Has the Cinema Academy succeeded in transforming the Oscars?

For a few years, the Oscars seemed to hang by a thread. The audience was plummeting. And along came a pandemic that didn’t help. Plus, the Academy behind Hollywood’s biggest night kept finding itself on the wrong side of the conversation – think #OscarsSoWhite, the bad envelope blunder, the off-air awards , or to the sinister slap of Will Smith.


And then a funny thing happened: interest began to increase, both inside and outside the Academy. It seemed like people were excited about the movies and, the Academy hopes, the Oscars.

“It’s been an incredible year for cinema in general,” said Bill Kramer, CEO of the Academy, in a recent interview with the Associated Press. Our artistic discipline has never been more relevant. »

The scale and support of the general public for the 10 titles nominated this year for the best film prize are proof of this. There are big budget films, small independent productions, two international films and two bilingual films.

And whether or not you think that barbie has been snubbed in a few other categories, people continue to talk and debate about what will happen in the 96e Oscar ceremony on March 10.

A unifying moment

After some rough patches, the Oscars may have finally reached “their X.” But that comes as no surprise to Academy leaders, who have been working behind the scenes to foster this type of development as the 100th approaches.e birthday. Bill Kramer and Janet Yang, the Academy’s president, who took office in 2022, view the organization as an international entity. They are no longer defensive, but rather look to the future.

“We are unique in that we represent all disciplines of the industry. No other organization can claim this,” said Mme Yang.

Nearly a century ago, this “unification” was not part of the plan. In fact, Louis B. Mayer had the idea of ​​creating the Academy in part to thwart efforts to unionize artisans, under the pretext that it would help establish standards. In reality, he hoped that the big studio owners would set these standards with only their own interests in mind.

But Mayer’s dream quickly faded, and by the 1930s, writers, actors, and directors all banded together into unions.

PHOTO CHRIS PIZZELLO, INVISION/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Janet Yang and Bill Kramer, heads of the Oscar Academy

A more diverse Academy

The Academy as a “catalyst for change” is nothing new: it has a long history of offering programs to help emerging artists. And his aggressive move to diversify its roster was in place before Janet Yang and Bill Kramer took action in response to the #OscarsSoWhite and public revelations that the Academy was largely made up of older white men.

Both leaders have also taken more proactive steps in recent years to impact the industry they award awards to, including implementing strict diversity and inclusion standards that took effect this year , to accept nominations in the Best Film category.

The Academy now has more than 10,500 members, representing more than 75 countries and territories. Although parity is still a work in progress, 20% of members are from outside the United States, 34% identify as women, and 18% are from underrepresented ethnic communities.

“Not everyone sings in tune and not everyone feels the same. But we can bring everyone together,” says Bill Kramer.

Get closer to the public

There has also been an emphasis on audience engagement through social media, often drawing on the Academy’s very rich archives – whether vintage acceptance speeches or simply Memorable moments from past Oscars.

The Instagram account has nearly 4 million subscribers and the YouTube channel is full of funny or touching videos.

Interest in film history has also sparked excitement around the Academy of Cinema Museum in Los Angeles, which houses more than 23 million memorabilia and has hosted exhibits on everything from Hayao Miyazaki to the history of African-American cinema through The Godfather or the films of John Waters.

Mr. Kramer points out that about half of the visitors are under 40 years old.


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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