The Oscars are on Sunday. It feels weird to give everyone that reminder, but this week has been full of fun, trashy, messy gossip, none of which had anything to do with the Oscars. The biggest Oscar-related story this week was “is Whoopi Goldberg the secret Oscar host,” which is not a good signal for this year’s Academy Awards. She’s not the secret host, by the way. And even if she was, it wouldn’t save this year’s Oscars. I feel strongly that we’re going to be tuning into an utter trainwreck, and my biggest concern is that it will be a boring, unfunny trainwreck, not the “it’s so bad, it’s bizarrely watchable” mess.
During this week’s Gossip with Celebitchy podcast, CB and I talked a lot about the changes the Academy tried to make and then backed out on. I suggested at one point that the Academy should just TRY a radical change and see what happens, because you never know. Why not cull the list of 26 awards down and shift 6 to 8 of those Oscar categories to the technical Oscars? Just do it for one year and see what happens. Why not try to bang out a show in two hours? Will anyone really miss the endless montages?
Anyway, The Hollywood Reporter did a story about how the Oscars can and should change… to get Millennial viewership. Millennials are opting out of the Oscar telecast in droves every year, but as THR’s Millennial Hollywood executives point out, there’s still a significant Millennial interest in Oscar content, they’re just not interested in watching the whole f–king telecast. So while this piece annoys the f–k out of me (there’s one Millennial dude quoted who speaks in utter gibberish), there are some good points made, like this:
Per THR’s survey, suggestions ranged from abolishing movie clips (“watch the trailer if you want”) to integrating ads into the show instead of commercial breaks to reduce the run time (“like baseball!”). But, overwhelmingly, the younger viewers said they’re interested in off-the-cuff moments — ones that don’t involve politics or inside Hollywood jokes. “[The bloat] is all these forced bits and unfunny takes on the industry. Cut those and show the presenters having a good time,” offers a 29-year-old writer and development exec. “If you get to watch The Rock and, like, Diane Keaton present, it’s, ‘Wow, that’s weird and fun.’ Just let them riff for 30 seconds.”
The 2018 ceremony’s “weird and fun” moment belonged to presenters Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph: High heels in hand, they talked awards fashion and Hollywood diversity. More than 11,000 people signed a petition for the duo to host this year. (Sources say they weren’t approached.)
But if the Academy had stumbled onto a standout moment, it seemed incapable of capitalizing on it. In fact, video of the duo is buried on the Academy’s YouTube page, where it’s titled “Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405 wins Best Documentary Short Subject,” and a thumbnail image features the film’s little-known director, Frank Stiefel. A paltry 17,000 have found it. By comparison, a shaky bootleg YouTube supercut of Rudolph and Haddish has garnered nearly 780,000 views.
This is an unexpectedly good observation: the Academy has consistently failed to capitalize on the great moments they DO create. They should have a full team online, putting the videos up quickly on YouTube, IG and Twitter. It seems like a basic thing, but trust me, the Academy SUCKS at engaging with “the youths” at their level and they consistently fail to do this, year after year.
Anyway, this is just a reminder – I predict that next Tuesday, I’ll be writing about how this year’s Oscars have hemorrhaged viewers again and “no one in the Academy” knows what to do. It really isn’t that hard, JUST CHANGE. YOUTH IT UP.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.