What should be the next Academy Award category to be introduced? Ensemble? Stunts? Cameo?

What should be the next Academy Award category to be introduced? Ensemble? Stunts? Cameo?


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which presents the Oscars, recently announced that in two years, there will be a new category for best achievement in casting. This is the first time in 25 years that a new category has been added. The most recent addition was for best animated feature, which was first awarded in 2001. Some categories, such as sound editing and sound mixing, have been combined in recent years. This may seem confusing to those who only watch the Oscars casually, as the ceremony is already quite long and some awards are given off-air. However, the Academy has decided to add a 24th category.

However, it is worth noting that the number of categories at the Oscars is actually much lower compared to the Grammys or Emmys, which typically have around 100 categories. Additionally, movies are exceptional, making it possible to include more Oscar categories. In fact, if the Academy is feeling generous and does not want to wait over 20 years to add their 25th competitive category, here are five recommendations for potential new areas they could explore:

Best Stunt Coordination

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The Academy and many Oscar enthusiasts have discussed the idea of creating an award specifically for successful, popular films that may not necessarily be favored by Academy members. This suggestion, however, seems unnecessary as big box office hits such as Barbie, Avatar, Inception, and Star Wars have already received nominations for Best Picture (a category that now includes 10 nominees, ensuring the presence of at least one blockbuster film). Instead, a more fitting category would be Best Stunt Coordination, which would recognize the impressive and often-requested work of stunt performers in high-budget action movies. The lack of recognition for this craft has long been a complaint within the industry, with entertainment site Vulture already presenting their own stunt awards to highlight the most impressive and complex action films of the year. If the Oscars were to adopt this category, it is likely that they would only acknowledge the most visually striking stunts rather than truly appreciating the level of skill and effort put into them. However, just imagine the excitement of honoring films like John Wick: Chapter 4 or Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning without feeling like they are being relegated to a lower tier of Best Picture nominees!

Best Choreography

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Choreography and stunt coordination are closely related, but they do not always overlap. Choreography encompasses a wide range of movements, such as fights, dances, dance-fights, and comedic slapstick, that require someone on-set to plan out the movements of bodies, props, and cameras. While breaking into stunt coordination may require experience with major action sequences, the best choreography could lead to opportunities like working on a musical version of Mean Girls or choreographing fight scenes for a film featuring Jason Statham. It’s only six weeks into the year and we already have potential candidates!

Best Ensemble

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The award for Best Casting recognizes the casting director who successfully assembles a group of performers that perfectly fit together in a remarkable ensemble. It is unclear which specific aspects of the casting process will be included, as some bigger stars may be cast based on their reputation or previous relationship with the director. On the other hand, the Best Ensemble award would acknowledge the entire cast as a whole, inspired by the Screen Actors Guild’s approach of treating this category as its Best Picture. This year, films like Oppenheimer, Killers of the Flower Moon, Barbie, Asteroid City, and May December stand out for their extensive and talented casts, providing an opportunity to honor these sprawling ensembles where only a few actors may be recognized in the current categories.

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When it comes to acting awards, the categories for best supporting actor and best supporting actress are considered some of the most peculiar at the Oscars. This is because the process of campaigning often leads to a film having only two or fewer main roles, usually of different genders, leaving everyone else to be classified as “supporting”. This means that a performer labeled as “supporting” can either be a co-lead, such as Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood or Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl, or a scene-stealer with only a few minutes of screen time, like Judi Dench in Shakespeare in Love. Currently, the award tends to favor the former, as a main character has more opportunities to showcase their complex character development. However, is it fair to pit these different types of performances against each other? One solution could be to introduce a new category specifically for featured performances that take up less than 10% of the total screen time. This would give recognition to one-scene wonders like Viola Davis in Doubt (an Oscar nominee) or Tilda Swinton in The Killer (who was not nominated), while still maintaining flexibility in the existing categories. This new category could also be gender-neutral, allowing the Academy to gradually move towards less gendered awards without causing too much disruption.

Best Practical Effects

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In a perfect world, practical effects would be on equal footing with advanced digital work, allowing the visual effects category to showcase the vast range and depth of this art form. However, it appears increasingly unlikely that this coexistence will occur naturally. This year, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, known for its practical effects, did not even make the long list for the category, let alone the final five. Perhaps it is time to divide the category into two fields with three entries each, similar to the original screenplay and adapted screenplay categories. This would create more competition in the digital effects category and may cause some confusion over which category a movie should be entered in, as many films utilize both practical and digital effects. However, it could be a necessary adjustment. When smaller-scale films like Ex Machina and First Man won in this category, it seemed as though the tide was turning towards more modest productions. However, the current trend is leaning towards bigger and grander productions. Wouldn’t it be exciting to see a mid-to-low-budget horror film with a focus on practical effects included in this category? Well, one can dream.

Source: theguardian.com