Hollywood Gets Chance To Rewrite Oscar History

Still fuming over “Shakespeare in Love” beating out “Saving Private Ryan” for the Best Picture Oscar in 1998? Can’t sleep at night over Johnny Depp losing out to Sean Penn for Best Actor in 2003?

Well, here’s your chance to rewrite Academy Award history.

Entertainment Weekly has launched the “Recall the Gold” project, inviting a who’s who of Hollywood to re-cast their votes on Oscar races from years past.

“We want to explore whether the industry’s perspective on these great film achievements has changed over time,” said Entertainment Weekly managing editor Rick Tetzeli. “We’re asking everyone from directors to actors to executives to answer a question that comes up every Oscar season: did the right films and performances win?”

Earlier this week, EW.com mailed out 7,000 ballots to movie industry insiders, each emblazoned with the words “Recall Ballot” in red, giving people the chance to vote one more time for various Oscar categories over the years.

Specifically, “Recall the Gold” focuses on the six major categories – Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress – in five different years.

Up for re-vote are the awards given out in 2003, 1998, 1993, 1988 and 1983 – covering ceremonies five years apart over the last 25 years.

“Recall the Gold” was the brainchild of EW’s Los Angeles bureau chief Sean Smith, who came up with the idea when “Crash” beat out “Brokeback Mountain” for Best Picture in 2006.

“I thought it was a historic moment for ‘Brokeback’ that didn’t quite happen and thought Hollywood would be rethinking this decision later,” Smith told AccessHollywood.com. “It was one of those, ‘What were they thinking?’ moments.”

But that’s not the only Oscar that Smith said he’d hand to a different winner, given the chance.

“When ‘Taxi Driver’ lost to ‘Rocky,’” Smith added, citing the race for Best Picture in 1976. “That’s the one that always bothers me. You look at it and say, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’ ‘Rocky’ is a fun movie, but over ‘Taxi Driver?’ Seriously?”

In terms of what kind of response “Recall the Gold” will elicit from the 7,000 ballots that were mailed out, Smith was optimistic for a higher rate of return than normal.

“The average mailings get about 20 percent back, and that’s for cold lists to people with no vested interest in the subject. We’re hoping for 30 to 40 percent return,” Smith said. “This is what we’d call a well qualified list [of recipients].”

EW noted each “Recall” ballot has been numbered for security, and each voter will remain anonymous once the results are tallied. In addition, readers can cast their own ballots on EW.com.

EW will reveal the results of the Hollywood poll in January 2009, just in time for Oscar season.

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