But to reform the academy, that's just a start. I'd also throw out the awards for sound, costume and art direction, the dire songs, the shorts and the documentaries and the foreign films. OK, throw your bricks this way -- but I think the night of the Oscars has to restore the last few bonds of reality between film and the public. This is hard because the movies are not exactly a mass medium anymore. They belong to a few of us.
But the academy will last only if we believe that movies can sweep us all up -- movies such as "It Happened One Night," "Casablanca," "From Here to Eternity," "The Apartment." So I'd push the technical awards and the science that has already changed the movies, because I think that's what "movie" means to kids now, and I believe that's the future we're headed for. I'd treat Demos as a very important man -- which he is.
I'd also give Oscars for the best deal, the best promotion campaign, the most outrageous agent of the year. I'd give a chutzpah award -- while the term chutzpah is still understood. All because people are in love with the business more than the story.
I'd cut the show in half. I'd make it a dinner party again, instead of an awkward theatrical event.
These days, some of the better films being made in the United States are more like novels than like old-fashioned movies. They have the same weightiness, the same seriousness of intention (not to mention the same limited audience range). I rejoice in much of that, but I insist on saying that they are not quite movies. They are worthy, interesting, respectable.
Movies need to be wild, sensational, visceral, overwhelming. Otherwise, one day the audience is going to wake up and say, "Dad, why do we have the Academy Awards? Shouldn't they be in a home somewhere?"