The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is looking at screwing over the Oscars ceremony as a way of attracting ratings.
The news comes from Matt Belloni’s What I’m Hearing newsletter (via Screen Rant). It’s upsetting to say the least. What the Academy wants to do is move some of the awards to before the show or during commercials. This is not the way. It will not lead to an increase in ratings. In fact, it will be more of a turn-off than anything else. But more than this, try telling the nominees that they’re getting moved off the broadcast. This is nothing more than a ratings ploy and it really is not going to work. Anyone remember the great backlash from a similar decision in 2019? Thank G-d that the Academy did not go forward.
The Oscars becoming a celebration of film and not about the awards will ruin the spirit of the Oscars. Per Screen Rant, Belloni suggests “increasingly niche tastes of Academy members” being the reason people are not watching the movies. To be specific, this is referring to the general public and not the Academy membership. Last year, most of the nominees were screening on a streaming service. There was really no excuse for not watching them. Except for maybe an algorithm. But anyway, having access wasn’t a problem especially this past year. Although I can kind of see where this argument is coming from because of having lived in a city where such films are blink-and-miss it. But again, if you want to find the films, you should have no problem especially when 2021 was the year of releasing day-and-date.
If you haven’t heard about the films, that’s on you for not reading the right journalists. Sorry to say it but some people just don’t cover the Oscar contenders. I seek out a lot of films and try to cover them. Even if it becomes a film that I don’t review, I still try and cover it. On this note, if you’re looking for a review of Paul Schrader’s The Card Counter from me, you can forget it. This isn’t so much because of my tastes but because Focus Features is screening the film, starring Oscar Isaac, on Rosh Hashanah. As such, the film will not be getting any coverage from this film critic. This is another discussion that we need to have when it comes to this industry but that’s another day.
Listen, if you want higher ratings, the answer is not going to be found by messing up the program. Bring Billy Crystal back or do something else in that regard. What kind of message do you want to send to aspiring artists when you say that they won’t have their moment in the sun? Anybody going into the industry almost certainly dreams of winning an Oscar. And to say that people don’t deserve their moment during the big program? To me, it’s just a big fuck you to people wanting to break into the industry. Excuse my French but imagine being nominated for one of the categories and learning, Oh, it’ll be presented while everyone’s watching the Red Carpet show. What kind of fakakta bullshit is this? It’s bullshit and just that!
Last year was a weird year because of the pandemic. Personally, I could have done without the two-month extension. It is what it is but I still don’t have to be happy about it. Of course, nobody is happy about Best Actor going last. We all know why but then the voters went with Anthony Hopkins instead of the late Chadwick Boseman. With Hopkins not being at the ceremony, the Oscars just came to an end with a moment of shock. Because of the extension, it meant presenting the biggest movie event of the year opposite ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. Throw in other programming choices and it’s just a recipe for lower ratings.
It isn’t official by any means just yet but if the Academy goes ahead with this fakakta decision, the Oscars will be screwed once again.