On Sunday, 40 million people tuned in to this year’s three-and-a-half hour spectacle honoring the best that Hollywood has to offer. It’s common knowledge that the Academy Awards ceremony has been struggling to keep its viewership up over the past decade, with the producers trying desperately to draw in an audience from our college-age demographic. This year the people behind the Oscars revealed that they were far more out of touch than we thought.
They bit the bullet and brought in Seth McFarlane, one of the most polarizing men in the business. They knew that he was destined to offend at least three minority groups during the course of the show, but more importantly, they wanted someone who would bring in big ratings numbers. The host did both, and sadly, the experience was still a big miss overall.
The majority of movie-goers just don’t care who designed Nicole Kidman’s dress this season.
The Oscars rely on three things for viewership—the red carpet fanfare, a popular host and nominees that people actually care about. While the red carpet is a time-honored tradition, today the majority of movie-goers just don’t care who designed Nicole Kidman’s dress this season.
Where the hosting is concerned, critics are bristling at the irreverent commentary of this year’s master of ceremonies. But for anyone who has seen or even heard of Family Guy, his particular brand of humor should have come as no surprise.
Still, the host can’t be blamed for everything. The Academy Awards was struggling long before the Ted creator got his paws on it, and even he was able to evoke more laughs than the infamous pairing of James Franco and Anne Hathaway during the 2011 Oscars debacle.
When it comes down to it, the ceremony suffers most from poor writing and production choices. The one-liners from the presenters fell flat again and again. The sketches earned responses of pity and confusion from many; and the performances, while impressive, were the same old showstoppers that we’ve seen a hundred times before.
Though the ceremony was lackluster at best, that isn’t to say that the movies themselves are irrelevant. On the contrary, the films nominated each year are often beautiful and inspiring, dark and gripping stories that deserve recognition for the work that goes into making them. But as a show that is supposed to award the best in the film industry, it was anything but entertaining—especially when you compare it to America’s other big-budget, must-watch event of the year: the Super Bowl.
Though the ceremony was lackluster at best, that isn’t to say that the movies themselves are irrelevant.
The Super Bowl drew in twice as many viewers as the Academy Awards. The people behind it know that everyone watching isn’t a massive sports fan, but the Super Bowl has a lot more to offer: an advertising slot that has become more popular than the game itself, and a killer, special-effects laden half-time show. The producers don’t have to struggle to stay relevant to our generation when they’ve got a Beyoncé concert headlining the event.
To be fair, the Academy Awards doesn’t work like a Tony Stark expo. But in the same way that the Super Bowl has become far more than just the game, the Oscars is more than the movies it awards and more than red carpet fashion.
Though they’re clearly trying very hard to bring a fresh twist to an awards program that has seen 85 years, the producers should spend less time choosing the host and start looking to improve the writing and production if they want to keep our attention.