A Simple Plan
I didn’t initially think of a plan to propose for this year, but a rather simple solution came to mind. I think that using the existing rule about qualifying American of English-language films with regards to running time and a one-week engagement in Los Angeles (maybe for this category they can even add New York) that the Academy can shortlist some outstanding foreign films that have already gotten US exposure, and thus, hedge their bets about having some further interest in the potential pool of nominees. That would be Phase One.
Phase Two would, and could, operate in much the same way the foreign language submissions currently work. The US-released foreign films that could get shortlisted would likely encompass many of the nations that could benefit from additional submissions due to their history and high quality (France, Sweden, Germany, Japan, etc.) as well as those who may have multi-cultural populations and produce films in multiple languages (China, India, Belgium, Canada, etc.).
Essentially, this idea would be the smallest increase in eligible films of any I’d proposed. My first was the largest with a World-Cup-inspired merit system, the next also nearly doubled things. If a shortlist is, for the sake of argument 12 titles, this years submissions would be up to 88.
The Oscars do signify something, a much larger something to those whose eyes and ears are not glued to the process. I can’t argue that there isn’t prestige and that I don’t love the show. I have come to embrace the fact that Oscar winners are really about films easiest to build consensus around. Therefore, the committees, at least to some degree, operate correctly. What needs to be rectified is the fallacy that only one film per nation is worthy of Oscar consideration. The Oscars are the ultimate audience and judge so let them, add to the pot along with whatever films come their way via national committees.
The bottom line is that every year there’s a new facet I consider about the imperfections of the system. And, in fairness, based on what I’ve read, the Academy is working towards improvements on this category. I’m not sure that the entire membership voting on the winner is a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s a change. More changes still need to be made, more things taken into consideration when pooling candidates as I think I’ve shown in a number of ways.