Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Oscars: Get Rid of "Best Director"

A few years ago, I did a breakdown of the winners of "Best Picture" and "Best Director."  Before you continue reading, I highly recommend that you go back and read that breakdown.  Here's the link: The Oscars: Best Picture is Best Director.

In my previous rant, I proposed two solutions to what I believe (and many believe) to be a problem with the Academy Awards.  Upon further review, the first proposed solution - a "Best Producer" Oscar - is ludicrous.  Never mind the various and varying definitions of "Producer," but the proposal is essentially a copying and renaming of the "Best Picture" award.

The second proposed solution, however, which involved getting rid of "Best Director" and adding a film's director as a recipient of "Best Picture" seems to make more sense than ever.  Particularly in light of the controversy surrounding the lack of nominations for Selma.

Some Background (Updated):

Since 1962, when the name of the award was changed from "Best Motion Picture" to "Best Picture," there have been only 10 instances (out of 52 award years) when the Best Picture and Best Director awards were given to separate movies:
  • 1967 - Best Picture: In the Heat of the Night; Best Director: Mike Nichols, The Graduate
  • 1972 - Best Picture: The Godfather; Best Director: Bob Fosse, Cabaret
  • 1981 - Best Picture: Chariots of Fire; Best Director: Warren Beatty, Reds
  • 1989 - Best Picture: Driving Miss Daisy; Best Director: Oliver Stone, Born on the Fourth of July
  • 1998 - Best Picture: Shakespeare in Love; Best Director: Steven Spielberg, Saving Private Ryan
  • 2000 - Best Picture: Gladiator; Best Director: Steven Soderbergh, Traffic
  • 2002 - Best Picture: Chicago; Best Director: Roman Polanski, The Pianist
  • 2005 - Best Picture: Crash; Best Director: Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
  • 2012 - Best Picture: Argo; Best Director: Ang Lee, Life of Pi
  • 2013 - Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave; Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Going back to 1944, when the award switched to "Best Motion Picture" from "Outstanding Motion Picture" and the number of nominees dropped from ten to five, there have only been a further 5 discrepancies (out of 18 award years):
  • 1948 - Best Motion Picture: Hamlet; Best Director: John Huston, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  • 1949 - Best Motion Picture: All the King's Men; Best Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz, A Letter to Three Wives
  • 1951 - Best Motion Picture: An American in Paris; Best Director: George Stevens, A Place in the Sun
  • 1952 - Best Motion Picture: The Greatest Show on Earth; Best Director: John Ford, The Quiet Man
  • 1956 - Best Motion Picture: Around the World in 80 Days; Best Director: George Stevens, Giant
Including 1944 to 1961, the percentage of films winning both awards is just under 79%.  If you start from 1962, the percentage is just under 81%.  Until the 2000s, the percentage had increased to nearly 87% (or over 82% if including '44 to '61).

There has been a slight increase in the past five years, so it's clearly still not a lock for a film to take home both awards.  But, the question remains... is a 13% to 21% occurrence rate enough to warrant separate awards?

I say no.  Still, I'm wondering if a desire to be "politically correct" is going to lead to more split Best Picture/Best Director awards.

More Oscar Musings

Based on the analysis above, I can only conclude that the Academy loves Ang Lee, but hates his movies.

Said it before, I'll say it again: There should be an Academy Award for Best Stunts.

Said it before, I'll say it again: There should also be an Academy Award for Best Casting.  It should go to both the film's director and the film's casting director.

They need to go back to five Best Picture nominees.

1 comment:

  1. also they should start the damn thing at noon so it will be over before 2 am