An Oscars revamp
Thomson starts off by noticing that Gary Demos, who won a Sci-Tech Award from the Academy earlier in the month, doesn't get props on the Sunday TV spectacular, despite having helped create the field of computer-generated effects. Thomson writes:
And Gary Demos? Well, as far as I can see, he is a pioneering genius who did much of the theoretical work in computer-generated imagery, which now thrives on its ability to put a copy of life, light, etc. on our screens. I'm not knocking Demos, even if I generally dislike the victory of digital imagery over photography. He received his award on Feb. 18, but I would have handed it out on the real Oscar night, and I would have explained in detail what he has done because — for good or ill — that's where the mind of our movies is today.
But to reform the academy, that's just a start. I'd also throw out the awards for sound, costume and art direction, the dire songs, the shorts and the documentaries and the foreign films. OK, throw your bricks this way — but I think the night of the Oscars has to restore the last few bonds of reality between film and the public. This is hard because the movies are not exactly a mass medium anymore. They belong to a few of us.
But the academy will last only if we believe that movies can sweep us all up — movies such as "It Happened One Night," "Casablanca," "From Here to Eternity," "The Apartment." So I'd push the technical awards and the science that has already changed the movies, because I think that's what "movie" means to kids now, and I believe that's the future we're headed for. I'd treat Demos as a very important man — which he is.
I'd also give Oscars for the best deal, the best promotion campaign, the most outrageous agent of the year. I'd give a chutzpah award — while the term chutzpah is still understood. All because people are in love with the business more than the story.
I'd cut the show in half. I'd make it a dinner party again, instead of an awkward theatrical event.