The next Oscar ceremony isn’t until February 28, 2016, but the race has already started. Prognosticators are weighing the emerging lineups at Venice, Telluride, TIFF, and New York, and soon we’re going to thrust into a months-long storm of guild awards, critics group honors, and much more, all in the lead up to the Oscars. It’s a bit overstuffed to be sure, but some would argue that all that extra attention on movies that don’t always have the kind of marketing budgets that blockbusters do, is a benefit. However, for Edward Norton, he has a different perspective and a fairly wild idea to do away with what he see as extraneous and unnecessary awards season noise that is only getting bigger each year.
“…the National Board of Review, which used to be a tiny dinner at Tavern on the Green, has become an event at Cipriani’s Midtown where they’re selling I don’t even know how many tables. Maybe a thousand…All the guild awards used to be private. Now they’re also sponsored, televised on Bravo or NBC. They’re making money. Everything has turned into a monetization opportunity. As a result, it’s now not even the same little cluster of work being competitively congratulated — it’s all being done publicly,” he told Indiewire.
Norton doesn’t believe that these various awards mean much to the public at large, and in his opinion, it damages films financially because to studios and distributors have to buy into this system to continue to be part of the awards season conversation in the build up to the prestigious Oscars. But Norton has a simple idea that the Academy could use that would immediately cut off the numerous awards efforts right at the knees.
“The Academy, which is a private organization, could save the industry by saying, ‘It’s our award and we can do whatever we want.’ They could say that any film putting out paid solicitation ads of any kind — all these for your consideration ads that cost millions and millions of dollars, which just solicit awards — they could say that any film using them is disqualified from the Academy Awards. It would end it overnight,” he said.
“…I think they could go further. They could do things like say, ‘Look, we care about the Academy brand. You can go to your private appearances and your guild awards. If they’re televised, then you’re disqualified from the Academy Awards.’ People would be like, ‘I guess that’s that. I’m not going,’ ” Norton added.
Bold, certainly, but also hardly likely. But Norton does raise an interesting point — does the onslaught of awards diminish the value of the Oscars, and do they carry real weight, or are they just an expensive form of noise the awards season can do without? Let us know your thoughts below.