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Electoral reform hits the Oscars

Jesse Colautti | Fulcrum Staff

The Federal Academy for Review of Cinema Ethics (FARCE) has decided to change the rules behind the electoral process that determines the Oscar winners. The aim of the changes is to establish a more objective and transparent voting procedure, since in recent years the Academy has faced criticism over notably questionable winners. The announcement comes weeks after the most recent Oscar-night debacle, with a historically inaccurate and fabricated true story winning Best Picture.

In a press conference held last week, Lyle Lanley, head of FARCE, explained how the new process will work.

“Each category’s winners will be chosen based on specific and impartial qualifications. Acting categories will now be decided based on four criteria: the age of the actor, how many previous unsuccessful nominations the actor has received, the quality of the Hollywood parties thrown on behalf of the actor, and whether or not the actor has ever played a historically important American political figure,” said Lanley.

“This is essentially the same criteria the Academy uses now for deciding winners; we are just trying to standardize the procedures so that people better understand the process,” he continued. “In order to make the process as fair as possible, winners will be chosen by the least corruptible and objective judges available, which our research shows to be toddlers aged one to three.”

A sample group of 10 toddlers from across the country will be chosen to decide upon the winners. Although some fear that this will lead to a bias towards movies with bright colours and talking animals, Lanley says FARCE isn’t concerned.

“It’s all about creating a fair process,” he says, “and who didn’t enjoy the Cats & Dogs trilogy anyway?”

Three-time Oscar winner Daniel May-Lincoln thinks it’s about time for such reforms.

“The Academy needed to make a change. The public outrage over Sandra Bullock’s 2010 Oscar win is a great example of people just not understanding the criteria properly. The parties she threw that year were unbelievable. Standardizing the process like this just means everybody will finally understand that the Oscars are about so much more than quality.”

Categories that have historically received little attention—pretty much anything related to the technical and practical development of films—have also received a facelift in an attempt to make them more accessible. All these categories will now be decided in a live archery competition in which the nominees will attempt to shoot pictures of young vampires and zombies. FARCE based this decision on research that has shown these themes to be universally successful in today’s entertainment culture.

The winners of these categories will no longer be granted time for speeches, as the academy has decided to devote more time in the program to musical numbers degrading women, promising for next year a more complete list of female actresses who have displayed their breasts on camera.

Lanley says these changes were made only after a long decision process, whereby each alternative was considered.

“We looked at changing the voting procedure to that of a popular vote, but found that too much would be decided in so called ’swing’ states. Ohio was going to be given an unfair amount of attention compared to such historically pro-romantic-comedy states as Oregon,” said Lanley. “And then we considered putting the vote in the hands of the Supreme Court, but realized they couldn’t ever come to a clear decision, and would most likely only enflame the debate.”

Lanley’s final words on the matter were, “No matter what, it’ll be better than the Grammy Awards.”