Here we go again: Academy tries to streamline the Oscars

Oscars logo

If at first you don’t succeed…

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is — again — trying to streamline its Oscar telecast and find a place for more popular movies.

The academy sent a written message to members (this Hollywood Reporter story has the full text). Among the changes: 1) Keeping the telecast to three hours (honest!). 2) Adding a category for “outstanding achievement in popular film.”

To stick to the new time limit, the TV broadcast will show some of the 24 Oscar winners on an edited, tape-delayed basis. Which ones are seen live by the TV audience and which get the edited treatment are to be determined.

Lots of luck, academy.

The Oscars have already stripped away honorary Oscar awards and the Thalberg career award for producers from the main broadcast.

Examples of honorary Oscar moments: The dying Gary Cooper receiving an honorary award, with James Stewart accepting it on his behalf; Charlie Chaplin receiving a standing ovation while receiving his honorary award; Barbara Stanwyck likewise getting big applause when she got her honorary award.

Albert R. Broccoli , Thalberg award winner (Illustration by Paul Baack)

As for the Thalberg award, 007 fans remember Roger Moore presenting the award to Eon Productions co-founder Albert R. Broccoli. Related to that award, that Oscars show included a big James Bond musical number.

Today, however, honorary Oscars and the Thalberg (when it’s given; the last time was 2010) are now part of a separate event. Taped highlights from that are briefly shown during the main Oscars telecast. That’s show biz.

Those moves were done in the name of making the Oscars telecast shorter. Well, the telecast still goes past midnight. Various skits and such take up the time that supposedly was freed up.

Meanwhile, the academy expanded the number of best picture nominees to as many as 10. The idea was to get more popular movies into the show. It hasn’t worked out that way.

So now, potential future Oscar winners are wondering if they’ll be on TV live or an afterthought on tape delay. Will a winning cinematographer be live or taped delay? Composer? Best original screenplay? Best adapted screenplay? No way to know right now.

As for the new popular film category (or whatever it’s eventually called), it’s being criticized.

For example, here’s the take from Todd VanDerWerff of Vox: The new category “feels like a panicked move by an Academy that’s worried Black Panther won’t be nominated for Best Picture, an echo of when they expanded the Best Picture category to 10 nominees in 2009 in response to The Dark Knight and Wall-E being snubbed in that category.”

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007 Magazine hosting dinner with 3 Bond film alumni

Norman Wanstall accepting his Oscar for Goldfinger, 1965.

Graham Rye’s 007 Magazine said it’s hosting a dinner next month for three Bond film alumni: actresses Caroline Munro and Martine Beswick as well as sound man Norman Wanstall.

The dinner is set for Sept. 29 at the Plough Inn in New Romney, England.  The price is 115 British pounds ($148). The price includes a three-course gourmet meal and a half-bottle of win per person. The dinner is limited to 50 people. Those attending will receive a vodka martini upon arrival, according to the fan publication.

Beswick, 76, was in two Bond films. She was one of the gypsy fighting women in From Russia With Love and played Paula, Bond’s doomed assistant, in Thunderball.

Munro, 69, played Naomi, henchwoman for villain Karl Stromberg in The Spy Who Loved Me.

Wanstall, 83, won the 007 film series’ first Oscar for his sound work on Goldfinger. The series as a whole has only won four Oscars. Thunderball won for special effects, with Skyfall and SPECTRE both picking up best song Oscars.

For more information about the dinner, CLICK HERE.