BREAKING NEWS!… EXCLUSIVE… 2ND UPDATE: Latest news is that it’s more likely to be the plan for 2012. But outside chance it could be for the next Oscars. Also, Academy executive director Bruce Davis sent out an email scolding AMPAS board members for leaking to me. Hah!
UPDATED: I’ve just learned that, at tonight’s Board of Governors meeting of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, members discussed moving up the 2011 Oscars to sometime in January. You read that right — JANUARY! This would be a shocking change, not just because the ABC telecast of the 83rd Academy Awards would conflict with (or is it more like outfox?) NBC’s competing Golden Globes broadcast. And bump up against the Super Bowl. But it would leap in front of the SAG awards January 30th and the BAFTA awards February 13th and also steal their thunder. It also would condense the awards campaigning for the already chaotic (and I think idiotic) Top 10 Best Picture nominations period, as well as dramatically alter the way studios are timing the release of their movies.
But the moguls see potential plusses. “The awards season is too long currently. This will shorten and reduce the amount of campaigning,” one studio head told me tonight. “Also, it will make the Oscars the definitive awards show again. The Globes can’t move a lot earlier as all the movies wouldn’t be released yet. “The only potential downside is how do people see all the films in time to vote for nominations?”
That’s exactly why this seems nuts. With so many films coming out those last days of December, it leaves even less time for AMPAS members to see the movies they’ll nominate. It also means the studios will have to get DVD screeners into voters’ hands that much sooner, which would only make the piracy risks that much greater. Most of the AMPAS members I know watch the potential nominees over the December 25-January 1 holiday. That won’t be possible.
However, tonight’s Academy board discussion would explain why AMPAS President Tom Sherak is moving so quickly to lock down the Academy Awards producers, director, and soon-to-be host. (83rd Oscar Telecast Producers Announced). The Oscars already moved up from March to February. This would make them earlier still. That’s going to take massive coordination and cooperation. Yet, from a logistical standpoint, no institution utilizes technology less than AMPAS or its voters, too many of whom still don’t have electronic mail. “There’s a ZERO percent chance that the Executive team can figure out how to logistically coordinate voting that soon, especially with all the old people who don’t do electronic mail,” one of my sources says. “And especially because [executive director] Bruce Davis won’t do anything that utilizes technology.”