Thursday, May 30, 2024

Motion Picture Academy: New Chief Bill Kramer Takes Over 3 Weeks Early, Oscars Brace for Positive Changes


Surprise! New Motion Picture Academy chief Bill Kramer is taking over today from Dawn Hudson. Kramer wasn’t supposed to take the reins until July 18th, but the Academy pulled the trigger today. They couldn’t wait anymore.

Kramer was running the new Academy museum, and did such a good job that he was invited to replace Hudson, who’d been in charge for 11 years.

The opportunities for Kramer to make positive changes are all clear and present. Very little in recent years has seemed anything but tortuous. All the fun has gone out of the Oscars starting with the way guests are treated at the show. Where once everyone got to mingle, now there is a huge divider between the guests and the stars on the red carpet. That divider has come to signify a metaphor for a lot of things going on at the Oscars.

The Academy cannot control what’s nominated. A lot of people now want “Top Gun Maverick:” to be nominated for Best Picture the same way they wanted “The Dark Knight” and “Spider Man: No Way Home” to be included. Kramer cannot control this, all he can do is try and make the Oscars special again.

To that end, he should try and get rid of the 10 Best Picture nominees. Five was a magic number. It signified exclusivity. In the business, no one cares about 10– the first five are an open secret, and the others are, “oh yeah.”

Kramer, no doubt, will restore the 8 categories that were eliminated from the main show this year. I’ve never seen such divisiveness. The thing is if you’re watching the Oscars, you’re in it for the night. Just let it rip! That’s the fun. Three hours, four hours, who cares? Just pack it with Big Stars and let them be funny. Woke-ness is killing all enjoyment of these shows.

Hopefully Kramer will get rid of the People’s Choice Award from this past year. It was embarrassing, knowing that giving “No Way Home” an award was the goal. What the Oscars should do is highlight the big box office movies in a clever way and include the people from them.

The 2023 Oscars will have to address the whole Will Smith-Chris Rock slap scandal. If the Academy could broker a peace between Smith and Rock, publicly, it would defuse months of tension leading up to the show. The slap was a huge mistake but it’s time to move on. Should Rock be next year’s host? Why not? The main thing is to have a host, and a producer who can focus on making a great show.

One positive note is that the choices for the Governor’s Awards this year are excellent. Michael J Fox getting the Jean Hershholt Award is brilliant. I hope they let him speak to a standing ovation. Diane Warren’s award after 13 noms– let’s have a medley of her hits. Peter Weir is such a great director. As long as Mel Gibson is kept out of it. a Weir Tribute would be outstanding.

It’s a clean slate for Bill Kramer. Happy New Year! And PS Please bring back the big standing gold Oscars (as seen above). They’re fluid and color blind! They’re gold! Pure gold!

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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