Friday, November 06, 2009

Awards Season News

Here are some excerpts from an article by Timothy M. Gray published today in Variety with info about the Oscar's and other awards. If you feel like reading the complete article please go Variety.

"I've always liked awards because they are like time capsules, offering clues about the tastes and priorities of each era. As such, the 2009-10 season should be one of the craziest and most unpredictable in memory -- because this has been a year of massive changes.

In the past six months, four of the majors have seen top-level exec shifts, reflecting the turbulence as everything changes: the backing (so long, hedge funds!), the salaries (au revoir, first-dollar gross!) and the marketing (auf wiedersehen, ad buys in consumer newspapers!).

There are changes in film budgets: The marketing for "Paranormal Activity" cost a gazillion times more than production; Is this an anomaly or an omen?). And there have been shifts in word of mouth (Twittering and texting were credited with "Bruno's" 39% B.O. drop from opening day to Saturday) and in audiences' viewing rituals (Redbox, Netflix, downloads, VOD have all found places in the release window).

So what does all this mean for awards season? Changes have begun; the question is whether these are just cosmetic changes or whether they portend fundamental shifts in the kudos business:

* The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Producers Guild have expanded their best-pic races to 10 nominations.

* There are so many films from female, gay, minority and foreign-language helmers that seem worthy of consideration this year that it's possible the best-director noms might not include a single English-speaking, Caucasian, straight male. It's not likely, but, for the first time, it's possible. In the days of "Bwana Devil" and "It Came From Outer Space," who thought 3D would be a factor in awards consideration?

* The list of companies on the kudos scene includes new players (such as the Bob Berney-Bill Pohlad Apparition), and newish ones (Summit, Overture), while established ones are stepping up (IFC, Magnolia) and one of the old mainstays is seriously altered (Miramax).

Every past awards season has been keyed to one premise: Who will win the big prizes? But this year, there's another question: What will the shows look like? The February Oscarcast, under Laurence Mark and Bill Condon, showed kudocast folks that you can break with tradition to the benefit of both those in the auditorium and those watching at home.

Perhaps inspired by this radicalism, the Golden Globes will have a host for the first time since 1995. The Academy Awards will have two hosts, and has shifted its Governors Awards to a separate ceremony. The Independent Spirit Awards have traded venues and dates. The Critics Choice Movie Awards have a new name and a new location. And the Gotham Awards noms were announced Oct. 19 via Webcast."


There are so many changes happening in the American Film Industry that I have the impression that maybe not next year but by 2011, the industry will look different. Just today the movie theater owners are lobbying in Washington to stop a regulation that will allow studios to broadcast via Internet New Releases directly to consumers; this means that if the regulation is approved, many of us adults that do not appreciate full and noisy movie theaters wont have to wait until after the film does its run in theaters; we will be able to watch them as soon as they're released!

Now I just hope that eventually they remove the region regulations and really hope they'll do not import them into the net... that will be terrible! Also many studios, filmmakers, talent, etc. should start to negotiate World rights, so they stop that silliness of films only allowed to view in certain countries.

But one thing I definitively agree with the article, this award season could be very exciting if the different Awards (and especially Oscar) open to include all genres in their nominations.


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