Every couple of weeks, the OFCS polls its members with a question related to movies. It can be serious or amusing, but each member is given the opportunity to submit a short response to the question, which we will then post on Thursday mornings. Here is this week’s query.
Essay Question #7: If you could introduce any new category to the Oscars, what would it be?
Pat Mullen @ Cinemablographer
Robert Cashill @ popdose
Best Biopic Performance. Frankly, after Daniel Day-Lewis’ landmark performance in My Left Foot, no one should be nominated for biopics or disability roles; he broke the mold. But still they come, crowding out the winner’s circle for fictional characterizations. Give them their own category, I say!
Carlos del Río @ El rincón de Carlos del Río
I’ve always thought there’s a missing category at the Oscars, which is Best Title Design. They tried to introduce it in 1999, but it was turned down. In many cases, for me, it makes much more sense than Best Original Song, which normally appears in the closing credits (unless we’re talking about musicals; in those it does make sense), whereas a good title design will resume the film, or at least give some clues of what the movie is about, its tone or highlights.
The marvelous Saul Bass should’ve won several awards for his work with Hitchcock, Preminger, and at the end of his career, with Scorsese (in addition to “West Side Story” and “Around the World in 80 Days”); and the Bond movies would’ve a bunch of Oscars right now. And more recently, “Catch Me If You Can”, “Seven”, or “Juno” would’ve been good contenders.
John Gilpatrick @ JohnLikesMovies.com
When it comes to music in movies, all the Academy has is Best Original Song. There’s an art in choosing the right music for scenes in movies, and I don’t see why there shouldn’t be a Best Soundtrack or something similar at the Oscars. Would have been a great place to recognize something like Inside Llewyn Davis last year, and even Guardians of the Galaxy this year.
Jeremy Kibler @ The Artful Critic
I know The Independent Spirit Awards give this particular award out, but I really do think the Academy should award Best Debut Film. Every year, there are so many terrific feature debuts from auspicious filmmakers. Though it was four years ago, 2011 was jam-packed with them: Joe Cornish’s “Attack the Block,” J.C. Chandor’s “Margin Call,” Evan Glodell’s “Bellflower,” and Sean Durkin’s “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” and Dee Rees’ “Pariah.” At least Benh Zeitlin’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild” received a few nods in 2012, including a nom for Best Picture, so that’s a start. Awards are always handed to those with experience, as they should be, but once in a while, it’d be nice to shine the light on fresh, talented voices.
Kristen Lopez @ Awards Circuit
I’ve long maintained that we need a stuntperson category. Sure, the advent of CGI makes it less relevant now than it would have been 15 years ago – and Hollywood loves to make us believe stunt people aren’t required – but they still risk their lives and should be honored. I’m also for hybrid performances, such as motion-capture and voice performances, being considered for awards (in their own category, of course).
Nell Minow @ The Movie Mom
There should be an ensemble award for the entire cast of a film and the Oscar should be presented to the casting director. These unsung heroes and heroines play a vital role in not just the individual ability of the actors but the chemistry that makes — or fails to make — the entire world of the film come alive for us. It is casting directors who bring to the attention of the director performers whose names are not in Variety and People (yet), and whose attention to every character, not just the above-the-line, seven-figure stars, is a critical part of the success of the film.
Pat Mullen @ Cinemablographer
I think the Oscars should take a cue from the Canadian Screen Awards and offer a prize for Best First Feature. Even if it’s a non-competitive award, like the Screenies’ Claude Jutra Award, a prize that recognizes an emerging talent provides the support and exposure that award shows are all about. (This year’s CSA winner is Jeffrey St. Jules for Bang Bang Baby.) An award such as Best First Feature highlights innovative work by newbies who might simply not have the same reach or resources to compete in other categories, but are every bit as deserving for ushering in new ideas and approaches to film form.
Honouring new voices, moreover, offers one way for the Academy to make some progress on its perceived shyness towards celebrating traditionally underrepresented filmmakers. Usher in a new talent in the beginning of his or her career and help put him or her on the radar of Oscar voters. Just imagine what kind of life Selma might have had if more Oscar voters were familiar with Ava DuVernay’s early work. 2014 proves that there’s a wealth of strong films by fresh voices that deserve a chance in a spotlight: just imagine a category filled with the likes of Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), Justin Simien (Dear White People), Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler), Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night), Ned Benson (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby) and Charlie Siskel and John Maloof (Finding Vivian Maier), just to name a few. Nurturing new talent is the best step for improving and strengthening both the Oscars and the industry.
Frank Ochieng @ Sound on Sight
Seeing as though the knock on contemporary Hollywood has been the continued practice of age discrimination in today’s films where older folks over 40 years of age suffer through the lack of decent presentation in worthwhile roles and/or parts I would recommend a new Oscar category for them: Best Matured or Veteran Actor/Actress in a Motion Picture.
This new category could be reserved for actors and actresses in leading and supporting roles that are at least 50 years old and older. These does not have to be any consideration on how long they have been in the movie business. They could be newcomers or longevity vets that have been around for ages in cinema. For instance, Oscar-winner Christopher Plummer could have been eligible for both his regular Academy Award as Best Actor and also the Best Matured or Veteran Actor in a Motion Picture (whether lead or supporting).
Paulo Peralta @ CinEuphoria
Best Ensemble in a Motion Picture.. it would be interesting to watch if the Best Motion Picture and this new category would be different on Oscar night.
João Pinto @ Portal Cinema
I would introduce the Best Breakthrough Performance By an Actor or an Actress. This category would be very important to recognize the best first time performance of an actor or actress and motivate the winner and the nominees to maintain a steady climb within the Hollywood ranks. The category of Best First Film would also be a good idea, especially to help the nominated directors to get new projects or facilitate their project financing. Both of the categories would be a good way to help the new artists to achieve a healthy progression in the film industry.
Jerry Roberts @ Armchair Cinema
There should really be a category for the Best Debut. This is something that The Independent Spirit Awards every year and it rewards new talent that should be given more attention. I think if you have an actor’s award, it should be limited to feature films. Same with a new director. That might have given attention to exciting new directors like Benh Zeitlin and Ava DuVernay.
Robert Roten @ Laramie Movie Scope
Best film about show business. That’s so the “Best Picture” category can be reserved for the actual best films.