Oscars: Academy Asking For Members Input On Controversial Decisions To Pre-Record Some Categories, #FanFavorite And More

After a somewhat rocky Oscars with controversies surrounding the placement of several categories in a pre-show with taped acceptances inserted later into the broadcast, a #FanFavorite promotion on Twitter that went south and was largely dismissed when Zack Snyder commandeered his Twitter faithful into a victory for the zombies-in-Vegas Netflix flick Army of the Dead, and of course that instantly infamous Will Smith slap and all its reverberations, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has apparently decided it is time to get input from the membership.

It comes by way of a detailed survey sent Wednesday (see it below) that not only asks members what they think of various Academy policies and initiatives, but even more pointedly asks some detailed questions about what they really think about this year’s Oscar show, which was produced by Will Packer.

The first part deals with engagement in the Academy, preferences or complaints about various AMPAS activities, questions about how Oscar voters are viewing movies they judge as well as what kind of equipment they have at home and what services they use including the Academy Screening Room (the digital online enterprise that completely replaced mailed screeners for the first time this year).

But the juiciest section is the second part, all about Oscars. AMPAS leadership wants member input on what can be done to improve the Academy Awards in terms of both viewers and industry, and then some specifics about the divisive decision to pre-record select categories like Film Editing, Music Score, Production Design and five other categories. This led to much publicly expressed outrage among the affected artisans and others. The Academy is asking for opinions from suggesting “Pre-recording and editing in some award presentations during the show worked this year and the Academy should do it again this way next year,”  to “The Oscars were fine the way they were before. The Academy should not pre-record any awards and should instead present all the awards live,” to “The Oscars need an overhaul, and the format of the show should be reconsidered.”

In another innovation, reportedly dreamed up by Packer to goose ratings, AMPAS wants to know what members thought of the #OscarFanFavorite gambit and asks everything from “The Oscars Fan Favorite helped get fans engaged and excited about this year’s Oscars and it should be continued” to “The Oscars Fan Favorite should not continue.”

Well, you get the idea. This survey seems to be in lieu of an actual in-person membership meeting, but it clearly is a result of much post-Oscar-season discussion among the board of governors and AMPAS office holders and staff that wants to know “where do we go from here???” And now the 10,000-ish-strong body that makes up AMPAS is going to have their say.  Whether they are listened to is a question for another day.

What this survey coming just a little over a month since the Oscar show was held March 27 really seems to indicate is an active discussion about going forward — or not — with some of the ideas implemented for the 94th Academy Awards, but maybe not the 95th?

One thing totally absent from the survey is anything about the Will Smith debacle and the Academy’s punishment decision to ban Smith from any Academy Awards show and activities and events for 10 years, a dictum made after Smith himself publicly apologized (including to Chris Rock) and resigned from the Academy.

Below is the survey sent this morning with a promise to keep all individual answers confidential.

Dear Member:

Thank you for participating in this important member survey. Your input is necessary to ensure that the Academy continues to thrive and support our members and the film industry. This survey consists of two parts: the first part is about your engagement and experience as a member, and the second part is about this year’s Oscars.

Part 1: Member Engagement and Experience

( )Very positive

( )Mostly positive

( )Equally positive and negative

( )Neither positive nor negative

( )Mostly negative

( )Very negative

( )No opinion

2. What are a few things the Academy could do to improve or enhance your experience as a member? For example, what are some specific types of communication, activities, events, or initiatives that would improve or enhance your experience as a member of the Academy? Please be specific.

3. As a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in which of the following would you be most interested in participating? Please select all that apply.

( )Film screenings with Q&A, including virtual events

( )Branch and member receptions

( )Local events in your city

( )Educational outreach and mentoring of younger generations

( )Committee meetings

( )Membership affinity groups

( )Museum programming

( )Film festival events or programs

( )None of the above

( )

4. What would you like the Academy to do to keep you more informed about relevant ongoing and upcoming initiatives, screenings, and other events? Please select all that apply. 

( )Allow me to opt in to receive text messages when screenings and other events are happening and RSVP via return text to reserve my place

( )Allow me to go to the Academy member portal to select which types of screenings and other events I want information about

( )Use social media – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn – to communicate about upcoming screenings and other events

( )Create a private online community for Academy members only to communicate about upcoming screenings and other events

( )Add functionality in the Academy app regarding events, such as: when and where to check for upcoming screenings and other events, alerts for new events, when events are filling up or when the sign-up window is about to expire

( )Academy-hosted branch or inter-branch gatherings on Zoom

( )None of the above

( )

5. When it comes to making the film industry more inclusive, is the industry overall doing a:

( )Great job

( )Good job

( )Okay job

( )Not very good job

( )Very poor job

( )No opinion

6. Aperture 2025 is the Academy’s ongoing commitment to increase representation, inclusion, and equity in the film industry on-screen, off-screen and in the Academy’s membership, programs, and collections. How important is it for the Academy to continue leading with representation, inclusion, and equity initiatives such as Aperture 2025?

( )Very important

( )Somewhat important

( )Not very important

( )Not at all important

( )No opinion

7. How much do you know about the Academy’s Aperture 2025 initiative?

( )Great deal

( )Something

( )Not very much

( )Nothing at all

Part 2: 2022 Oscars

Next, you will see some questions about the Oscars.

8. What do you think the Academy could do and should do to improve the Oscars? For example, what would make the show more engaging for both the industry and movie fan audience worldwide? Please be specific.

9. Which of the following best describes your experience with this year’s Oscars?

( )Attended the Oscars

( )Watched but did not attend the Oscars

( )Did not attend and watched some, but not all, of this year’s Oscars

( )Did not attend and did not watch this year’s Oscars at all

( )The broadcast was not available in my region to watch

10. Eight awards were presented and recorded at the Dolby Theatre an hour prior to the start of the telecast and then edited into the live Oscars ceremony. Which of the following is closest to your view?

( )Pre-recording and editing in some award presentations during the show worked this year and the Academy should do it again this way next year.

( )Pre-recording or early presentation of some awards could work, but not the way it was done this year. The Academy needs to go back to the drawing board on this.

( )The Oscars were fine the way they were before. The Academy should not pre-record any awards and should instead present all the awards live.

( )The Oscars need an overhaul, and the format of the show should be reconsidered.

( )No opinion

( )

11. What areas of achievement, if any, that are not currently rewarded with an Oscar, should the Academy consider adding? Please specify below.

( )None

( )No opinion

( )

12. The Oscars Fan Favorite was announced for the first time this year. Which is closest to your view?

( )The Oscars Fan Favorite helped get fans engaged and excited about this year’s Oscars and it should be continued

( )The Oscars Fan Favorite is a good idea but should be improved

( )The Oscars Fan Favorite should not continue

( )No opinion

( )

13. Thinking about the movies you saw for Oscars consideration (FYC) this past year, how did you watch them? Please select all that apply.

( )Online, streaming through the Academy’s online viewing platform

( )Online, streaming through another platform

( )In-theater FYC screenings for Academy members

( )Public in-theater screenings not through the Academy (i.e. festivals, theaters, other)

( )DVD, Blu-ray not from the Academy (i.e. studios, purchased, other)

( )Did not watch any movies for Oscars consideration this year

( )Don’t recall

( )

14. We’d like your thoughts on watching FYC movies using the Academy Screening Room. What types of additional streaming functions would you like to see on the Academy Screening Room?

15. Which of the following devices or services do you have or use regularly? Please select all that apply.

( )Cable television

( )Satellite television

( )Internet-connected television or smart TV

( )Mobile devices

( )Gaming consoles

( )Roku

( )Apple TV

( )Google Chromecast

( )Amazon Fire TV

( )AT&T TV Now

( )Netflix

( )Hulu

( )Hulu+ Live TV

( )Amazon Prime Video

( )Disney+

( )YouTube TV

( )FuboTV

( )Tubi

( )Sling

( )Paramount+

( )HBO Max

( ) None of the above

( ) AppleTV+, Peacock

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