For the 2015 awards season, Edward Norton enjoyed the honor of a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination for his role in Birdman. This nod from one’s peers is amongst the most coveted moments an actor can enjoy, and the search for validation sends grown adults into student council election mode. The only problem with Edward’s nomination is that he didn’t enjoy the process much. The back pats must have been flattering at first, but the process takes months. Norton didn’t even suffer as much as Michael Keaton, whose campaign somehow continued long past the awards season itself.
Birdman crusaded like a champ. It’s a wonder that director Alejandro González Iñárritu had a spare moment to direct his next overwrought production with all his campaigning. In addition to all the pavement pounding from nominees themselves, studios waged expensive “for your consideration” ads. Norton believes the whole process is a waste, and it places indie movies in a precarious financial position. Norton has some thoughts on how to staunch the Oscar-related wallet bleeding:
“I’ve talked about this with some people. I think the Academy could do things. Nobody in the industry cares about any of it except the Academy, which carries weight, because they’re peers. The rest of it is seen as a dog and pony show. The Academy, which is a private organization, could save the industry by saying, “It’s our award and we can do whatever we want.” They could say that any film putting out paid solicitation ads of any kind – all these for your consideration ads that cost millions and millions of dollars, which just solicit awards – they could say that any film using them is disqualified from the Academy Awards. It would end it overnight.”
Norton, who must not have held a meeting with Harvey “Scissorhands” Weinstein before this interview, believes the studios would love his idea:
“It’s not that radical. The studios would fall over dead, they’d be so happy. They don’t want to spend that money. I think they could go further. They could do things like say, “Look, we care about the Academy brand. You can go to your private appearances and your guild awards. If they’re televised, then you’re disqualified from the Academy Awards.” People would be like, “I guess that’s that. I’m not going.”
Yeah, this won’t happen. The awards circuit only helps indie movies that few people would otherwise watch without the buzz. Plus, the TV and fashion industries profit from televised awards shows, and the advertisers clearly get something out of the bargain, as well. Norton could always refuse to attend awards shows on his own, but that’s probably about as far as this will get.