Create a new academy award category

Serious suggestion: I think they should give a Best Ensemble Cast Award. [is there a best casting award?]

Not so serious suggestion: Best Portrayal of a Physically or Mentally Handicapped Person, by a non-handicapped Actor.
These roles really should get their own category. (And Leo DiCaprio could be grandfathered in for the first one for his portrayal of the retarded brother in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.)

Any other ideas?

I quite seriously think there should be a couple more categories for recognising newcomers. Best debuts, be it acting or directing etc. I think it’d do the industry good. It’s so stale, you see all the same big names getting bigger.

How about “Best Performance by an Animated Character” and it would go to both the animators and the voice talent. There was some discussion about Andy Serkis and whether he deserved a nomination for portraying Gollum in TTT. As you may know, he not only voiced Gollum but also acted out every scene in a motion capture suit that the CGI team then used to paint Gollum’s actions into the film (right down to using Serkis’ facial expressions). From what others said, I understand that currently a person could be nominated for an acting Oscar if they supply the voice for an animated character, but it hasn’t happened yet and probably never will. So I think this should be a new category.

I agree with ** Tangent ** - an award for best animated character, or best voice acting is needed.

Not at the Oscars, no, although I believe some other awards have them (I might be thinking of BAFTA here).

And I agree with this suggestion. Not just because Lord of the Rings would be a shoo-in… :wink:

SAG gives an ensemble cast award.

I think it’s a good idea, but problematic. Where do you draw the line about who gets an actual statue? Every single actor in the movie can’t be recognized, because you give a little gold dude to “Tall Man at Car Wash.” So you have to establish a cutoff somewhere.

But there’s no objective criterion that won’t make somebody unhappy. Everybody with at least thirty spoken lines of dialogue? That might exclude Beatrice Straight as William Holden’s wife in Network, who doesn’t have a lot of separate lines but who won an Academy Award basically for one long and heart-wrenching monologue. (“I hurt! Don’t you understand that? I hurt badly!”)

Okay, what about everybody who appears on at least ten pages of the script? Wouldn’t that include manservants who don’t actually say anything?

Okay, what about everybody who’s classified into specific contractual categories according to union rules? These categories exist already, and might be used. The problem is, it would introduce a new complication in casting, as people would be more or less willing to take certain roles, and parts might have to be rewritten to enlarge or shrink them, according to how producers are trying to structure the cast, rather than what makes the movie work best. And further, many independent films are shot non-union, and don’t use these rules.

Now, like I said, SAG already has this award, and you can read their rulebook in PDF format here. Their solution is in Section Five, paragraph 13: “Motion Picture casts shall be represented by those actors billed on separate cards in the main titles, wherever those titles appear.” In other words, if your name appears up front, before the “Cast” list in the credits crawl, you get an award; the wording is ambiguous about whether “separate card” means your name has to appear by itself, so somebody on a list of three names in the titles would be ineligible, or if any name on any card in the titles counts. It starts to get tricky, I’m sure, for something like Altman’s Short Cuts, where the cast names don’t appear on cards at all but fly in and out in a unique graphical form. In any case, it’s a rule, and can be followed.

However, since the SAG awards are not as prestigious as the Oscar, I guarantee you that nobody would be willing to simply adopt the SAG standard. There’s too much money at stake; award campaigns are built around certain formulas that predict how much certain nominations and wins will be worth at the box office. I think it’s an intriguing idea, but probably would not work in reality.

Now, as far as my own suggestion for an award, I’d like to see the Academy acknowledge the way Hollywood actually works and bestow an Oscar for Best Marketing. Every year there are turds whose marketing people are able to polish to a genuine sparkle in the advertising; the best recent example is Underworld, which looked great (or at least fun) in the commercials but which was just awful as an actual movie. Hollywood movies live and die by the box office, and a shitty movie with a great campaign is usually more profitable than a great movie with a shitty campaign.

I know this probably sounds contradictory coming from me, the cineaste who tends to disparage big brainless movies and champions the smaller quality works as an alternative, but I don’t see it that way. My perspective is that the Academy Awards keep pretending they’re about acknowledging quality, which I think is a crock of shit. Phil Collins wouldn’t have an Oscar if that were actually true. It’s a much more complicated game than that, and I think an award for marketing would be a step toward acknowledging where the true mercenary heart of the ceremony lies. And besides, there’s still room for a campaign for Lost in Translation, which managed to get a lot more people than usual into the art houses, or, as an even better example, The Blair Witch Project, whose marketing turned a nascent cult experience into a true phenomenon.

The practical problem with an Oscar for Best Ensemble is that within a few years every single actor of note will end up with an Oscar. This will drastically reduce their prestige (and, to be more mercenary about it, their marketing value.)

A more logical way to do it would be to have a Best Casting award, given to the casting director. Though if it’s given to a “mere” casting director, it would end up being a less prestigious award.

Best animated/effects performance makes sense, but of course it would have to be given to both the voice actor and the animators. There was, after all, much more to the Genie in Aladdin than Robin Williams’s voice. Just at the moment there aren’t enough outstanding animated performances to justify making this an annual award, though.

Probably the biggest need at the moment is for a Best Adapted Score category. Recently the Academy changed the rules so that scores that adapt or reuse music are not eligible for Best Original Score. This was to prevent scores from series like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, or Lord of the Rings from double dipping by using the same basic musical themes.

But the rule change has far more drastic consequences than merely making series movies ineligible. It means that if a composer chooses to score a movie about the life of Beethoven using Beethoven’s themes, then his score would be ineligible. It also would have made Max Steiner’s score for Casablanca – widely considered one of the most influential scores in film history – ineligible, since the score is based on variations on pre-existing songs such “As Time Goes By.”

So there’s a real need for a new category here, just as they have with Best Original and Best Adapted Screenplay.

I’m of two minds on this one, but I wish there was some way to break out “best actor/tress in a dramatic role” and “best actor/tress in a comedic role.”

The downside is that it would take some of the glory away from “best actor.” If you split it in two, who is really THE BEST of the year?

The upside is that it would give more recognition for some of the wonderful work done in comedies. Although there are exceptions, the deck is usually stacked for the dramatic roles.

I think the Oscars ahould split up the best movie and have a

Best Comedy Movie and Best Drama Movie.

Best Science Fction Movie.

'Cause that’s the only way a sci-fi movie is ever going to get a dramatic Oscar.

They have enough categories already. The only thing that needed to be added was best animated movie and they took care of that.

Best debut actor or director would give Oscars to too many one hit wonders. Look at all the crappy musicians with Best New Artist Grammy awards (remember Milli Vanilli?).