Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A radical proposal: what if the Oscars removed nominations?

The Oscars are this Sunday, and although we're as excited as every year, there's a certain level of predictability in every ceremony. A few months ago, the current Oscar race was considered one of the most competitive of all time, but the past weeks of tertiary award shows have made it clear who will win most of the awards. Best Picture and Best Director are down between Birdman and Boyhood. Julianne Moore and Patricia Arquette will win the actress categories. Even the Best Actor category, a field of overwhelming talent, is now just between Michael Keaton and Eddie Redmayne.

So how do you bring back the surprise? Vulture writer Adam Sternbergh has an interesting idea: never reveal the nominees.

Sternbergh points out that the Oscar nomination announcements are often more exciting and talked-about than the winners themselves. Consider all the ink spilled about Selma's nomination snubs this year; there will certainly be less attention if the film doesn't win Best Picture or Best Song. It would probably never fly for a number of reasons (practicality chief among them), but Sternbergh's proposal would involve revealing the nominees at the event itself, bringing some drama and immediacy back to the ceremony.

The Oscars's problems are well-documented and possibly over-discussed, but much of that criticism focuses on the structure of the Academy and its voting process. We give Sternbergh points for thinking outside the box in an attempt to repair the ceremony.

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