The one question I keep coming back to with the Oscars last night is how does that absolute unhinged shit show make any viewer want to watch these movies? It plays into the idea that the Oscars are detached from reality and feeling of an overindulgent Disney commercial highlighted by the most bizarre Oscar moment in the history of the show.
I won’t comment on the Will Smith incident in-depth. The only thing I’ll say is it took away from rewarding these artists and made it about personal feuds. It was a childish act of vanity spurred on by Oscar producers pushing Ricky Gervais type punch-down Globe humor on presenters, Chris Rock’s utterly tasteless joke, and Will Smith taking the bait and failing to control his rage in a very public setting.
For me, I come to watch Ryusuke Hamaguchi accept an award or Troy Kotsur giving my hometown a shoutout and a touching speech dedicated to his father. I loved seeing Ariana DeBose proudly accept an Oscar. I loved seeing the elation for CODA in the room. These are the moments Oscar fans love and while the reality show drama is entertaining, it goes counter to the spirit of celebrating these creative talents. The Academy and ABC fundamentally don’t understand why people watched the Oscars in its heyday and they’ve turned it into a worldwide punchline.
Conversely, I’m far too idealistic when it comes to the Oscars – I enjoy the show for the reasons most fans don’t really care about: The movies themselves! I love discussing film in any capacity, even if it’s in a competition awards format, but the Oscar producers have made it clear that there’s no place for dedicated fans like myself. It’s obvious they have a disdain for their core fan base and they see devaluing the films as the only way to find former Oscar glory, as if fans only tune in to hate watch these celebrities and films they’ve never heard of. Instead of building these stories up, it’s much easier to tear them down to satisfy potential audience members that hate you regardless.
Desperate Times for the Oscars
They’re so incredibly desperate for viewers to return that they’ve sold their soul to get back even a small fraction of the ratings share. The decision to eliminate certain categories from the live-broadcast was far worse than even I was expecting and displayed a complete lack of respect for the industry. The amount of enraging, nonsensical decisions is too long to even discuss in one piece, and with the ratings going up, the producers will learn the exact opposite lesson that needs to be absorbed here.
And then I come back to that question: what potential audience member watched the Oscars last night and took anything away about the nominees, history, or winners of the show? Nobody is even mentioning CODA’s historic, stat-breaking win and now that film will forever be associated with this moment. It was shameful from every single person involved and is making me question my time investment into following the awards season. And don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t follow it if I didn’t love it, but this feels like a slap to the face, pun-intended.
Furthermore, it was made abundantly clear that it was a Disney sponsored, produced and manufactured corporate circle jerk that only highlighted their IPs. It’s so annoyingly driven by corporations and camel committees that are all so disconnected to any modern person. It feels like these decisions are made by an algorithm trying to predict human pattern behaviors, instead of doing the simple and honest thing and just celebrate these films.
Anyways, if the producers want to turn a prestigious event into the laughingstock of live television, they’re well on their way to do so. It’s clear they have no passion for creative work and talent. It’s just an embarrassing mess that makes anyone who dedicates any time to the Oscars, look like a fool.