Best Picture going to Director and Producer, with no Best Director Academy award.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Paul_D, Feb 15, 2002.

  1. Paul_D

    Paul_D Cinematographer

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    I've never heard the reasoning behind giving the Best Picture Oscar to the Producers of a film, and awarding the Best Director separately. It's always made more sense to me to give a Picture award to both parties and abolish the Director award. I've always found it hard to understand how one could judge one film as best picture, but acknowledge a different director as the year's best.

    Does anyone have a coherant explanation for this? Wouldn't it make more sense the other way?

    Btw, I think this is a sufficiently broad discussion about the nature of the Academy Awards, that it shouldn't get stuck at the tail end of an already quite mundane nominations discussion.
     
  2. Guy_K

    Guy_K Second Unit

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    I think Best Director should be one award, and Best Picture should be another with both the director and producers accepting.

    The way I see it is like a painting. The best technique, color usage, and interperatation should go to the artist, and the best overall painting should go to the artist and the people who put up the money to make the painting.
     
  3. Thi Them

    Thi Them Producer

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    I would like to see as many people who are involved with the Best Picture winner get up on stage, like they do for the Emmys.

    ~T
     
  4. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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  5. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    I see your point, but I think I can defend the Academy's position.

    A director is largely responsible for what hits the screen, but there are many things he doesn't touch, and needs support from the producer.

    A producer is more than a money man. His job is to coordinate the production, making sure that not only the bills are paid, but that crew is in place, construction is completed on time.

    And the Academy's view on giving the best picture award to the producer stems back to the Academy's roots where it was generally considered that a producer had a bigger role in the overall movie. Since then, the auteur theory has come about and been embraced. The auteur theory is that the director, not the producer, is the 'author' of the movie.

    The director controls shots, the look of the picture and all, but even if he does his job perfectly, there are elements out of his control such as the script and the performances (he only guides them, and no matter how hard he screams sometimes an actor will do things their way).

    Before I'd jettison the director award, I'd give statuettes to the entire above the line crew, and at least plaques to the below the line crew since what Best Picture has come to mean is overall, everything associated with this movie is the best. Sure there might be something with better individual achievments, but this is the movie that all of the ingredients came together and made an outstanding movie.
     
  6. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    I think giving the Best PIcture award to the producer stems from the Academy Awards being founded under the old studio system. under that system directors were farmed around like actors and generally it was the producer who saw a project through from start to finish, that was overseeing every aspect of the production from initial concept/script to the final cut. This worked well because film has always been an entertaiment business first, artform second. The studios could make a great deal of money by delegating authority to a few producers who could in turn produce several films a year, these producers would then delegate the parts of the movie out as they saw fit, the director worked with teh actors elicting the right preformance and teh cinematographer gettign the right images on the screen, while the producer oversaw. people under the producer would only work on a handful of films a year, compared to the many films a producer might produce. So the best picture oscar went to teh producer because he really was responsible for the whole product more than a director was. However with the rise of the great early directors Ford, Lean, REnoir, Kubrick etc... and the subsequent rise of the auteur in teh seventies this system broke apart and as often as not you see that most directors also at least coproduce their film. However producers still do quite alot, they work with the project from the script stage to the finished film by getting the right actors and director attached to make a good film, you don't see this as often now but it still is occuring. A producer is still EXTREMELY important int eh filmmaking process, and deserve their oscar for a best picture, as much, if not more so, than the director. THe director is a visible icon, though and are often attributed more credit than they deserve. (editing is at least as important as directing, as is screenwriting).

    Adam
     
  7. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Well really the producer (not the money producers but the active ones) does make the biggest difference to what movie you see.

    They buy the script, decide on rewrites, get all the above-the-line stuff done (major stars, director), often have a say in any technical choices like WHO will do the effects, makeup, etc.

    Often a director might also do production work, but production work IS different from direction, just as cinematography is also different from direction.

    We are used to thinking of PRIME directors who have clout or indy directors who do all the work themselves, but many directors are far from independent of the producer's choices.

    Heck, one episode of Project Greenlight should tell you why there are seperate awards.

    I happen to think that the 2 awards should be split more often than they are. I actually often don't see the connection (like Dances With Wolves, great cinematography, great film, direction average).
     
  8. Dana Fillhart

    Dana Fillhart Supporting Actor

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    This year's LotR:FotR I think also could define the need for separate awards. While it is extremely debatable on which picture overall is "the best" (of the 5 nominees), when it comes to the movie's direction, the mere fact that Jackson achieved the vision of filming a novel that everybody said couldn't be done, puts his accomplishments in a much brighter spotlight; and when you learn of the incredible, grueling nature of the process behind the scenes, and how the final product even managed to see the light of day...I can't help but think that Jackson's efforts stand in a class all by themselves. The other 4 nominees might be debatable against Jackson, but Jackson's efforts show why the direction (at least this year) SHOULD be considered separately from the overall film.
     
  9. Paul_D

    Paul_D Cinematographer

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  10. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    There are just so many other elements involved besides direction. I mean, look at Alien 3. Terrible Film, but awesome direction.
     
  11. Tim Raffey

    Tim Raffey Stunt Coordinator

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    But isn't the direction a fundementally ENORMOUS part of what a film is??
     
  12. Scott H

    Scott H Supporting Actor

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    These are appropriately separate awards for separate roles.

    Absolutely, Tim. Direction is a fundamentally enormous part of what a film is. Just as cinematography. And art direction, etc. But a film may definitely be exceptionally well directed, but not an exceptional film. For example, a film may feature great acting, beautiful cinematography, wonderful music, immaculate sets, yet in the end be a disinteresting story. Car analogy: some are beautiful to look at, but have no soul.

    In the upcoming Academy Awards, I think that the Best Director award should go to Robert Altman. I have not made up my mind on Best Picture.
     
  13. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Tim. Yes it is. I would even go so far as to say that a film with terrible direction will fail even when all else is perfect. However, if direction is the ONLY thing that fell into place, then the movie doesn't deserve Best Picture but the director deserves Best Director.
     

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