I doubt many of you cared or even thought twice of it when during the 2009 Oscar nominations Forrest Whitaker announced The Reader as a Best Picture nominee and when it came time to announce the producers he said, “Nominees to be announced.” The reason this happened is because the Academy has one hell of an arbitrary and pointless rule when it comes to producers listed for a Best Picture contender and that is the list must be no more than three names. This situation last popped up when Little Miss Sunshine was nominated and producers Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa were not included on the list of nominees as a result of this rule.
Producer credits for Academy Award Best Picture nominee The Reader have been determined by the Producers Branch Executive Committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The official nominees for the film are Anthony Minghella, Sydney Pollack, Donna Gigliotti and Redmond Morris.
Because four producers were listed on the credits form submitted for Oscar consideration and Academy rules allow for only three producers — except in “a rare and extraordinary circumstance” — to be nominated and potentially receive Oscar statuettes, a meeting of the executive committee was necessary.
In this case I have to assume the “rare and extraordinary circumstance” would be that both Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack have passed away and as deserving as it is that both their names be included on the list, this speaks volumes to the stupidity of the rule in the first place. No offense, but Pollack and Minghella being dead doesn’t make them any more deserving than Berger and Yerxa. Are you telling me the only way to get an Oscar nomination in some cases is to die?
The hate is already boiling over around the Internet following The Reader‘s Best Picture nomination. It is the worst reviewed of the Best Picture nominees receiving only 60% at RottenTomatoes and it’s also one of the least seen Best Picture nominees with only $9.6 million to its credit after being only released in 507 theaters. Could Harvey Weinstein pull out the miracle and turn what many are now calling “Nazi porn” into a Best Picture winner?
If you took the time to watch the video I posted with David Denby of the “New Yorker” and A.O. Scott from the “New York Times” you saw they believe Milk is the frontrunner over Slumdog Millionaire and for good reason, primarily the fact it is American and as Scott says, “I think the Oscars are an odd phenomena because what theyâ€™re really about is not the best movies of a given year, but the American film industry’s image of itself.” Makes sense.
Stay tuned for more Oscar coverage as I will begin making my predictions on Thursday.