"Yes, I know why, but still hard to believe anyone takes doc oscars seriously." —Brian Newman on Twitter
I'd personally amend Brian's tweet and just remove the word "doc," but given the latest news, this pretty much captures it.
It's mostly just sad. The Times is looking more desperate every year, and the Oscars... well, it's apt that they hold it in the Kodak theater (as of this writing, EK stock is trading at $0.38 per share. Yes, that decimal is in the right place).
To sum up the report at the New York Times here, the Academy is moving to require all documentary entries to have a review in the New York Times of the L.A. Times to qualify for an Oscar.
Basically, the people at the top didn't like how the results were shaking out, so they changed the rules. Case in point: Academy member Michael Moore, who used to be an underdog who made small films, had a large film that was "overlooked" in favor of smaller films, so naturally he thinks this is a great rule. In this case, "overlooked" means "wasn't nearly as well made or provocative as films that were actually nominated."
A.O. Scott from the New York Times said: “It’s not only Academy voters, but also moviegoers in general who benefit from newspapers committed to reviewing as comprehensive a selection of new movies as possible."
If that's true, how is it a benefit to anyone to have only the L.A. Times and the New York Times reviews eligible? Last I checked there are a couple other cities that have newspapers that review films. I guess flyover country doesn't count.
This is only a positive for mostly-irrelevant enterprises whose voices have less and less impact each year.