Richard Roeper Blog

Academy approves yet another irrelevant change to Oscars

Well they’ve done it again.

In what appears to be a lifetime commitment to making irrelevant and ever-exasperating changes to the Oscars, the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Tuesday that it has added a “new twist to the 2011 Best Picture competition, and a new element of surprise to its annual nominations announcement.”

Maybe they’re adding a fan-vote element? A rose ceremony? A physical competition in case of tie-breaker?

Not quite. Are you ready for the big new twist?

“The Board voted to institute a system that will now produce anywhere between 5 and 10 nominations in the category,” reads the statement. “The number won’t be announced until the Best Picture nominees themselves are announced at the January nominations announcement. . . .

“After much analysis by Academy officials, it was determined that 5% of first-place votes should be the minimum in order to receive a nomination, resulting in a slate of anywhere from five to 10 movies.”

FINALLY they’ve listened to the public outcry for a minimum of 5 percent of first-place votes and maybe 7 or 8 or — how crazy would this be — NINE nominations!


I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again: There’s nothing about the Oscar telecast that can’t be fixed by making a handful of significant changes. Such as:

A. Stop televising the “lesser” categories and trim the running time from nearly four hours to two hours.

B. Let the big winners ramble on for five minutes. Overwrought overreactions = great entertainment.

C. Announce the vote totals, a la the Heisman trophy ceremony. If the second-place finisher missed out by two votes, that’s drama. But if you learn you came in fifth, it’ll be a lot easier to accept “defeat.”

D. Open bar. On stage.

E. Partial nudity.

F. Figure out a way to get the Kardashians, all the Real Housewives, those idiotic “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” contestants, and the winning team on “The Voice” involved.

Of course I’m kidding about some of those suggestions, but the Academy’s announcement Tuesday should have been headlined, “Stubborn Institution Refuses to Adjust to the Times.”

Maybe it’s the name?

The calls for Wiener to quit show no signs of letting up. What with the allegations of inappropriate behavior, the tasteless humor, the pattern of questionable decisions — well, it seems only a matter of time before this government official will resign.

“How long will he get away with this?” asked one columnist. “Please [join me and] demand Wiener’s immediate resignation.”

A group calling for the man to step down issued a statement that read in part, “Wiener doesn’t get it.”

But as of this writing, Wiener guy says he’s sorry for his actions, but he’s going to continue to serve the people and he won’t resign.

What’s that? I’ve got the spelling wrong? It’s Weiner, not Wiener, right?

Not in this case. I’m not talking about U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner. I’m talking about New Mexico’s Bernalillo County Commissioner Michael Wiener, who’s coming under heavy criticism for a series of insanely tone-deaf decisions, including forwarding and/or telling jokes about rape and African Americans having sex in prison. There was also a complaint of sexual harassment, which Wiener denies.

As is the case with the New York congressman, the New Mexico commissioner pronounces his last name “WEE-ner.” On a recent trip to Albuquerque, I heard numerous newscasters referencing “calls for WEE-ner to resign” in stories about the commissioner.

However it’s spelled, if your last name is “Wiener” or “Weiner,” you’ve probably endured a lifetime of juvenile joshing about your name. I can imagine it’s only gotten worse in the recent weeks — especially if you live in New Mexico, where there’s been a double dose of scandal regarding officials named WEE-ner.

One Response to “Academy approves yet another irrelevant change to Oscars”

  1. Ian Montgomery Says:

    Be careful what you wish for, Rich. We don’t want Gary Busey anywhere near an open bar, especially if it’s in the eye of the national television audience.

    You know what, check that. We definitely need to make that happen someday.

    The Academy is only kidding themselves if they believe this announcement to be something innovative. It never hurts to shake up the presentation for the sake of staying fresh. However, I disagree with your idea of excluding the award announcements for the backstage crew. These people hardly get any recognition for their work as it is. Allowing them a few minutes to say thanks on a mainstream stage is not too much to ask for.

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