I don’t think I would exactly be controversial in saying that the Oscars have turned into a massive joke. After the recent announcement, that both the Editing and Cinematography awards will not be screened live, movie fans around the world have been in uproar. And for good reason: editing and cinematography are vital parts of the filmmaking process. As Guillermo del Toro put it: “If I may: I would not presume to suggest what categories to cut during the Oscars show but – – Cinematography and Editing are at the very heart of our craft.” And right he is. Cinematography and editing are to cinema what grammar and prose are to literature. Without them, cinema literally would not exist.
Ultimately, the people who tend to be the most excited about the Oscars are film fans. These are the people who know their Roger Deakins’s from their Emmanuel Lubezki’s, their Thelma Schoonmaker’s from their Walter Murch’s. Remember the massive Internet campaign to get Roger Deakins his first Academy award for “Blade Runner 2049”? If cinematography was not an especially interesting art, things like this simply would not exist. The fact that “Chivo” is a household name among film fans shows that cinematography has a strong, vital fanbase. The backlash, at this point, has been huge, and not just from film fans. Directors like Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, and Alfonso Cuaron have publicly expressed displeasure over this decision.
A while back, I wrote an article on which categories should be added to the Oscars. I still stand by this decision – – the way to cut down on the show’s admittedly hefty runtime would be to decrease the showboating performances and speeches. It is important, at a show designed to honor the hardworking individuals who work in film, that we appreciate as much of the craft of filmmaking as possible. The more awards given the better because those accolades will push production companies to invest more in these aspects of filming.
Whether we like to admit it or not, the Oscars do have a big impact on what types of movies are made (“Oscar bait” is a thing for a reason). Expanding the types of movies that achieve awards means that a greater variety of movies get the green light.
The Oscars, at their heart, are an industry awards ceremony. They really shouldn’t exist to entertain general audiences – -just to honor the craft of cinema. That’s why I propose that there should be more awards rather than fewer. The point of the ceremony is to reward the hard working individuals in the industry, right? Where are the awards for best Stunt Coordination? “Mission: Impossible Fallout” would definitely have swept that one. How about best voice acting? Wouldn’t Andy Serkis finally get his due then? There are so many great professionals within the movie industry that should be honored. Shouldn’t the Oscars do their job and honor them?