To Joey Berlin, the BFCA, and A&E networks,
As a result of the BFCA’s decision to nominate “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” for Best Picture in the upcoming Critic’s Choice Awards, I am resigning my membership from the BFCA effective immediately and will not be voting in the upcoming awards.
In order for a professional critics body to have integrity, nomination and voting guidelines must be consistent with the way they were laid out at the beginning of the process. Nominating “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” for Best Picture does not follow those guidelines, and re-ignites a loophole for this kind of thing to happen every year. (Apparently you did this in 2000 for “Cast Away” before I was a member.) Unlike the other nominations, this was not decided upon using a weighted ballot of all possibilities, and it smells like a desperate ploy to get better TV ratings.
Additionally, your insistence on billing the Critic’s Choice Awards as the “most accurate predictor of the Academy Awards” is antithetical to the purpose of having a “critic’s choice” award at all. The awards should not serve as another TV marketing arm to the studios. Rather, it should represent the views and opinions of film critics, which is a very different group from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
As film criticism continues to be devalued and the lines between journalist, critic, and studio shill continue to be blurred, the only thing we have is our integrity, and this smacks of a marketing ploy. Believe me, I know because my day job is a social media marketer. What I am not is an employee of A&E networks, and the only thing I have as a lowly paid film critic is the courage of my convictions. This decision is some serious quote-whore behavior: (http://bit.ly/quotewhore)
Good luck with the ratings this year, I’m sure they’ll be through the roof now.
Film critic, Lawrence Journal-World
President, Kansas City Film Critics Circle facebook.com/kcfcc
Contributor, Kansas Public Radio http://kansaspublicradio.org/
Rotten Tomatoes http://www.