The Academy Awards are this Sunday and as per usual, people are making their winning picks for Best Picture, and Best Actor/Actress. If The Oscars and other similar industry awards are the prizes, is the act of film making a game in and of itself? Earlier this week we mentioned Clinton Bonner’s idea to gamify the movie watching experience, while the movie making experience is really just an ongoing game of points and status. Movie success is often calculated not only by revenue numbers (i.e. points) but also by the clout (i.e. status) of those participating in its creation (i.e. players) – people want to see famous actors in movies by famous directors (often produced by famous actors and directors as well). But the “game” never really ends and whoever “wins” in one season may not be so lucky the next. This is not just related to mainstream films either as plenty of well-known indie films exist, and many top tier actors will often vie for roles in such films to get the actor-equivalent of “street cred”, which is really just a different kind of status.
The Academy Awards is a sub-game of movie making. Many films are created simply to contend for an Oscar (commonly known as “Oscar bait”), films have to be submitted to the Academy and voted in. Oscar films compete above and outside of other, often considering “lesser” films (by some). While the award in and of itself has no direct cash value, the real prize is in the permanent status upgrade. Having the tag “Oscar Award Winner” or even “Oscar Award Nominee” forever applied to an actor, director or producer’s name will automatically garner more respect, higher rate of pay and, presumably, more butts in the seats for their films. It’s only sad to say that winners of Best Costume, Best Special Effects and other technically awards don’t receive the same amount of awe from the general public. But I’m confident that amongst their peer set, the clout is similar.
There are also a couple of gamified iPhone/iPad apps available to add another level of sport to the main event this Sunday. Vanity Fair Hollywood: Oscar Edition is a free app that allows you to watch movie trailers and make your predictions for the winners and keep score amongst your friends via Facebook.
Redwind Software’s Movie Challenge: Oscar Special (99¢) offers over 2000 trivia questions from the past to the present, mini-games and a comprehensive guide of every winner and nominee from the history of the Academy Awards.
Download one or both so you can play while you watch and root for your favorites to win.