Can a movie really be the “Best Picture” if it is longer than two hours? Certain members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science don’t think so and are proposing a sub-two-hour runtime limit for films to be eligible for Oscar’s top prize.
The proposal was instigated by a messy incident that occurred during an Academy screening of Quentin Tarantino’s new film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in which an unnamed Academy member named Gerard Depardieu reportedly “pissed all over himself.”
Clocking in at two hours and forty-five minutes, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood features exquisitely acted and masterfully shot scenes that flow together without ant intermediate climax to alert you when to go and pee. The runtime was reportedly especially taxing on the Academy’s older voters, some of whom complained of having to leave the theater upwards of five times. “At some point, you have to ask yourself, ‘why are movies so long?” said a retired producer who hasn’t made anything in 22-years but still gets a vote for some reason.
The proposal to impose a runtime requirement for Best Picture nominees has been met with contempt from filmmakers who argue doing so would cause past Best Picture winners like Gone With The Wind (3 hr 58 min), Lawrence of Arabia (3 hr 48 min), and Ben Hur (3 hr 44 min) to not even be nominated. In a statement, Academy president John Bailey said he understood the criticism, but argued that three hours today is a lot longer than three hours in the 1950s and that anything longer than two-hours should really just be viewed as a limited series and be under the Emmy’s jurisdiction. “I had 57 emails waiting for me when the movie let out, that’s unacceptable,” he added.
When asked to respond to the Academy’s view that movies are too long, Quentin Tarantino told us that he “rejected our hypothesis” before announcing he had directed a two-hour short film that will play immediately before future Once Upon A Time…in Hollywood showings at his New Beverly Cinema.