George Chrysostomou with five suggestions for new Oscar categories…
The Oscars have been in the spotlight recently for a variety of reasons, and not only because the 91st annual Academy Awards is fast approaching. There’s been controversy surrounding Kevin Hart as the original host, the Popular Movie category, and let’s not forget the attempt to have some of the awards actually handed out during commercial breaks. The Oscars have therefore been at the centre of much debate, as they are every year. Many feel they are tired and out of touch with the movie world of today, with decisions made that clearly do not reflecting the current cinematic climate.
Whatever your opinion on this may be, it is clear that the Oscars are still not representative of every craft within the industry. There are of course a variety of extra Oscar categories that could be added to the event but here are a list of five that I have chosen, along with some justification as to why they should be included within the Academy Awards in future. Please note as an honourable mention, there should be a category dedicated to stunt people, who work tirelessly to create breathtaking action sequences and put their body on the line for the business.
Best Foreign Language Short
To start this list I believe it is necessary to bring balance to the short film categories. In the feature length equivalent of this, there is a Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film. Yet in terms of short films, the two must sit within the same category, with foreign language short films battling it out with the native tongue of the United States. This does a discredit to some of the fantastic short films that are not in English, which have to compete against those that we understand better without a language barrier. Not only would this category allow for a wider range of shorts to be featured at the Oscars, with Animated, Live Action and Documentary shorts already having their own awards, but it could also encourage audiences to watch more shorts from international filmmakers.
To be able to craft a comedy that is genuinely funny is no small feat. To balance the variety of emotions and put together a performance that is convincing whilst also being competent as a narrative is a difficult ask for any cast and crew. Some kind of category that honours the work that goes into a comedy therefore would be much more representative of the work required to create some of the truly great films of the last few decades. A Best Comedy category would help in some ways to bring in a wider audience, and go a long way to show that comedy is just as important in the industry as a drama, and perhaps more difficult to form.
Best Motion Capture Performance
It’s a conversation that is had every year – when will Andy Serkis win an Oscar? It’s becoming much more apparent that performance capture acting is such a huge part of the movie industry as the technology continues to develop. There have already been some stellar performances using this tech, which is all the more impressive considering the level of imagination and concentration it must take to work. As this type of filmmaking becomes more entrenched within the industry, it is clear that this kind of acting needs to be recognised in a much more official fashion and one in which addresses the need to understand how difficult this type of performance actually is. By doing so, this would once again also brings in a series of films that are more popular with general audiences in terms of commercial success, but also honouring the tradition of allowing the Oscars to be more about the craft.
Best Voice Performance
On the same theme as the previous suggested category, there is another realm where truly great performances are ignored due to the way in which they are delivered to us. Voice acting is a very difficult form of acting, as an artist is purely relying on their vocal range and ability to deliver emotion without any body language or facial expressions. Some of cinema’s greats have provided their voices to a number of animated and CGI favourites from over the years, some of which have won Oscars themselves. However, there has never been an award given to someone who has been able to manipulate their voice in such a way that the characters leap off of the screen in a realistic manner, despite their animated appearance. This category is especially important to honour those who have made a career of voice acting, displaying why it is just as important as conventional performances.
The final option on this list is one that may be controversial, but could achieve what the Oscars was setting out to do with the Most Popular category. Having an award given based on a public vote may be a way in which viewers can be not only represented in a better way but also become more interested in the Academy Awards. This type of award could be based on a list of shortlisted features that perhaps failed to make it into the Best Picture category but are still worthy of an award, due to their emotional appeal, their storytelling ability, or perhaps quality of production. This kind of award might be what the Academy needs in order to not only boost ratings but also give a nod to those films which are hugely popular and still incredibly difficult to make.
Do you agree with this list? Do you have any suggestions of your own? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below or tweet us @FlickeringMyth…