It’s too late for the upcoming Oscars telecast but ABC should give the Academy Awards a Super Bowl-esque pre- and post-show.
ABC and the Academy need to stop messing with the main awards telecast. Let all the awards air and allow everyone to have the opportunity to deliver their acceptance speeches without getting cut off by the orchestra. The network isn’t going to get back their old viewership. One reason why is because audiences are so fractured these days. Should HBO air a new episode of a hit drama, you can forget their viewers. Instead of figure out how to gain ratings, make this the Super Bowl of awards shows that it is. The pre-show could be so much more than just an hour long red carpet. The network could make it a full day affair! Do what every network does with the Super Bowl and start the pre-show at 12 PM or 1 PM ET.
Not everybody reads Variety or The Hollywood Reporter so there are plenty of opportunities to let us get to know the nominees. This could be a mini-roundtable, whether it’s above the line or crafts. One of my favorite parts about watching The Final Four Show during March Madness are the human interest stories. ABC could dedicate portions of the Oscars pre-show to air human interest stories. Other ideas could be featuring a roundtable of critics or awards analysts to discuss how we think the night is going to go. You do not just have to limit it to ABC employees. Open it up to freelancers, too. People who love movies never turn down the opportunity to discuss movies. Such opportunities also help to expand our reach as journalists–data is everything in this business! The sky is the limit here and I’m available if asked!
Whoever is going to watch the pre-show or Oscars telecast will watch. Don’t miss with the telecast that we all love just because it’s getting poor ratings. I cannot stress just how much of the audience is fractured! Last year’s telecast was at the end of April. Not only did the Oscars have to compete with Sunday Night Baseball (Padres vs. Dodgers), they also had to compete with two games on NBA TV. Here’s the fun part about last year’s nominees: they were among the most accessible nominees because of the pandemic. Why punish those of us who love movies and the Oscars because people aren’t watching?
I keep hearing this idea that they should try to shorten the Oscars telecast. The Super Bowl is among the highest rated sporting event of the year and nobody ever suggests taking a few minutes out of the game. Such suggestions would be unthinkable! The Oscars have done everything thinkable from taking away the Best Original Song performances to playing just a snippet of them. It never works because the show always goes long. If you’re going to air the broadcast on a Sunday night, why wait until 5 PM on the west coast? Why not start the show at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT? The only reason why week night sporting events start so late is because of the west coast. Depending on who is playing, those games will either have a fast or slow pace. Why do the Oscars deserve a punishment?
Instead of shortening the Oscars telecast, the Academy should actually consider adding more awards. These are my recommendations: Best Comedy, Best Casting, and Best Stunt Ensemble. These awards are long overdue and it’s high time that the Academy does right by the industry. I look back on ten years ago and there is no reason why the Academy has yet to add Best Comedy as a category. If they did, The Muppets would have won. With action films and superhero films bringing in a big chunk of the box office, it is essential to award the Best Stunt Ensemble. The Screen Actors Guild Awards honors stunt work for both film and television. The Oscars should do the same. Televise the Governor’s Awards and let movie lovers in on the fun. I miss the days of being able to watch the ceremony.
The 94th Academy Awards will air live at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT on ABC.
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