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20 October 2013

World Oscars: How Do You Say "You Like Me" in Other Languages?

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Imagine if we had a World Oscar... Hmmm

The Oscar Best Foreign Language Film category has always faced controversies mostly because of its rules.  However, we can never really dictate on the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) because the Oscars are a set of American awards. Rules are rules.  If a country does not like the rules then one should not submit a film.  Good or bad, the Oscars have to honor American talent first or something resembling American standard of outstanding filmmaking.  That is the reason that European countries, especially those with an English-speaking population, received more accolades than other countries in other parts of the world. On the other hand, the relevance of the Oscars to world cinema may soon disappear.  The golden statuette may never find value outside North America and Western Europe. The Oscars are Hollywood awards and in order to be recognized, you must go “Hollywood,” figuratively and literally speaking. 

I have a proposal though. Yes, I do, up here beyond the boondocks of the Philippine Islands where Uncle Sam successfully Americanized us using Hollywood films way back in the 1920s.  AMPAS should discontinue its Best Foreign Language film category and launch “buddy awards” to its regular Oscars.  The new award-giving body will still be called the Oscars, and perhaps using the same statuette, except if AMPAS refuses to share the golden knight to the rest of the world. If this is the case, a slight modification of the original statuette will do.  Tentatively, we can call this “buddy award” as the “World Oscars.” Instead of honoring films in the English language, the World Oscars will honor movies from around the world. Countries still get to submit entries, but this time, countries can submit more than one, perhaps two entries. 

The Oscars is already a world brand like Coca Cola or McDonald’s. If America wants to dominate world cinema, the World Oscar is a good marketing move.

The World Oscars will have the same category as the regular Oscars: best film, best director, best performances and so on.  The voting body will consist of outstanding filmmakers from around the world. One country has at least one representative. To make it fair, one representative per participating country so patriotism will be out of the picture.  The international voters will number around 70 to 80, or more.

In this way, the relevance of the Oscars as an award giving body will expand exponentially.  The World Oscars can overshadow the big festivals like Cannes, Venice and Berlin. Who needs a Palm d’Or if you can get an Oscar. Most importantly, the World Oscars can finally honor great filmmakers outside North America.  If you look at past Oscar winners, very few non-North American and non-English filmmakers received accolades. If they did, it was always an honorary Oscars months before the honorees departed this world.

In the end, this new World Oscars can eventually become the Nobel Prize for film.  We may all hear Sally Field well-loved Oscar acceptance speech “You like me! You really like me” spoken in many languages.

Then again, somebody else might beat AMPAS to the punch and launch a world film award. Who knows? Either way, it is all pop corn being sold.  Now hand me the butter please. 

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