There were few to no surprises in at the 83rd Academy Awards. Christian Bale won. Melissa Leo. Natalie Portman. All heralded from the guild awards and the Globes. Even the favorite, “The King’s Speech,” cleaned up as expected.
The Oscars are usually handed out at the end of February (and a few experiments in March), more than two months after the previous year (and period of eligibility) has ended. In that time, the major guilds (Directors Guild, Writers Guild, Screen Actors Guild) all hand out their awards.
This is important; the voters in the Academy Awards categories such as acting, directing, and writing, are made up of that field–writers, actors, directors. So the people that make up the guild awards also vote on the same awards at the Oscars–leading to increasingly similar outcomes at the awards shows.
The Golden Globes is a boost for winners, but they don’t always match up (“Social Network” at the Globes, “The King’s Speech” at the Oscars”). Still, all the actors who won acting awards won the Globe as well.
Part of the thrill of the Oscars is wondering who is going to win–what will the surprises be? We haven’t had that in the last three telecasts. Last year’s Oscars went completely as scripted. Ditto for the year “Slumdog Millionaire” was a slam dunk. Marion Cotillard and Tilda Swinton perhaps surprised the year before — but still very little surprises for several years. THIS YEARS OSCARS WENT ALMOST ENTIRELY AS PREDICTED.
So maybe the Oscars need to be earlier. Or have the nominations earlier, so voting can be done before some of the guild’s lock in the winners. Because a few more years of flat races, OR RACES WHERE INFERIOR FILMS PULL AHEAD TOWARD THE END, that’s going to kill some of the excitement in the Oscars.
The show’s ALREADY DOING PRETTY POOR IN THAT YOUNGER DEMO its trying to attract, and the audience was done 20%. If it loses the element of surprise, what’s left, the fashion?