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Should The Oscars Have A “Best Remake” Category?

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Cory Allen poses a really interesting question. In more recent years we have seen an onslaught of remakes. The same way the Tony’s give an award for best Revival (read: remake) should the Academy give awards for a remade film?  They are already giving an wards for an adapted screenplay, why not a remade film? As someone who went to film school my gut reaction is to say, ‘absolutely not, this is a recent phenomenon and it shouldn’t be rewarded.’ Turns out, it’s not that recent of a phenomenon.

The art of the remake is a storied tradition that dates all the way back to 1904.  That’s right, the 11 minute 1903 film The Great Train Robbery was remade one year later with the same title.  Once the remake was born, there was really no stopping it.  You can see remakes all throughout film history (Billy the Kid -1930/1941, Forbidden Fruit - 1915/1921 [both by Cecil B DeMille],  King Kong - 1933/1977/2005, M 1931/1951).

The reason why films are remade today is the same today as it was in 1904. Brand recognition and progression in technology.  Peter Jackson wouldn’t have made a third version of King Kong if he didn’t think he could do it better than the claymation version before it. If technology can help tell a story better then why not remake it? And if we are going to remake stories shouldn’t we try and actually make them better?

Foreign films fall victim to the Hollywood remake all the time, turned out only a year or two after the original, with the thought that American audiences will not see a film if they have to read subtitles. Let The Right One In and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo spring to mind immediately but there are others.

There are tons of remakes that are terrible, and shouldn’t have been made because the original is perfect (Taking of Pelham One Two Three, 12 Angry Men, Psycho…), but there are also films that have really great core ideas, but were either executed poorly or were too far ahead of their time and needed technology to catch up. They Live has been my go to candidate for a remake since I first saw it in 2003. The film’s concept is amazing, but it was just poorly executed (sorry Mr. Carpenter…). There is word of a remake happening, and I’m super excited about it.

Remakes are not all bad. Without remakes we wouldn’t have The Money Pit, Heat, 2004 version of Dawn of the Dead, 2001 version of Ocean’s 11, or Jeff Goldblum as The Fly. Even, Tarkovsky’s Solaris is a remake, the original came out only 4 years earlier. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the similarities to the videogame industry.  This console generation has given birth to the “HD Remake.” We have seen remakes for classic games like Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, God of War 1 and 2, ICO, Shadow of the Colossus, Bionic Commando, Halo: Combat Evolved, Golden Eye, (and one could argue the 3DS version of) Ocarina of Time… and that’s just off the top of my head. These games look better and play smoother than their originals. They don’t have the history behind them, that gritty feel of yesteryear but is that a bad thing?

Back to the topic at hand though. I think the quality of remakes would actually go up if there was an award for them.  People might actually try harder if they knew they could receive an award. In a time where the Oscars are nominating 10 films for best picture just to get more viewers, why the hell not include something that will actually make a better movie. Remakes are going to happen, embrace it.

-Creighton

[EDIT: I misspelled Tarkovsky. It’s fixed now.]

39 notes

  1. cristalconnors answered: NO. done
  2. basicspice reblogged this from nerdology
  3. kjphoto answered: This won’t encourage original ideas for film/musicals.
  4. blenderizethis answered: I don’t think the Oscars should encourage remakes like that. More focus should be put on the need to create original story lines.
  5. gavinbutters answered: that would make it interesting but is it not unfair on the orignal when it was one of its kind in its day? it’s a hard one i guess
  6. gigglepidgeon answered: in response to the post title, they might as well, as there are so many
  7. hungrylikejonwolf answered: But would the winner of Best Remake be eligible to also win Best Picture? It’s an interesting thought. Best Mo-Cap Actor should come first.
  8. checkthegate answered: Creighton, you are guilty of clever wording and you know it. “Brand Recognition” = “Money Grab”. But I put nothing past the Academy….
  9. performcpr answered: I think the definition of a remake is ill-defined, especially with recent films released in “reboots” (Spiderman, The Incredible Hulk, etc)
  10. motoroboto reblogged this from kasperthesardonicghost and added:
    I was going to say I don’t really care about awards shows, but I do enjoy the Oscars. I guess it’s just the music ones I...
  11. mindhackersly answered: maybe
  12. kasperthesardonicghost reblogged this from nerdology and added:
    I like this idea. I didn’t know that the Tony’s gave an award for best revival, but that shows how this type of award...
  13. pdotmnk answered: in fairness, and not meaning to sound negative, i don’t think it matters what awards these ceremonies give out.
  14. kiss-distinctly-american reblogged this from nerdology and added:
    Ugh… That Greta Garbo is doing another Anna Karenina movie. It’s just a remake. Love was perfect. Why remake it?...
  15. mscotter83 answered: This is how I feel about it. mscotter83.tumblr.com/p…
  16. marblesx answered: Remakes of some older movies are fine, But I heard remakes of the 1994 Crow, doesnt make sense thats a masterpiece of it self.
  17. houseoforange answered: Ugh, no, let’s not reward nor encourage this phenomenon. Force the industry to be creative!
  18. electrichieu reblogged this from nerdology
  19. straightxedgex answered: if they did a “remake category” every film would be in it!
  20. nerdology posted this