Opinion: Is #OscarsFanFavorite the marketing equivalent of a dad joke?
Dramatic changes to this year's ceremony are frustrating and foolish, says Hanna Flint
Friday 4 March 2022 By Hanna Flint
The 94th Academy Awards are set to take place on Sunday 27 March, the first full-bodied ceremony complete with official hosts since Kevin Hart’s famous departure in 2019. But, alas, if you were hoping for an inoffensive ceremony post-the worst of the pandemic, then you would be somewhat disappointed not least because Passing was completely overlooked in every category.
Personally, the only thing that’s getting me through that particular snub is knowing that somewhere in the multiverse, Rebecca Hall’s stunning black and white adaptation earned 12 nominations and my girl, Ruth Negga, would be taking home her first Oscar® – but, I digress. This year, every time something good comes out of the Oscar® chatter, something frustrating follows suit.
Good news came when Wanda Sykes, Regina Hall and Amy Schumer were announced as hosts – a comedic power of three that does a decent job of helping to close the gender gap of MCs. Well, there has still been four times as many men hosting or co-hosting the Oscars® as women, but maybe if they hire three female comedians each year, gender parity might just be achieved by 2036.
Then, a new Twitter Oscars® category was revealed allowing users to vote for their favourite 2021 movie. It’s all fun and games until the fanatical efforts of #JusticeforJohnnyDepp supporters gets his film, Minamata – which I believe, and I could be wrong, only 23 people saw – a gold statue. Though to be fair, that would be in keeping with the Academy’s penchant for celebrating white saviour narratives... Honestly, I’m rooting for Camila Cabello’s Cinderella to win so we can really turn the chaotic energy on the night up to 11.
The bad news kept coming though when David Rubin, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, revealed to members and nominees that eight Oscars® categories would not be presented during the live televised event because, I guess, they’re not sexy enough?
Documentary (short subject), Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Music (original score), Production Design, Short Film (animated), Short Film (live action), and Sound will instead be presented an hour before and then the winners’ speeches edited into a montage reel to air during the three-hour broadcast instead. If they were looking at things to cut for time, I’d say that awkward PwC accounting firm bit should have been the first to go. After getting the Moonlight/La La Land Best Picture envelope wrong, those nerds should stick to the wings and focus on their one job.
Understandably, Film Twitter went off at the news and many made several salient points about the risk of ABC, the network who broadcasts the ceremony, and the Academy alienating committed viewers and members, who want to see every winner get their time in the limelight, just to potentially boost ratings with an uncommitted audience who could still not be interested in watching the event live. The viewership decline over the years seems to be less about the ceremony and more about the evolving way in which we watch television.
As part of the global audience, I can understand why staying up until the wee hours is less appealing when you can wake up with the news and watch clips online. Who needs the fuss of ad breaks and dry musical performances when you can click a montage video that has cut together the best jokes of the night? And as someone who used to work on a news desk overnight for several years covering the Oscars® to write up such award-worthy articles as ‘Best Moments!’, ‘Best Dressed’, ‘British Winners!’, the urge to stay up all night for me has definitely dampened. Unless someone wants to invite me onto their watch-along show or party to deliver my hot takes in person with a glass of Champagne, I plan on watching the Oscars® the way I watch Saturday Night Live: the next morning via YouTube.
Imagine… You put your money where your mouth is
You’d think after the embarrassment that was Gal Gadot’s ‘Imagine’ video, celebrities would find a better way to discuss massive world events. But ever since Russia invaded Ukraine, we’ve endured some seriously cringe-worthy social media posts from various famous people, some of which you actually forgot were famous, like AnnaLynne McCord.
The 90210 star, maybe leaning too hard into the ‘all publicity is good publicity’ way of thinking, decided to post a truly self-indulgent video of her reciting a poem she had written directly to Vladimir Putin. Maybe if she kept posting them, Putin might stop the war to avoid the nauseating image of McCord being his mother. Or maybe she, like many other people with a platform, should stop positioning themselves in this conflict, donate some money to causes that are actually making a difference to those suffering on the ground and signal-boost people with informed experience in what is going on. Just pipe down.
Soho House is proud to support Cook For Ukraine and UNICEF. If you would like to get involved and donate, you can order ‘invisible pierogies’ – a Ukraine speciality – from Soho House menus across the month of March. Soho House will match all donations made.
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