Most film fans agree that the Baftas and the Oscars are the climax of the cinematic year. But, paradoxically, most film fans also agree that they are a bit rubbish: predictable, boring, too white and too inclined to honour the wrong films. Rather than grumbling about these flaws, The New Review has come up with eight ways to make awards shows sparkle as brightly as their trophies…
Hire more female hosts
Considering the lack of diversity at the Oscars and Baftas, it might help to diversify the MCs. In America, the ideal candidates would be Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Amy Schumer. In Britain, well, we all enjoy seeing Meryl Streep grinning up in giddy adoration at Stephen Fry, like a parishioner hearing the vicar make a cheeky joke about the village cat, but this year's Bafta ceremony will be Fry's tenth. How about Tracey Ullman next time? Her uncanny impressions of Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith would go down a storm.
Insist that voters see more films
If you glance at this year's nominees, you may get the feeling that the voters simply haven't watched many films, which is why they plumped for the obvious, heavily advertised choices. It might vary proceedings if Academy members were required to see a minimum of 50 new films a year. Last year's Man Booker judges had to plough through 156 novels, after all.
Spice things up with a one-in, one-out policy for Best Picture winners
Atone for past sins by taking back the trophy from a previous winner. The Oscars, in particular, have given their top prize to some creaky films over the years, from How Green Was My Valley to A Beautiful Mind. So why not expunge these embarrassments with a one-in, one-out policy? That is, for every new Best Picture award that's presented, an earlier one could be rescinded; 2006's winner, Crash, would surely be first on the hitlist.
Insist that every Best Film nominee is drawn from a different month
A glut of Oscar-baiting prestige films is always released around Christmas; that way, studios ensure their favoured contenders are fresh in voters' goldfish-like memories. It would be better for cinemagoers if these quality films were spread throughout the year. If such a rule prompted Academy members to look beyond po-faced dramas and include more comedies and blockbusters, so much the better.
Oscars: scrap the Best Animated Feature category
It was a welcome innovation when it was introduced in 2001. But, unfortunately, the category is now used to consign such deserving Best Picture nominees as Inside Out to their own little cartoon ghetto. Besides, the forgettable Big Hero 6 was picked as Best Animated Feature last year, while The Lego Movie wasn't even nominated: irrefutable proof that the category isn't fit for purpose.
Baftas: Scrap the vapid scripted introductions
It's a cruel and unusual punishment to make Elijah Wood squint at an autocue and intone, "Where would films be without their scores? Music establishes the mood. It gets us tapping our feet. Sometimes it's loud. Sometimes it features a bassoon." YES, WE KNOW WHAT MUSIC IS! JUST HAND OVER THE AWARD!
Split the Acting categories into one prize for playing a fictional character and another for playing a real person
At this year's Oscars, four of the five Best Actor nominees played historical figures. Just because you can mimic a beloved transgender pioneer or revered scientist doesn't mean you should be a shoo-in for the top award. Yes, we're looking at you, Eddie Redmayne.
Ban 'thank yous'
Imagine if every winner was disqualified if they thanked their agents or co-stars in their acceptance speech. They could thank them on Twitter, of course – or even, you know, in person. But in their speeches, they'd have to think of something more original to say. Either that, or they could just say nothing at all.
The Bafta Awards air on BBC1 at 9pm tonight. The Academy Awards take place on 28 February
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