the studio is too scared he would get snubbed there so it’s easier to put him in supporting. I’m pretty sure BAFTA will put him lead rightfully.

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    Eddy Q
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    #1201978944

    The funny thing is that Best Actor isn’t really that strong this year. If they really wanted to, they could give Grant that last slot which would be Affleck, Garfield, Grant, Gosling, and Washington. But the studio is too scared he would get snubbed there so it’s easier to put him in supporting. I’m pretty sure BAFTA will put him lead rightfully.

    5 years ago Grant probably would have been lead at BAFTA because of the longlists, but since they’ve eradicated that system most category placements have been the same as at the Oscars, except for Steve Carell in Foxcatcher who was actually supporting at BAFTA.

    Edit: Oh yes and Alicia Vikander. Forgot about her. Like Grant, she got a lead Globe nom, so perhaps Grant could get into lead after all.

    • This reply was modified 10 months, 3 weeks ago by  Eddy Q.
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    Joe Burns
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    #1201979190

    Nomination process is much different than what’s going on after it so I can bet that Rampling was very probably in third (or maybe even second) spot thanks to passion votes. Passion votes are the ones that actually count during that process. It was very probably Lawrence and Blanchett that were fighting for the last spots.

    As for category fraud everyone here knows my position on it. I fucking hate it but I already give up on it because voters are fucking sheep who can’t think for themselves. Whatever you put on FYC ads they’re gonna follow it. But this year we’re gonna have only one truly disgusting category fraud and one borderline: Hugh Grant and Jeff Bridges. I can live with Bridges but Grant in no way was supporting. It was actually his story.

    I know what you mean about passion votes and the difference of the scenario , but it’s hard for me to see Blanchett, who’s an Academy fave, be struggling for that last spot. I’d say the order was:

    1. Larson
    2. Ronan
    3. Blanchett
    4. Rampling
    5. Lawrence

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    Maxwell
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    #1201979233

    Yeah, I agree with Joe Burns re Rampling. Don’t think she’d have gotten in were Mara and Vikander in the proper category.

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    M
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    #1201979234

    Category fraud benefits actors and the studios. It only bothers some award watchers with online platforms.

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    Philip
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    #1201979240

    Unfortunately it’s the name of the game, but people seem to get more upset when a lead drops down and not the other way around.

    I love Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs, but he isn’t lead.

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    jasonface
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    #1201979244

    I’m sure it can also be frustrating for the nominees who are truly supporting and deserving of a win when a lead unjustly triumphs in their category. Also annoying for those who are aren’t even nominated because of one or more leads push them out of the final five or any awards consideration altogether.

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    jasonface
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    #1201979246

    Unfortunately it’s the name of the game, but people seem to get more upset when a lead drops down and not the other way around.

    I love Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs, but he isn’t lead.

    Ooh, yeah I personally hate that also and totally agree.

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    Joe Burns
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    #1201979255

    I personally disagree- Without Hopkins, there are none of the developments in the story that propel the action. Based on screen time, no, he doesn’t fill the whole film like Foster does, but without him you have no movie.

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    Philip
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    #1201979256

    That doesn’t make him lead. You can’t take a lot of supporting actors or actress out of movies and it work still.

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    jasonface
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    #1201979263

    Yeah, I get the whole made an impact on the whole film argument and I’ve said this before and I know some disagree but an award for acting should be just for the acting we see which is screen time. Like okay a few things happen because of Hannibal Lecter’s information to Clarice or we feel his presence the entire film but that doesn’t really mean Hopkins is doing the work of a lead. Sure he was strong in his few scenes, but if we’re not actually seeing him act, then what are we judging? How he helped move the story forward? That’s not Hopkins doing any extra acting.

    And without a lot of supporting actors, there wouldn’t be a movie. Mark Rylance, Benicio del Toro, Idris Elba, J.K. Simmons, Barkhad Abdi, Christopher Plummer, Christoph Waltz, Heath Ledger, Javier Bardem. Doesn’t mean they’re leads. I don’t know, but I get your point. I just really think it should go by screen time. That’s why there are lead and supporting categories in the first place.

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