Monday, May 20, 2024

Oscars: Academy Sets New Documentary Rules That Would Have Eliminated This Year’s Winner


This year’s Oscar winner for Best Documentary, Ezra Edelman, has been slightly rebuked by the Academy. New rules announced today would have made it impossible for his multi part project, OJ: Made in America, from being nominated.

The Academy now says multi part films or limited series will not be eligible at all to compete for an Oscar. This is a big deal because the doc community was upset over “OJ.” For one thing, it was made for ESPN, for TV, and many felt it shouldn’t have been in the running for that reason alone.

Whoops! So sorry then to Ava Duvernay and the others who worked on single films as in past years and then got knocked out by OJ. It’s not going to happen again.

The Academy also says that prior to nominations, if you want to serve food to an Academy member in conjunction with a movie, there’d better be a screening attached to it. This is more of the campaigning rules which frankly, I think, have contributed to the low ratings of the Oscar show. After the nominations are announced, the Academy now frowns on all campaigning.

This means all parties cease, as does publicity. Next year, this means that between January 23rd and March 4th there will be silence in the press regarding the Oscars. It’s a big mistake. Without the press stoking the Oscar campaigns during those six weeks, there will be even fewer viewers for the big night. These are the Oscars– they’re supposed to be fun. It’s not a federal election.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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