There should be more awards at the Oscars

Photo by Al Seib/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images

Speaking as someone who spent a night this week wading through all of the films nominated in the Best Documentary (Short Feature) category, believe me when I say I am open to the idea that there are too many Oscars. But what if the problem the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has is not that their ceremony goes on too long, but that they just need to spice things up a little? What the Oscars need is not a reduction to the awards handed out (I want to see editors, costume designers, and cinematographers celebrated for their often thankless work) but some new categories that will intrigue and amuse in equal measure. The Oscars are sports for movie nerds and no sport is above the occasional rule change.

Ratings for the telecast are in decline and while that is partly a reflection of changing viewing habits, it’s also tricky to sell the average movie fan on a three hour event where the greatest intrigue this year is precisely how many awards Oppenheimer will sweep up. It is good that, from 2026 onwards, the Academy will introduce a Best Casting category but why not go a little further? Here are a few ideas (some serious, some less so) for awards I’d like to see handed out in the future.

Best Newcomer

A great number of acting Oscars go to someone who is being rewarded as much for their past work as they are for the movie they are nominated for. Would Leonardo DiCaprio have won for The Revenant in 2016 if he wasn’t the star of The Departed or Titanic, too? Probably not. This puts new actors at a disadvantage so a category aimed at honoring those at the start of their careers makes a lot of sense. Defining a “newcomer” is a little tricky – very few actors are going to impress with their very first credit – so think of it more like a breakthrough. It’s the award you give to the actor who made you sit up, pay attention, and ensure you will be seated for whatever they do next.

2024 winner: Teyana Taylor, A Thousand and One

Best 90 Minute Movie

I am firmly team Long Movies. A good movie does not feel like a slog if you’re enjoying it. But there is a time and a place for something pushing the three hour mark. Let’s celebrate the tight and lean films that know how to get in and out without overstaying their welcome. Everyone’s attention span is, at best, a little frayed these days and there is nothing wrong with throwing on something that is over in less time than it takes to watch two episodes of True Detective.

2024 winner: Rye Lane

Best Stunts

It seems crazy but the people who literally throw themselves off rooftops and jump out of speeding cars are persona non-grata at the Academy Awards. These guys spend their lives in harnesses and crash helmets, it’s time to let them get dressed up and be rewarded for their death-defying work. From fight scene choreography to adrenaline-pumping chase scenes, so many iconic movie scenes simply wouldn’t exist without the work of Hollywood’s most under-appreciated craftsmen and women.

2024 winner: Mission Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

Best Press Tour

I think it’s fair to say that some people prefer watching actors and directors promote a movie more than the actual film itself. That’s fine! I’m not going to pretend I am above watching endless junket clips on TikTok, learning who knows the most U.K. slang and judging whose Letterboxd four favorites are the classiest. That’s why we should reward those who give the wildest quotes to illuminate glossy magazine cover stories, the people who keep smiling as they attend their 500th premiere, and who never lose it while chomping down on spicy chicken wings.

2024 winner: Barry Keoghan and Jacob Elordi for their Saltburn bromance

Best Dad Movie

How you define a dad movie will, naturally, be personal to your own father’s tastes but they tend to boil down to a few core elements. Think courtroom dramas, paranoid thrillers, men arguing with men about money, and anything to do with sports or the military. If it’s based on real life events then all the better. There were enough viral clips of people watching Saltburn with their parents looking on aghast to know that not every movie works across demographics. The dad movie deserves its own canon and this award would finally put the genre down in history.

2024 winner: Air

Best Cameo

Best Supporting Actor/Actress is something of a fudge at the Oscars, or at least very open to some good old category fraud. Dame Judi Dench famously won the award in 1999 for Shakespeare In Love despite being on screen for just eight minutes while this year Ryan Gosling is nominated for his role as Ken in Barbie, a lead role in all but name. That is why I propose the addition of a more clearly defined turn; the cameo. The winner would be the person who pops up unexpectedly and is gone just as quickly. A quick dash of flavor that flips the narrative or simply makes you point at the screen like the Leonardo DiCaprio meme.

Note: Superheroes would not be allowed here, sorry. We’re not giving Deadpool a prize for popping up during the credits of The Avengers in 2028.

2024 winner: Martin Scorsese in Killers of the Flower Moon