Welcome to the madness that is now going to whole level thanks to the recent movements like ‘Me Too’ or ‘Time’s Up.’ No need to bury the lead or hide from it, as it will certainly consume this famed award ceremony like the predecessors before it. And you know what, that’s a good thing given its movement’s like this that not only help bring our country together, but also bring attention to something that might have been pushed under the rug. By no means am I versed in these movements, but I do think it deserves mentioning given the importance of this evening to Hollywood and really our culture as a whole. Women are more powerful today than ever before, but that’s still not enough. Minorities also need more love, especially after 2016’s #OscarsSoWhite backlash that sent the Academy into a place it probably never imagined it would be. But hey, sometimes you need a good kick in the pants to make a change and that’s certainly what the Academy has done “inducting over 774 new members, a majority of which were women and people of color.” This according to EW’s recent Oscar issue that also cited that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would be doubling the number of women and minorities by 2020. That’s big and why we are seeing such a diverse list of nominees this year, which I will admit is a bit of a shock to the system with the likes of Steven Spielberg, James Franco and Tom Hanks being left off ballots. Makes me wonder if the Academy has gone too far too fast in the other direction, but if they have, they are at least doing it in a way that is hard to question.
Now, on to 2017. I don’t know about you, but when I think of last year, I don’t really picture films like “Get Out” or “The Shape of Water.” I mean, they are decent and worthy films to watch, but for them to be nominated for Best Picture might be a stretch. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. I guess what I’m trying to say is 2017 gave us a lot of things, but quality film was not one of them. At least not in the true sense of what we have seen in years past. Sure, we had some winners mixed in like “Wonder Woman,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” but that’s about it. And what’s sad is how I could make a case for why each of those should be nominated for Best Picture and none of it has to do with their Box Office numbers. Especially the live- action version of “Beauty and the Beast,” a film many thought would never come to fruition given the success of the original. I mean, here we have a beloved musical that was truly remarkable and it didn’t even snag a nomination for Best Song. I don’t get it, especially given some of the other lesser nominees in the major categories. I guess in an odd way, that’s the Academy Awards though. Not everything can be nominated, yet somehow I feel mistakes were made this year in an effort to overcompensate for prior mishaps. That’s too bad, because once upon a time, this ceremony was known as the one that usually got it right. But, if that was truly the case, we would have seen Patty Jenkins get her first Academy Award nomination for directing this year.
Don’t worry, I will get into more of who should or shouldn’t have been nominated in the coming weeks, but I did want to bring some exciting Academy news that a lot of people might not know yet. For many years members of the Academy have dreamed to have a space to hold all their memorabilia. You know, things like Dorothy’s ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” or a space capsule from “Apollo 13.” But due to legal battles, funding and plain old bad luck, this dream was never set in motion until 2011 when then Academy President Tom Sherak struck a deal with the city of Los Angeles to buy the old May Co. building at the corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Fairfax Avenue. In an article written by Gregg Kilday of Variety, what started as a $36 million dollar investment has now risen to over $388 million thanks to fundraising and outright gifts by some of Hollywood’s elite. But, it hasn’t been easy since the builders broke ground a couple years ago, given all the money issues and changes in leadership, so just getting to a point where you can actually see the finish line is huge. According to the museum home page, the 300,000 square-foot facility will feature both a six-story building big enough to hold more than 50,000 square feet of exhibition galleries and an adjacent massive sphere that will contain a 1,000 seat state-of-the-art theater along with a rooftop terrace that overlooks the Hollywood Hills. Set to open in early 2019, The Academy Museum will be the world’s premier institution dedicated to the art and science of movies. I for one can’t wait, as having a place to go and not only learn about movies, but also lift them up is huge.
Before we kick this thing off though and really get into some of my favorite categories, I wanted to go over the rules. Many people assume they know and I’m sure there are some that don’t care, but I’m still going to break it down regardless. Basically in order for a film to qualify, it must open in the previous calendar year from midnight of January 1st to midnight on New Year’s Eve or December 31st. So this immediately eliminates Clint Eastwood’s “The 15:17 to Paris,” which I almost guarantee would have been nominated had it been released 4 weeks sooner. But, all of this is according to rules 2 and 3 of the official Academy Awards Rules created by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), which also states film’s must be a feature-length of at least 40 minutes long with a native resolution of at least 1280×720. Producers must submit their Official Screen Credits online from before the deadline or it will be deemed ineligible. That form, which includes production credits for all related categories will eventually be checked and put into a ‘Reminder List of Eligible Releases,’ thus giving the pool of movies for the 6,600-plus active and life Academy members to choose from. For most of the categories, members from each of the branches will determine the nominees, meaning only actors will vote for actors, writers for writers, directors for directors, etc. The only exception is for Best Picture, where all voting members are eligible to select nominees for that category. The winning nominees are then determined by a second round of voting in which all Academy members are allowed to vote in most categories, including Best Picture. But, this is only the beginning to the madness that will be taking over Sonic Film Box. So get your popcorn ready for what will ultimately be the best place to get your Oscar fix leading up to the ceremony on March 4th.