Oscars Weekend: Why the Academy Awards Should be Comic-Con for Movies | Fanboys Anonymous

Oscars Weekend: Why the Academy Awards Should be Comic-Con for Movies

Posted by Anthony Mango Monday, December 3, 2018

The Academy Awards have been struggling with trying to appeal to mass audiences, while not losing the so-called "prestige" of still being the go-to measuring stick for film recognition.

Other awards like the Golden Globes get made fun of in comparison to the Academy Awards, but whenever the discussion is focused solely on the Oscars, people have more than enough complaints.

Why is there no Best Stunt Coordination category? Why are motion capture performances not recognized? Why aren't comedies and comic book movies able to get nominated for the more serious awards and have to only rely on things like visual effects?

They even tried to make a separate award this year that would have given recognition to a film for being a pop culture icon in an attempt to split the difference of Best Picture and Most Influential or whatever the hell they were going to call it, but we all saw right through it as a means to avoid nominating something like Black Panther for Best Picture, and once the academy was called out on that, they dropped the idea.

So how do you draw audiences to watch these ceremonies and make it a big deal while giving praise to as many movies as possible, but not diluting it too much or making the show last too many hours?

You make it an event extravaganza, instead of a one-night broadcast.

Just look at the success of things like San Diego Comic Con and apply that to the future of the Academy Awards.

People don't digest media the same ways they used to. The news isn't something we have to tune in to every night at 6 p.m. to understand what happened elsewhere in the world when we can check on our phones 24/7 to get more frequent updates on what is going on.

Twitch hosts Games Done Quick, which is a charity marathon of speed running video games that people can tune in to multiple days in a row. WWE has WrestleMania Weekend that has an entire slew of events like TakeOver and Axxess and the Hall of Fame and WrestleMania itself along with Raw and SmackDown that are all tied together in various ways.

There should be an Oscars Weekend that is similar to a convention of sorts, wherein there is more time to be dedicated to a wider variety of content before there is a "main show" that sticks out as the best of the best.

Obviously, I don't have all of the plans sorted out 100% due to details that I haven't thought of yet, but I think I have a pretty solid idea of a template of how the Academy Awards could be mapped out to take full advantage of this kind of setup:

Lifetime Achievement Night

This would be similar to WWE's Hall of Fame, in certain regards, wherein the whole event is dedicated to recognition of past accomplishments.

This is where the In Memoriam tribute would take place. It's where certain Lifetime Achievement Awards would be given out. It's even a chance to retroactively give awards to films that should have won for years where certain categories didn't exist, like giving a Best Animated Film to several different movies from the past (The Lion King, for instance).

The Acting Block

The voting for this would in part be influenced by the Screen Actors Guild, but not entirely dedicated to just those members being able to vote. The same goes for all other guilds in other categories, by the way. Maybe SAG people have slightly weighted votes or something, I don't know. We'll figure out those details in a committee.

Awards for this block would include the standard leading role ones and supporting roles, but it would also open up the availability for more categories.

Best Cast / Ensemble would definitely be one, as would Best Vocal Performance (or Best Voice Actor/Actress) for voiceover parts like animated films, as would Best Motion Capture Performance to finally give recognition to the individuals responsible for bringing those elements to the screen (which would be a shared award between the actors doing the mo-cap work and the visual effects artists on the CGI side).

The Writing and Directing Block

Best Director. Best Film Editing. Best Adapted Screenplay. Best Original Screenplay. Those are definitely a thing here.

Maybe you include some other categories, too, like Best Trailer or Marketing Campaign to include that aspect of filmmaking. So on and so forth.

Again, maybe there is a weighted vote with members of the Writers Guild of America and Directors Guild of America, but you allow voting for people who aren't in those organizations, too, of course.

The Genre Block

Here's where things get very interesting. I feel like something that gets lost in the shuffle every year with the Academy Awards is how many films aren't nominated for the more serious categories because they don't fit the standard Oscar-bait checklist of being historical dramas and such.

To counteract that, and to get people who are interested in all sorts of different things, there should be an entire section dedicated to differentiating these genres and giving credit where it is due, because maybe a movie isn't the overall best film of the entire year, but it's the best comedy, and that should get some credit.

The way I see it, you could have these subcategories, but maybe I'd be open to adding more:

  • Best Animated Film
  • Best Comedic Film
  • Best Horror / Thriller Film
  • Best Dramatic Film
  • Best Action / Adventure Film
  • Best Musical Film
  • Best Documentary

If you're wondering why Sci-Fi and Fantasy aren't up there, it's because I look at them as not being qualifiers to split them from another section. For instance, Star Wars is a Sci-Fi Fantasy Action film, so it goes under Action/Adventure. Avengers: Infinity War goes under Action/Adventure. Something like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is clearly Fantasy, but it's more of a Drama, so it goes under Drama. That's where you make the judgment call.

No Romance category. Those are either dramas or comedies. That's why we classify them as "romantic comedies / rom-coms" and such. Westerns are either dramas or action for the most part. Film noir is usually either drama, thriller or action. Crime is either drama or thriller. War films are either drama or action. Disaster films are pretty much action. Mockumentary can be either comedy or documentary.

I think I have everything covered, don't I? The only exception I can see is Best Foreign Language Film, but why are those given a separate award instead of just being factored into the other ones? Movies from all over the world have the potential to win every award. If you want, make that a separate award again, but don't bother having Best Foreign Language Comedy and all the other divisions just for non-American films. This is basically an American institution, after all.

The Technical Block

Here is where you dig deep into the more technical filmmaking side of things. They already have a separate night with the Scientific and Technical Awards, which would basically be the same thing, but with a more magnified scope.

Here is where you acknowledge things like the milestones in the advancement of film that happened that year, such as the creation of new cameras, lighting techniques, and so on.

But it's also where you can dive deeper into the more specific variations of categories.

For instance, I've always been under the impression Sound Editing and Sound Mixing should be merged together to be Best Sound Design. I know that my ignorance in the field contributes to that, and I'm sure there are reasons why they have that separate, but the average person doesn't understand that, so why not have the best of both worlds? In the technical block, you can have Sound Editing and Sound Mixing separate, but when you get down to the Main Show ceremony, that's where you've merged the two together as Best Sound Design.

This is where you do Visual Effects, Cinematography, Editing, Makeup, Hairstyling, Costumes, etc. But everything is also made up of subdivisions within the subdivisions.

For example, Technical Awards: Audio, which covers original song, score, sound editing, sound mixing, etc. Technical Awards: Visual, which covers effects, cinematography, etc. Hell, you can even have Best Titles come back and give credit to the best opening or end credit titles sequences. That's the beauty of splitting things up.

The Main Show

So the way you cap everything off on the final night is to have the Main Show ceremony. This is where all of the previous stuff comes together as one big sendoff that most people will focus on more than anything else, but the hardcore film fanatics will have been paying attention the entire week.

On the Main Show, a section of the broadcast would be dedicated to recapping what had happened previously on the other days. It wouldn't take long, because if people are truly interested, they can check the internet for more information and they should have just watched all of the other footage to begin with (or any of the number of recap shows outlets like Fanboys Anonymous, Screen Junkies, Collider and so on would have provided).

Categories on the Main Show would be a funnel of everything in that something like Best Actor/Actress and Best Supporting Actor/Actress would consist of every possible option, just like it currently does and how I merge things on the Fanboys Film Awards. You can get nominated for any genre film in any circumstance.

Best Picture would be the 5-10 films that THE ENTIRETY of the voting community agreed upon are the 5-10 best overall films of the year. I don't know how exactly you do that voting process, but maybe it's a system based on each individual person picking 10 movies in a weighted format and then adding that all together through some statistical math formula that balances things out. That's up to other people to figure out the technicalities of what works best.

The Main Show is where the red carpet happens. It's very similar to what we have now, but maybe streamlined a bit more, because you've already given credit to a lot of other things, and people don't have to have speeches that last forever, because they've already had their platform to speak and give thanks on previous days.

Categories would include:

Best Picture

- This would be the film that combines all aspects to make the overall best product. It has the right balance of directing, editing, screenplay, acting, etc.

Best Director

- This would be awarded to the person who did the best job bringing a film to life, but maybe it fell short a bit on the story aspect or something.

Best Screenplay/Story

- This merges adapted and original, because we have a distinction of that separately. It is the film that has the best overall story, but maybe fell short on the acting or directing or visual side of things.

Best Actor

Best Actress

Best Supporting Actor

Best Supporting Actress

- No changes to these four categories. They're still the biggest draws in a lot of ways.

Best Visuals

- This merges visual effects, production design, cinematography, etc

Best Character Design

- This is makeup, hairstyling and costume design.

Best Music (or Best Original Song + Best Score)

- An argument can be made to merge these two or keep them separate. I'm open to both ideas.

Best Sound Design

Best Documentary

- This includes both feature length and shorts.

Best Animated Film

- This includes both feature length and shorts.

Most Popular Film

- Yes, create that award, and make it so the voting is open to the public to give them a voice.

Extra Amenities

Keep in mind that if this is a multi-day event, you can incorporate other elements to the mix other than just the awards being given out.

You can host film screenings of the movies that are being nominated on a round the clock basis for people to check out. You can have panels like comic con. Autograph sessions can take place. The red carpet can be a whole show in its own just for the people who want to focus on fashion in some way.

The possibilities are endless for extra things you can do on the side and how this could expand.

That's a Wrap

There you have it. That's my plan. Treat it like a convention for movie lovers, similar to how comic conventions are dedicated to people who follow the geek culture spectrum like superheroes and such, and how there are video game conventions for gamers, music festivals and so on.

If it works this well, you can even branch off the concept into the Emmy Awards and do something similar for television!!

This way, it becomes a true event that lasts more than just one night where people can avoid watching the show and then finding out the results on their morning Facebook feed and the people who are truly entertained by film can lavish in it for a weekend, while even more awards are given out to rain praise on the people who did a damn good job that year.

I think this is the true future of the Academy Awards and the only way it will survive the changes in mainstream media and the entertainment industry that are currently unfolding.

Tell me what you think of this idea in the comments below, and if you're an executive working for The Academy and you love this idea, we need to talk, so send me a message.


Tony Mango is the founder, editor-in-chief, head writer and podcast host of Fanboys Anonymous as well as all other A Mango Tree branches including Smark Out Moment. He is a pundit, creative director/consultant, fiction writer and more. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.