Thursday, June 16, 2011

Academy Awards (AMPAS) New "Variable" Best Picture Rules A Mistake

For the last two years, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has used a 10-movie Best Picture, preference voting system to pick the "best of the best." But now, and after a vote by the Board Of Governors of AMPAS of six of 14 votes total (and that's all the voting info that was in the press release), to add what they call a "twist," but what this blogger thinks is causes damage to the overall improved ratings for the event.

Now, rather than an assured ten movies being nominated for Best Picture, the number could vary between five movies and ten movies - that's a huge error, but what's done is done.

Here's Academy President Tom Sherak to explain the idea behind the changes: "With the help of PricewaterhouseCoopers, we've been looking not just at what happened over the past two years, but at what would have happened if we had been selecting 10 nominees for the past 10 years."

Sherak noted that it was retiring Academy executive director Bruce Davis who recommended the change first to Sherak and incoming CEO Dawn Hudson and then to the Board of Governors, according to AMPAS.

AMPAS Spokesperson Leslie Unger said The Academy went back over the last 10 years of "Best Picture" voting and determined that "the average percentage of first place votes received by the top vote-getting movie was 20.5. After much analysis by Academy officials, it was determined that 5 percent of first place votes should be the minimum in order to receive a nomination, resulting in a slate of anywhere from five to 10 movies."

Bruce Davis said “In studying the data, what stood out was that Academy members had regularly shown a strong admiration for more than five movies. A Best Picture nomination should be an indication of extraordinary merit. If there are only eight pictures that truly earn that honor in a given year, we shouldn't feel an obligation to round out the number."

Unger explains that if the system had been in place over the last 10 years, "there would have been years that yielded 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 nominees." She explains that once the number of nominations is determined, the preference voting system will still be used to pick the Best Picture winner.

AMPAS Must Focus On TV Ratings

That decision is an enormous mistake because it effectively removes the chance that a popular movie could reach the level of "Best Picture" and help drive ratings for the Oscar telecast. This move will effectively shrink ratings potential and revenue for Oscar itself for those years where the number is less than ten, and a box-office hit fails to make the Best Picture list.

That scenario, coupled with AMPAS still-poor social media program, will guarantee poor ratings problems for years to come.

Sad to say.

Other AMPAS Changes.

This corner has no strong view of the other changes noted in the press release, so here's what AMPAS via Unger is reporting:

Other rules changes approved by the Board include:

In the animated feature film category, the need for the Board to vote to “activate” the category each year was eliminated, though a minimum number of eligible releases – eight – is still required for a competitive category. Additionally, the short films and feature animation branch recommended, and the Board approved, refinements to the number of possible nominees in the Animated Feature category. In any year in which eight to 12 animated features are released, either two or three of them may be nominated. When 13 to 15 films are released, a maximum of four may be nominated, and when 16 or more animated features are released, a maximum of five may be nominated.

In the visual effects category, the "bakeoff" at which the nominees are determined will expand from seven to 10 contenders. The increase in the number of participants is related to a change made last year in which the number of films nominated in the visual effects category was increased from three to five. (Me: logical move.)

Previously, the Board approved changes to the documentary feature and documentary short category rules that now put those categories’ eligibility periods in line with the calendar year and thus with most other awards categories. The change means that for the 84th Awards cycle only, the eligibility period is more than 12 months; it is from September 1, 2010 to December 31, 2011.

Other modifications of the 84th Academy Awards rules include normal date changes and minor "housekeeping" changes.

Rules are reviewed annually by individual branch and category committees. The Awards Rules Committee then reviews all proposed changes before presenting its recommendations to the Academy’s Board of Governors for approval.

The 84th Annual Academy Awards Nominations Presentation will be held Tuesday, January 24th at 5:30 AM.

Anthony Weiner Resigns - Video Press Conference And Job Offer

New York U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner did something on Thursday this blogger honestly didn't think he would do: resign from his seat in Congress.

In a press conference that has been correctly described as a "circus, the 25-year elected official announced he was stepping down from public life, and to take time to correct his life and obviously work to repair a marriage undoubtedly damaged.

Weiner, who personally contacted and sent lewd photos of himself to five women, first said he would not resign, but apparently saw his political life fading as many Democrats ran away from him and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reportedly threatened to strip him of committee assignments.

That move alone would make it much harder for Congressman Weiner to help his constituents.

So, at 2 PM ET, Weiner took to a podium at Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York, to first explain that the venue was where his political career started, and then said...

Unfortunately the distraction that I have created makes that [work] impossible... so today I am announcing my resignation from Congress.

And that's when all hell broke lose in the form of a man we didn't know until Thursday. That's when he yelled "Goodbye Pervert" and other choice words I really don't want to type here.

Now, we know his name is Benjy Bronk (right), and we know he represents The Howard Stern Show.

And we also know he likes to be in interesting photos of his own (see below - that's really Bronk himself).

Some people just don't think about the photos they're in, do they?  Or maybe Bronk doesn't care? 

At any rate, that planned Howard Stern injection of bombast didn't make things any better for Weiner, and added a sad note to the press conference proceedings.

Anthony Weiner's Future: Larry Flynt?

What's Anthony Weiner's future? Well, we really don't know, but it's good to know that Weiner has at least one appropriate option: working for Hustler Founder Larry Flynt.

In Thursday's Huffington Post, Mr. Flynt wrote:

I would like to make you an offer of employment at Flynt Management Group, LLC in our Internet group. As a Congressman, you are known for your intensity and perseverance...This offer is not made in jest. To show our sincerity, Flynt Management Group, LLC is willing to pay twenty percent more than your former Congressional salary ($174,000), ensuring that your medical benefits would be equal to what you were previously receiving....While you will have to relocate to our corporate offices in Beverly Hills, California, we would pay for all relocation costs.

The job offer is apparently open-ended, and it's not clear exactly what Flynt would ask Weiner to do, although the statement "While this employment opportunity is being offered in large part due to your qualifications and clear passion for making a change.." would seem to point to the same actions that caused him to step down, that's not clear.

Stay tuned.

Oakland's Tupac Shakur Turns 40 - His Senseless Murder

Oakland Rapper and Actor Tupac Shakur turns 40 today, and yet while he's not with us, his spirit is.

The legendary poet-rap writer was gunned down in 1996, and by four-shots from a gunman in Las Vegas (the video mistakenly reports 1994 as the year Mr. Shakur was murdered.

Now, a man named Dexter Isaac says he was responsible for the 1994 shooting and robbery that, for some time, Sean (P Diddy) Colmes was said to have been responsible for. Isaac also offered that he was paid $2,500 to go after Tupac Shakur.

Think about that.

A man was paid less money that some people make in a month to kill Tupac Shakur. Mr. Isaac must be a sad sack to even think of doing that - messing up his life and Mr. Shakur's for a measly $2,500.

That's just plain nuts, but also shows you how screwed up our culture can be.

Meanwhile, Tupac lives on with us in his way.