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5 Ways to Improve the Oscars



Let’s start with a few basic issues before we look at possible changes:

Movies are about fantasy. They star impossibly attractive people (or highly charismatic ones if they’re not physically attractive). They are set in unreal worlds. Even in ‘social realism’ movies the drama is heightened, the language and behaviour of the characters is exaggerated.

In short, movies are NOT real life.

We respond to them not because the actors look and sound like us but because we relate to the emotions they experience.

We love The Wizard of Oz not because we sing and dance in our daily lives and can follow the yellow brick road to a magical land but because we understand Dorothy’s yearning for something ‘more’ and her eventual realisation that ‘there’s no place like home.’

Just because someone decides that a film is ‘important’ doesn’t mean it is also entertaining. And just because a film is entertaining doesn’t mean it shouldn’t win. A lot of people loved La La Land this year and many want it to win best picture. Yet, there has been a backlash against it because it isn’t worthy.

Films about ordinary lives and the struggles of every conceivable minority group in the world are called documentaries. Movies are not documentaries.

Awards are prizes given to the best. They are merit based. Since movies are not sport where rivals can fight to the death, someone has to decide who is the best. Demanding that someone declare you the best when they simply don’t think you are is stupid. It’s like demanding that someone be your friend even if they don’t like you.

The Oscars are about movies, accomplishment, movie stars, glamorous clothes and entertainment. They are not meant to be about identity politics, political agendas, platforms for lecturing the world about grievances. Ratings were low for the show last year. They will be lower still in future years if the Academy panders to divisive political agendas.

Here are some necessary changes the Oscars should make:

Cut the ceremony down

Drop the categories viewers don’t care about: sound editing, sound mixing (sorry guys, we know you’re very important to a movie and very talented but sadly no one knows the difference or cares), short animated whatever, 5 dullest songs, live action short whatever, editing ( same as for the sound guys). Even hair and makeup and costume design can go. There’s a technical categories ceremony, put them all there.

Add categories that people actually want

Best comedy performance. Best blockbuster/ box office hit over – hundreds of millions of people watch movies like Star Wars, The Dark Knight et al but the Academy resolutely refuses to recognise them. Even extending the best picture list to 9-10 films was half hearted. A proper category would help ratings too.

Curb the campaigning before the ceremony

It’s getting ridiculous. Either your film/ performance is good enough or it isn’t. Filmmakers and actors aren’t politicians running for office. Let the work speak for itself. Disqualify anyone who campaigns for a nomination. Once the nominees are announced, allow one week of active campaigning and that’s it.

Have the awards shortly after the submission date

Hopefully this will cut out the dozens of awards ceremonies that litter the awards calendar currently. There are just too many awards shows in the build up to the Oscars. By the time we get to Oscar, there are no surprises left because we’ve seen the same winners honoured time and again making the same speeches over and over.

This year has been particularly tedious with the political ‘outrage’ being trotted out at every single ceremony. It’s taken coverage away from the films and the winners.

Cut the red carpet circus

Have 2-3 major media outlets on the red carpet only. Let them interview the nominees properly. At present we have hundreds of outlets asking stupid questions.

Stagger the arrival of the stars. Currently the C-listers arrive early, hog the screen for hours and the big stars we actually want to see arrive 10 minutes before the ceremony starts and we get a 5 second flash of them before they rush in.

Inside, don’t just use the orchestra to cut off long winded speeches by winners, actually threaten to usher off anyone who starts to reel off thank-you’s to people the audience doesn’t know or care about.

Do the same to any winner who uses the podium to push a political agenda.

Awards News

TIANA – Hollywood Music in Media Awards



American singer-songwriter TIANA has been nominated Best Independent Music Video, for the fun sounds and fresh visuals associated with her debut record ‘Just My Type’, by the prestigious Hollywood Music in Media Awards, being held at the Avalon Hollywood on November 14.

Directed by Ali Zamani and produced by Zeus Zamani of AZ Films, with choreography by Reyna Joy Banks, of F.H.G Entertainment, the ‘Just My Type’ music video, filmed in Los Angeles, stars recording artist TIANA, Marlon Wayans (White Chicks), Rob Schneider (Saturday Night Live) and Brely Evans (Just Wright).

The long-form version of the music video, which has a fun and explosive scene between actor-comedians, Marlon Wayans and Rob Schneider, will be exclusively released during the night of the Hollywood Music in Media Awards.

Produced by Jovan Dawkins (Nicki Minaj, Bruno Mars) of Heritage Music Group in Hollywood, along with the writing talents of Candace Wakefield, Stanley Green Jr., Jovan Dawkins, Jevon Hill and Theodore Simon, the ‘Just My Type’ single release, is currently topping the Top40 Indie Chart through Universal Music Distribution.

Other Hollywood Music in Media Award nominees include; Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut ‘A Star Is Born’, ‘Black Panther’, ‘BlacKkKlansman’ and ‘Quincy.’ The awards ceremony features presentations, performances, and a special achievement award. Past honorees include Diane Warren, Smokey Robinson, and Glen Campbell.

The Hollywood Music in Media Award nominations are selected by an advisory board and selection committee which includes journalists, music executives, music-media industry professionals comprised of select members of the Society of Composers and Lyricists, The Television Academy, the AMPAS Music Branch, NARAS, and performing rights organizations. A portion of proceeds benefit Education Through Music – Los Angeles.

Follow TIANA – IG | Twitter: @TianaKocher

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Awards News

Black Panther Aiming For Best Picture, Not Best Popular, According To Chadwick Boseman



It’s Hollywood’s worst-kept secret; Marvel Studios’ chief Kevin Feige wants an Oscar. And not just a technical Oscar either. Following in the footsteps of Walt Disney, Feige’s ultimate goal is for one of his movies to win Best Picture. With Black Panther being a cultural juggernaut, the producer-extraordinaire sees it as his best chance yet and has reportedly hired veteran award strategist Cynthia Schwartz’s company – Strategy PR – to push for the nomination.

However, The Academy themselves threw a spanner in the works last month, when they announced the introduction of a brand new category at next year’s awards ceremony: Best Achievement in Popular Film. With Black Panther presently the highest-grossing film of the year domestically, and the second-highest internationally, it’s the clear favourite to win in the new category (at least, to the best of everyone’s knowledge – The Academy have, frustratingly, refused to define the new award). However according to King T’Challa himself, Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman, that’s not the goal.

“We don’t know what [Best Popular] is, so I don’t know whether to be happy about it or not,” Boseman told The Hollywood Reporter, “What I can say is that there’s no campaign for Popular Film; like, if there’s a campaign, it’s for Best Picture, and that’s all there is to it.”

“A good movie is a good movie,” the Get On Up star continued, “and clearly it doesn’t matter how much money a movie makes in order for it to be ‘a good movie’ because if [it did], the movies that get nominated and win [predominantly low-grossing, highly-praised art-house fare] wouldn’t get nominated; and if it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter on both sides. For my money, the only thing that matters is the level of difficulty.”

“What we did was very difficult. We created a world, we created a culture … we had to create a religion, a spirituality, a politics; we had to create an accent; we had to pull from different cultures to create clothing styles and hair styles. It’s very much like a period piece. … So, as far as that’s concerned, I dare any movie to try to compare to the difficulty of this one. And the fact that so many people liked it — if you just say it’s [only] popular, that’s elitist.”

Chadwick has a point – the gross of a film has never, and should not, affect a film’s chances at winning Best Picture. However, whilst The Academy has made clear that a film can be nominated for both Best Film and Best Popular (frustrating many members who have then rightfully asked what the point is), they have somewhat written themselves into a corner when it comes to Black Panther. See, through a very specific sequence of events, The Academy have manufactured a situation where the most likely events to play out on the night will be Damien Chazelle’s buzzy First Man, a movie with an all-white cast and crew, winning Best Picture… whilst the all-black cast and crew of Black Panther accept the new ‘separate but equal’ award for Best Achievement in Popular Film. Yikes.

Black Panther is available on Digital, DVD, Blu-Ray and 4K now, and is rated 12A.

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Awards News

Danny DeVito To Receive Lifetime Achievement Award At The San Sebastian Film Festival



Batman Returns star Danny DeVito is set to receive the coveted Donostia Award, honouring him for his career achievements, at the sixty-sixth annual San Sebastian Film Festival this September.

“The award recognizes a career of almost five decades related to acting in theatre, film and television, telling stories as an actor, producer and director,” the Spanish festival’s organisers said in a statement, “The Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner is known for his roles in television series Taxi and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and movies such as One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Terms of Endearment, Romancing The Stone, Twins, Ruthless People, and Tin Men.”

“He has also directed – and starred in – hugely emblematic films, including The War of the Roses (1989), Hoffa (1992), Death to Smoochy (2002), Throw Momma From the Train (1987), Curmudgeons (2016), Duplex (2003), The Ratings Game (1984), and The World’s Greatest Lover (1977).”

The San Sebastian Film Festival will run from the 21st to the 29th of September. Danny DeVito can next be heard in animated children’s flick Smallfoot, which will premiere on the 23rd at the Festival.

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