4 New Oscars Categories We’d Like To See
Every year it’s the same refrain: “The Oscars aren’t long enough!” OK, nobody says that. But if, somehow, another couple of hours could be added to the longest show in show business, how would you fill them? We think these new categories might really justify it.
Best Voice Acting
Animated movies have two categories all to themselves and can creep into a lot of other categories, including Best Song, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Screenplay, and, on very rare occasions, even Best Picture. But those categories don’t reward the voice actors themselves, and animated movies never enter the four acting categories. The existing system means that talented people who work with their voices instead of their bodies don’t have a chance. That could, of course, be fixed if the Academy would simply nominate vocal performances for normal acting Oscars.
But perhaps everybody would be happier, and a greater number of deserving actors would have a chance, if there were simply a Best Voice Acting category. Motion-capture artists like Andy Serkis and Benedict Cumberbatch might also find themselves bundled under that umbrella from time to time, though this year might have favored an Amy Poehler or a Phyllis Smith from Pixar’s Inside Out. — David Conrad
Best Ensemble Cast
Honoring individual actors is a great thing, and there are many times where one performance truly rises above, but every year I see a few movies that leave me itching for an ensemble cast award. Films like The Big Short, Spotlight, and Trumbo may have great individual performances, but the films stand out not because of Christian Bale, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Bryan Cranston, but because of the incredibly solid work from the film’s entire cast. The Screen Actors Guild has just such an award, and the above-mentioned films are three of its nominees this year, along with Beasts of No Nation and Straight Outta Compton, which were both notably overlooked by the Academy for acting nominations.
My personal nominees for the hypothetical category of 2015 ensemble cast? The Big Short, Ex Machina, Inside Out, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and What We Do in the Shadows, with the win going narrowly to Ex Machina. While it had a small cast, there wasn’t a single performance in that movie that wasn’t something special. — Hannah Keefer
Best Stunt Coordinator
This is a key group of moviemakers that has tried to get recognition from the Academy for years. Stunt coordinator Jack Gill (whose credits include The Hangover Part III and Furious 7) has petitioned the Oscars many times over the past two decades, to no avail, to create a new category for the people who design and implement a film’s intricate stunt work.
It’s a category deserving of recognition. Certainly it would be a category much like Best Visual Effects, where the “showiest” examples of such work would get the most recognition. That’s how it should be, as such work would often be the most complex. Picture a Stunt Oscar being added to The Matrix‘s haul of technical awards. Or a 14th award in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King‘s clean sweep. This year, films like Furious 7 and Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation would be in the running, though the award would undoubtedly go to Best Picture nominee Mad Max: Fury Road, which has already been widely hailed for keeping so many things real in front of the camera despite all those flashy visual effects. — Nigel Druitt
While I do want there to be respect for the sort of work performed by voice actors, casting directors, and stunt coordinators at the Academy Awards, I feel that it’s vital for more people to get credit for the work they do in existing categories. Why aren’t voice actors given Best Actor nominations when someone like Tom Noonan in Anomalisa or Amy Poehler in Inside Out gives an amazing performance? Why aren’t critical darling films like Inside Out, or the Best Documentary winners, or the Best Foreign Language Film winners, being considered for Best Picture nominations? Rather than isolate these things in their own categories (leading to categories for animated and foreign films, which are genres that Academy members resist even watching), why not expand the main categories?
In positive steps, Inside Out is nominated for Best Original Screenplay this year. I’m not a huge fan of Inside Out, but I’m not blind to the way it’s resonated or the way it has illustrated depression and emotion to thousands of people. Its structure, theme, and narrative are something that deserves to be lauded. Let’s hope the narrow ways the Academy defines “acting,” “writing,” and superlative filmmaking continues to broaden and get closer to the truth. — Alex Christian Lovendahl