There’s really only one thing to report out of today’s big AMPAS conclave: the entire membership of the Academy will now be able to participate in the final vote for all 24 categories at the Oscars. And that wasn’t even part of the business at hand, it was something the Board of Governors had decided upon, so they just went ahead and announced it in tandem.
The move was teased last season when screeners of the documentary features and short films were made available so the membership could vote in those categories rather than prove that they saw the nominees at sanctioned screenings. Now they’re just adding the foreign language films and documentary shorts to that list, opening up, for the first time ever, the entire field to the entire Academy.
Academy president Hawk Koch noted a “90% record voter turnout” as reason to push ahead with the rule changes, though, again, we’re just taking the Academy’s word for it that voter turnout was so impressive. And of course, there’s nuance in that figure, because it’s not like 90% of the entire membership voted. “Koch told me 96% of those who signed up to vote electronically did so, while 87% of those who signed up for paper ballots eventually voted that way,” reports Pete Hammond at Deadline. “Those who” voted.
Apparently the decision to hire producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron again was defended, and the ratings boost last year was offered again as support. It’s just staggering to me that one could be so blind as to not understand the ratings are about the movies, not the show. At least one member who Hammond talked to gets it.
There was talking of “going green,” there was museum discussion, there was electronic voting debate and response to the event was mostly positive. But it honestly just sounds, from the various reports, like members were just glad to be involved in the process rather than leave everything to the Board of Governors.