Major Changes in the Oscar Award Telecast

Major Changes in the Oscar Award Telecast

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Major Changes to the Oscar Awards Telecast

In an effort to regain depleting viewers the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced changes to the Oscar Awards Broadcast as well the addition of a new category.  The viewership of the Awards Ceremony has been shrinking drastically to its lowest numbers ever in February 2018. Many factors have affected this slide including; competition from other televised and online film awards; a dwindling older audience and a young apathetic audience.  Young audiences just want to know the winners and follow the news online and don’t have patience for a three hour broadcast.  Additionally box office blockbusters that have the potential to bring big audiences to the show aren’t often nominated.  Considering that the highest grossers in any given year are sequels or franchises, this isn’t a surprise.  When high grossing films are nominated for Oscars, especially best picture nominees, viewership increases. Lastly, like all television broadcasts, the Oscars have been challenged by the enormous competition and choices of streaming and other on demand viewing.

The Academy has made changes in the past to combat the slipping ratings, including increasing the number of films allowed to be nominated for best picture from 5 up to a total of 10.  As well, they moved the broadcast to earlier in the year from a spring broadcast (as late as April) to a winter broadcast (end of February).  This latter change is something they are trying again, starting with 2020, where the telecast will air as early as (gulp) February 9, barely a month after the Golden Globes.  The Academy still believes that the broadcast of the other film awards affects their popularity.

Perhaps the best indicator that the Academy is desperate is the addition of a popular movie category. Isn’t this the antithesis of what they stand for?  Members that selected 12 years a Slave, Moonlight and The Hurt Locker surely don’t care about box office performance for signaling out quality. Furthermore, in the past the Academy has been accused of choosing popular films over challenging films.  

In my opinion the Academy should quit panicking. They Oscars have been around 91 years, and everything, even something as reliable and solid as their audience, changes in 91 years.  I think they should just stop already.  People love seeing the obscure, quirky awards like Best Short Documentary. Besides if time has told us anything, what goes around, comes back around; for example vinyl sound recordings, radio dramas (podcasts) and martini lunches.

Here are some links to more in depth information.

Hollywood Reporter


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