Will Smith is not the only Oscar mess the academy needs to clean up

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences handed down its verdict on Will Smith last Friday, giving a conclusion and a hint in an attempt to end the chaos that dominated the 94th Academy Awards on March 27.

But make no mistake, the AMPAS board of governors still has a lot of work to do and a lot more mess to clean up.

The 54-member board of governors will first deal with Smith’s fate at a board meeting scheduled for April 18, after which the board will review the final Oscars at its annual general meeting after the Oscars to decide on fate changes for the coming year. But because the Academy did not act quickly enough on The Slap, it moved the crowd to April 8 and rejected everything on the agenda.

All of these, the academy says, will be resolved later. Meanwhile, the original April 18 meeting was canceled.

But if Smith had done nothing but sit quietly in his seat throughout the show, past Oscars would still have raised issues that need to be resolved by the academy leadership. Before abbreviating the confusing show to “Will Smith and Best Rated Show”, here are some questions the team needs to address.

1. Should the academy’s CEO Dan Hudson and President David Rubin be held accountable?
Oscar show producer Will Packer may have told Smith that Chris Rock wanted to stay, but it was not Packer or Rock’s call (anyway, Rock’s camp says he did not say anything other than he did not file a police report). Hudson and Rubin were in the Dolby Theater, and Smith may have acted more decisively than they did when they raised the issue of leaving the actor’s promoter rather than going directly with the star. Controversial stories that surfaced in the days following the incident and was the subject of a video meeting with Rubin and Hudson Smith the day before the initial governors board meeting.

The academy’s final statement acknowledged responsibility for the failure to act quickly or decisively, but said the organization was “not ready for anything unprecedented” and sought to soften that responsibility. (You could say the same thing about them when the academy’s accountants messed up the envelope for the best film five years ago. Accountability can be a strong decision.

The tricky thing is that the one-year term of the academy leaders expires in August, so Rubin has only a few more months to go. In addition, the time limit will remove Rubin from the board of governors this summer (which is a record for 10 other incumbent governors who have fallen victim to tightened time limits.) He will step down soon and will not run for re-election. .

According to Hudson, after his contract expired in May 2023, he announced that he was not looking for another term, but that leaves a full year running through the storm and split period for the Oscars.

2. Will the test of awarding the Oscars in eight categories be repeated before the live broadcast?
When Hollywood guilds, filmmakers and Oscar audiences slandered the project before the show, the academy and producer Will Baker responded that we should all wait to see how seamless and respectable these reserved awards will be.

But on Oscar night, it became clear that the test had failed. As everyone feared, it clearly created a second-class genre – and although the academy sometimes said that speeches would not be edited, they often felt confused and disrespectful. (If you’ve going to edit a punchline of one of the winner’s jokes and edit his speech, it’s not a good idea to do it for the winner of the best film, unless you want him to call you your substandard. )

And on a basic level, it simply did not work. The whole idea of ​​this action is to organize the show so that it comes in a clean three hours. In contrast, the broadcast ran 20 minutes longer and 40 minutes longer than last year.

3. When we are on the topic of length: Should the academy chase down the idea of ​​a three-hour broadcast or is it a silly dream?
If you present all the awards, the extra content – monologues, skits, songs, movie clips – at a minimum, can run the Oscars in three hours. If you want comedy and music and clips you can’t do it in three hours. The late Gill Gates, who produced the show 14 times, 11 of whom have attracted more than 40 million viewers, once lamented to me about the fact that the Oscar makers are always forcing the show to be short and entertaining – “but the things that make it even more entertaining are the things that make it even longer.

ABC seems to be gaining more and more influence over the show, which pays more than 90% of its annual operating income to the academy, which has had the greatest influence on the network – running on contract for at least the remaining six years. 2028, which is usually renewed long before its expiration date comes too close. Whether the Academy Board Network is transforming their show into a village (a few awards aired, others at a different event), one of the unique features of the Oscars, is that it’s a big show. No. Do its version?

A related question to consider further: If this is so important for ABC and the academy, they say the show ends before midnight on the East Coast, after which ratings will drop, how do you turn that awkward preseason from 90 minutes to 60? Start the big show at 8:30 instead of minutes and 9:00 ET?

4. Should the board ban Twitter polls?
You may recall that another great discovery, polls conducted on Twitter, asked fans to choose their favorite movie of 2021 and their favorite “cheer moment” from any movie ever. If moving the eight types fails, it is a complete disaster. Perhaps imagined as a way to absorb this year’s real blockbuster “Spider-Man: No Way Home”, this online contest turned into a battle between Camila Cabello fans (“Cinderella”) and tech-savvy villains. They felt that injustice had been done: Jack Snyder (“Justice League” and “Army of the Dead”) and Johnny Depp (for the almost completely missing “Minamata”, which somehow made it to the top 5 in 2021). In the end, Snyder Stones went both ways and the academy was utter nonsense.

Governors do not need to weigh the board and publicly say “never do it again,” but perhaps they can express their opinion privately.

5. Wouldn’t the Academy Awards show more respect for films designed to honor it?
Individual branches have in the past complained of humorous Oscar-show bits insulting the nominees: the Sound branch, for example, contemptuously defends its nominees. But in rejecting nominated films and directing non-existent films (although the attempt to suck up to “Spider-Man” through Twitter polls turned out to be a disaster, no Oscar went to this year. Jack Snyder was abducted by Stance).

Is it time to send the board a message about the rejection comments that Wanda Sykes said she had seen the movie “The Power of the Dog” three times and was “half done”? Since it was the third short film among the 10 best films nominated, it was about being a slow and hard film without being a long film); Or as the three Disney princesses had to endure the animated-feature genre as a province for children as a whole, over and over again (news, no doubt, the animated documentary “Flee” about a gay Afghan refugee); Or Chris Rock – the winner of “Summer of Soul” was announced as “Questlow and four whites”, he slapped in the face. White).

I’m not saying nominated films should be limited to comedy – but if the Oscars are not proud of the candidates chosen by the voters, why should they expect the audience to be interested in it?

6. Will the academy take a stand on theater and streaming?
Will Smith may have turned the Oscars into a must-watch television (or, at the very least, talk about television), but there is no doubt that there were some issues with the show’s ratings as the Academy Awards were not presented. It seems like an event as they were before. One big reason for that is that watching movies is not an event – especially during epidemics, the theater show was a huge success and studios rushed to put everything on streaming services.

The academy, which was initially pushed back (or at least about pushed back) when streamers invaded the film business, relaxed its eligibility rules during epidemics in 2020, when theater distribution was all but stopped. The team tightened them in 2021, but only slightly. It’s time to decide whether to tighten our grip on theaters and try to turn movie watching (by extending the Oscars) back into a bigger deal, or to surrender to the blurry lines that dominate today’s entertainment landscape.

However, whenever they encounter anything other than Will Smith, there is a lot of confusion to see the board of governors.

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