Earlier this year we saw the Academy Awards go through a number of changes in format in an attempt to boost ratings and maintain public interest, most notably with the addition of 5 extra nominees in the Best Picture category. Now it looks like there could be a big change on the Oscar front once again, with the Academy members contemplating a move to January for next year’s ceremony. For as long as I can remember, the Oscars have always taken place in March, with the exception of a few recent ceremonies that pushed it to the end of February. This would be a pretty big change that might seriously alter the entire award process… so why are they thinking of doing it?
According to Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood, one of the big reasons is that it would reduce the time required to run an Oscar campaign. Currently, that process is just too long and too expensive for studios. However, the other main advantage is that it would place the Oscars earlier than most of the other year end awards, including the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards, and the BAFTAs, making it the “definitive” awards show.
I actually like this possibility for that very reason, because most of the other awards just wear people out and make them care even less about the Oscars. This would allow the Oscars to strike while people are still interested and talking about the highlights of the year. The main problem is that it seriously reduces the amount of time that Academy members would have to see potential nominees. With so many Oscar-worthy films getting released right at the end of December, they would have to start shifting these kinds of releases at least a month earlier. The Academy as a whole seems somewhat slow-moving and resistant to change, so it’s unclear just how likely this move to January might be. But personally I am kind of hoping it happens, even though it could effectively kill a lot of the other movie-related awards shows out there. What do you think about the Oscars in January… good idea or bad idea?