TOAbout a month before this year’s Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hands out the awards, announced that in two years they would look slightly different. For the first time in nearly a quarter-century, the Academy Awards will add an entirely new category, in the form of the award for best casting performance. (The most recent previous addition was best animated feature, first awarded for films released in 2001. More recently, sound editing and mixing were lumped into a single category.) To casual Oscar viewers, this might seem counterintuitive: the ceremony is already so long, and the Academy has already experimented with giving some awards off the air; Why would you add a category 24?
But consider this: The Oscars actually have far fewer categories than the Grammys or the Emmys, which are around 100. And the movies are the best! So there’s plenty of room to add more Oscars. In fact, if the Academy is in a good mood and doesn’t want to wait another two decades and change before adding its 25th competitive category, here are five suggestions for other areas they could delve into:
Best stunt coordination
The Academy and several Oscar watchers have repeatedly toyed with the idea of some kind of award to honor the kind of big popular hits that don’t always resonate with Academy voters. Given that such major films as Barbie, Avatar, Inception and Star Wars have all earned best picture nominations (and the top 10 best picture nominees tend to ensure the presence of at least one big hit), this sounds like a trophy for useless participation. However, there is one potential category that would inevitably honor some high-value shows (probably the most sought after, anecdotally speaking) and that is best stunt coordination. The lack of respect for the craft of stunt people, which is typically, but not always, used in the service of action-adventure movies, has been such a long-standing grievance of the industry that the entertainment site Vulture now hands out its own awards to the specialists, going further. about the most impressive and complicated action movies of the year. Chances are, the Oscars version, like many categories, will skim the surface in search of the flashiest entries. But still! Watch John Wick: Chapter 4 or Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, and try to claim that there isn’t a huge amount of genuine craftsmanship in them! And how fun would the show be if there was another way to honor films like John Wick without creating a weird second-tier best movie?
Related to, but not necessarily in, the area of stunt coordination, choreography could cover fights, dances, dance fights, comedic antics…really, almost anything that requires someone on set to work on the movements of the bodies, the accessories and the cameras that capture them. While stunt coordination would be difficult to achieve without several major action sequences, the best choreography could find films like the musical version of Mean Girls taking on Jason Statham’s fight scenes from The Beekeeper. Look, it’s only been six weeks of the year and we already have candidates!
Best Casting will honor the casting director who helps bring together the right group of performers into a particularly impressive ensemble. (It’s not entirely clear what will be included in the concept of “casting,” given how many of a given film’s biggest stars come in thanks to reputation, a prior working relationship with the director, or any number of factors outside of the casting process. traditional. ) However, a best ensemble award would honor the cast itself, following the lead of the Screen Actors Guild, which (somewhat absurdly) treats this category as its best film. This year, films with particularly deep benches like Oppenheimer, Killers of the Flower Moon, Barbie, Asteroid City and May-December would be excellent choices here, offering a particular opportunity to honor sprawling casts where no more than a handful of actors will ever appear. . classify it into the four current categories.
Best Featured Performance
Speaking of acting categories: Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress are quietly two of the strangest Oscars, simply because the realities of the campaign dictate that a film must have two or fewer leads, rarely of the same gender, and everyone else relegated to “support.” ”. This means that a “supporting” actor can be a full co-star, like Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood or Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl; or a scene-stealer with five or ten minutes of screen time, like Judi Dench in Shakespeare in Love. Currently, it seems more likely that the prize will go to the former, naturally, given that a main character will have more time to develop a multifaceted character. But whether it’s a co-star or a cameo, is it really a fair fight? A featured performance category could have specific metrics attached to it: essentially, the best performance that takes up less than 10% of total screen time. One-scene wonders like Viola Davis in Doubt (an Oscar-nominated performance) or Tilda Swinton in The Killer (not at all) would have their own spotlight, while leaving some necessary flexibility in existing categories. This could also be a gender-neutral category, allowing the Academy to dip its toe into less sexist awards shows without making an immediately jarring change that would scare away the bluenettes.
Better practical effects
In an ideal world, the best practical effects would compete side-by-side with cutting-edge digital work, giving the visual effects category (which once had to muster just three nominees and now routinely reaches five without a hitch) the kind of breadth and depth that this art form deserves. Unfortunately, it seems increasingly unlikely that such coexistence will occur on its own. This year, practical effects aficionado Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer didn’t even make the category’s long list, much less among the five finalists. Maybe it’s time to split the category into two three-entry fields, to balance this original screenplay and adapted screenplay style craft. While this would increase competition in a digital effects category – and probably create some conflict over what to enter and where, given how often even highly practical films tend to use both – it could be a necessary corrective. When Ex Machina and First Man triumphed in this category, it seemed like the tide was turning toward smaller-scale efforts. Since then, the prevailing attitude seems to be that more is better. Wouldn’t it be cool to see some mid-to-low budget horror flick with a taste for practical gore here? Well, anyway, a movie nerd can dream.