Let’s piss and moan.
Another year, another disappointing nomination list that seems to be mostly unaware of what people want to see be rewarded. We do have more (and seemingly obligatory) nods to minority and women creators, but I’m not going to jump for joy until the playing field seems fair. While reading the nominations I felt as though a tepid and lukewarm paste covered my mind. I can’t fully disagree with most of nominations, but my lack of interest or connection to the academy at this point means that at best I can slap it with a cold fish of half-hearted agreement.
The Oscar ceremony has bled viewers for years at this point. Hell, they’re even preemptively covering for what will ultimately be another record low. No matter what reasons they try to shoehorn in, people simply aren’t watching. I don’t particularly know what would bring folks back, but let’s look at why folks say they left.
Conservative America, at least the media side, claims that no one wants to be lectured to about politics. I personally know people who don’t watch these ceremonies due to political reasons, which whether we agree or not is a valid enough reason to not tune in. However, this has been a complaint for years from the right and the viewership continues to go down. I’ve seen folks say they haven’t watched the ceremony in fifteen years, which means they aren’t part of this new decline.
Liberal America, at least the media side, claims that people are pissed off over the lack of representation at the event. When movies that seem better or more impactful get snubbed by safer and friendlier movies it is annoying. However, the Oscars have at least given some lip service to this issue in recent years. I’m not sure if this is what is causing the decline.
A common complaint about the ceremony is that it is little more than a circle jerk for jerks. Here’s one that has lingered for a long time and has some validity to it. Since the ceremony now cuts a lot of the technical awards and doesn’t even allow unknown people to have their moment in the spotlight the whole thing feels a little pointless. I’m glad DiCaprio finally won, but it didn’t exactly help his career. I’m sure he’ll be able to find work. However, whoever won best sound design might have needed the boost.
For a ceremony that celebrates artistry it sure seems focused on just the highest hitting awards. Coupled with the grueling running time, I think we have a real issue. My biggest complaint is that the ceremony runs for about four hours and is overloaded with commercials (this is when they’ll award the lesser awards I guess). Four fucking hours for what amounts to about an hour of actual award giving. The whole thing has become this bloated and grotesque caricature of what it was meant to represent. This is the reason why I haven’t bothered watching for years.
The saddest part about it is that if we get rid of the ceremony, which some seem to support, we’re probably just going to hurt the people who are already ignored during the televised event. Short film directors, technical support, makeup, and sound designers will have their lives changed if even nominated. These are the folks we should be celebrating.
I’m not making an argument we should watch this year. Hilariously, even with a global pandemic most people are choosing to not watch. Whatever your reasons are, I can’t blame you for not wanting to watch a four-hour slog that might not even show the award you care about. A better use of our time would be to look up who won the next day and if we’re so inclined to congratulate them on Twitter. Hell, just watch their next movie.
The Oscars have always been weird to me. I love the idea of a night celebrating movie making and awarding what has made a large cultural impact, However, what they have become just isn’t what it should be. Cut the damn thing down to an hour if all you’re going to do is stroke the same five actors and directors each year.
What will you be doing instead of watching the ceremony this year?