Reminder: This year’s Oscars telecast will suck, hemorrhage viewership again

90th Annual Academy Awards - Backstage

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.

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

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.

90th Annual Academy Awards - Backstage

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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36 Responses to “Reminder: This year’s Oscars telecast will suck, hemorrhage viewership again”

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  1. LahdidahBaby says:

    Sounds like a smart idea. Which means they will never do it.

  2. Becks1 says:

    I don’t mind the actual awards, I mind the bloat as that article describes it. Right now it feels like its always montage, best picture nominee*, random award that they hurry through, then 10 commercials. Rinse, repeat. with all the good awards at the end. I know they do that on purpose, but mix it up a bit. Put sometimes besides just supporting actor/actress at the beginning (maybe best cinematography? best screenplay?)

    *I don’t mind the movie clips of best picture, but I do always feel like they make weird clips that don’t make the movies look very good. It’s odd to me.

    Honestly, I think it would be worth trying – just see what happens if you cut out every montage except “in memoriam.” I feel like that would save them 20 or 30 minutes. And that’s really it IMO – if you cut it down to 2.5 hours or even 2 hours, people will watch. Right now its a huge time commitment. I watch every year but it does drag.

    I think the lack of a host will be a problem because there is usually the big showy opening number, which is usually the best part. But besides that, the host is always useless IMO. If they are “edgy” or interesting, the Academy doesn’t ask them back.

    • minx says:

      I don’t watch it anymore, I look at YouTube videos of winners I’m interested in. I hate the chit chat, the host introducing the presenters who present the awards. It’s too much filler.

    • LWT00 says:

      “I do always feel like they make weird clips that don’t make the movies look very good. It’s odd to me. ”

      I feel you on this. They always choose the strangest moments to showcase. If I haven’t seen the movies, the clips don’t usually make me want to.

  3. Sash says:

    This is actually the first year I’m skipping the show. Appalling decisions and baffling nominees have killed my interest in it.

    • LWT00 says:

      Same. I’ve watched every year for decades and I’ve seen about half the nominees this year. I can’t remember a year where I was less interested in so many award-caliber movies.

  4. anony83 says:

    I feel like this is what the Golden Globes does well that the Oscars fails at mightily in the interest of decorum.

    Also more booze wouldn’t hurt.

    • hnmmom says:

      Agreed! I will not be watching the Oscars this year. I barely watched it last year. I don’t think I will miss it.

  5. smcollins says:

    If anything in HW is in desperate need of a reboot it’s the Oscars. They need to experiment and try different things, critics be damned. If something doesn’t work then keep trying until something does. There’s alway going to *someone* who doesn’t like it and complains, but oh well…
    I’ve been a loyal Oscars watcher for almost 30 years (it’s like a tradition now) so I’ll always tune in, but yeah…they really need to change it up & mix it up and completely revamp it.

    • PlayItAgain says:

      Agreed! For the last several years, I tend to mute the long, drawn out opening and even some of the presenters because I’m tired of cringing at all the bad jokes and stupid gags. Ellen wasn’t bad when she hosted, loved the audience selfie moment. But, overall, there’s too many bits, and they take too long. Drags the whole show down. Just have someone come out, announce the award, they give their speech, and then move the F on to the next one. Chop, chop, people!! Keep it moving!!

      • smcollins says:

        Lol exactly. Too much filler. They could easily cut it down to 2 hours by trimming the fat, so to speak.

  6. Jegede says:

    I actually think trying to make it trendy and catering to the young crowd is their undoing.

    Generation Y and Z still have strong commercial, clout and power yet are no longer engaged.

    Their loss is the biggest one for the Oscars.

    Same with how VF has changed it;s approach post-Graydon Carter to appeals to the politicized millenials and have seen sales tank.

    18-24 don’t buy mags, or watch TV the same way, meanwhile the gernaration that used to, increasingly look elsewhere.

    • Eliza says:

      Youth it up isn’t the answer for everything. I agree. And in this ageist society, do we have to do everything for the 18-25 demographic? And do the 18-25 demo really care about The Wife and Roma? Some, obviously, but in the millions? No.

      I wouldn’t move awards, that only punishes people who never get publicly recognized (they wouldn’t move acting awards). Accept its a 2.25 program, which most movies on tv now are with commercials. End it at 10:15 EST/ 7:15 PST on purpose.

      Get better red carpet host on the channel its already airing on to bring in ad revenue (no one wants Ryan or Carson). Have an intro less than 4 minutes total, but let the host have some leeway with material. Get an interesting house band (please John Legend). Keep the traditions (previous acting winners as presenters). Have interesting presenters or pairings.

    • Eliza says:

      Some how this is a dup entry.

    • Betsy says:

      You know a number of us millennials are nearing 40, right? That’s not exactly chasing youth.

  7. Mia4s says:

    For all their talk about wanting to get big names to present (BIG!) as opposed to last year’s winners (because even the Academy now acknowledges that winning an Oscar doesn’t mean very much, LMAO!), it’s a bit anti-climactic? They certainly got some strong presenters, good choices, and yes big names, but certainly no one that makes you go: OMG! THEY’RE presenting?! I never would have imagined that.

    Plus I love that they couldn’t get Kendrick Lamar to perform, but are excited they have what’s left of Queen performing. Yep…all about appealing to those new viewers and next generation.Good luck! 🙄

  8. Darla says:

    I never watch it. I don’t watch any award shows other than the Grammys which I love. But I do come here to see the clothes the next day.

    • Astrid says:

      Same here. I can’t be bothered to sit through all the crap. But I love the clothing recap the next day on Celebitchy!

  9. Erinn says:

    I turn 29 this year. I do not know a single person in my age group who sits down and watches ANY of these awards shows. I’d have to say the majority don’t give a flying f-ck. Personally, I’ll google a list of winners the next morning, and wait for anything amusing to pop up on Youtube.

    I think what would be the smartest is to keep a ‘classic’ telecast for the most part BUT hire an actually competent group to really capitalize on the ‘viral’ bits. The clips should be uploaded by the next morning at the LATEST, and they should be focusing on the biggest ‘buzz’/funniest bits of the night – not the wardrobes, not the speeches unless they’re funny/super meaningful … they need to focus on the funny or outrageous more if they really want to corner as much of the market as they can.

    • Va Va Kaboom says:

      I’m 33 and I don’t know a single person who watches either. I agree with you about capitalizing on the potentially viral moments. But if the Academy wants to keep broadcasting the show they need to do more to get younger views to actually watch it. Sooner or later the networks are going to pull the plug if the viewership keeps dropping.

  10. Feebee says:

    I hate the way they complain about winners talking too much and taking up time when they have so many dumb things they could cut. And yes, it’s no surprised they ignored the best part of the last ceremony. They have an industry of talented people at their disposal, how do they screw it up almost every year?!

    Side note – to hear the producer talk about winner’s time when he single handedly hijacked the Emmys so HE could have a viral moment is a little gtfoh.

    • Betsy says:

      I’m beginning to think the writers – and the writing is horrible, year in, year out – have pictures of the producers in compromising positions.

      I quit watching years ago because it’s annoying musical numbers, montages, blather, the host is usually tiresome… just fix it.

  11. PixiePaperdoll says:

    Why don’t they cut ALL the songs? It’s up to the audience to watch (or not) the nominated movies, why take up broadcast time just for the songs? There’s half an hour back, you’re welcome.

    (And I say this as the person who takes Oscar Sunday off work every year.)

    • Emilia says:

      I feel like this is an unpopular opinion but I completely agree with you. The performances are always my least favorite part of the show and are usually when I take my snack/bathroom breaks.

  12. Va Va Kaboom says:

    Personally, I think Graham Norton should host and the writers for his talk show should at least be part of the team. That show is great at creating an atmosphere and camaraderie that allows guests/presenters to have amazing “off-the-cuff” interactions. He’s also amazing at being current without being cutting or making it crazy political.

    It feels like the Oscars try to mask their outdated practices and beliefs by making the commentary extra “edgy”. Which ends up being mean, unnecessary, or simply cringeworthy.

  13. Ann says:

    I think Millennials do want some political controversy, the Oscars doesn’t want that. Maybe the celebrities in attendance don’t want that either. But viewers do. I know I do. If every acceptance speech came with a side of “fuck Trump” in one way or the other I’d be so happy. Hollywood is supposedly the ultimate bastion of the liberal agenda so let the lefty freak flag fly on the biggest night of the year.

  14. Veronica S. says:

    Younger viewers just don’t have the attention span to get through three hour programs, particularly when a good portion of what’s being handed out doesn’t interest the general public. (Hate to say it, but it’s true.) Put the big awards in one telecast, do a highlight special reel on an Oscar channel on YouTube or something. Why is this such a difficult concept?

    The other thing to consider is that, well, in the era of social media and constant press coverage, Hollywood stars just do not have that distant idol character to them anymore. It’s not so glamorous to see them up on stage when you can visit their Instagram or open a magazine. There’s a sense of lost exclusiveness the Oscars haven’t quite grasped yet.

  15. Case says:

    I’m 25 — I LOVE movies and love watching the Oscar nominated films each year. I get super excited for award season, but I’m the only person in my group of friends (even colleagues my age) who is so invested in this stuff. I tend to frustrate my friends because they want me to binge watch as many shows as they have, but I often prefer watching movies.

    I don’t think catering to the 18-25 demographic is the answer. In my experience, a lot of people in that age range aren’t super into movies/award shows, and that won’t change if they hire a cool, young host or something.

    I also think part of the issue is time — it’s on a Sunday night and I recall it going on until midnight at times. People don’t want to stay up that late before Monday.

  16. Andrea says:

    why is it done to me, that Brad Pitt will go? to show that you have a very good public relations game

  17. Pandy says:

    I’m betting Kimmel hosts again. His show is on hiatus this week, which might mean rehearsal time?? I watch to see the gowns. Otherwise, could care less and haven’t seen a single film this year.

    • AppleTartin says:

      Kimmel is too professional to just wing it with a few weeks notice. My prediction some dumb montage glorifying themselves as Gods as the cold opening.

      Then the voice overs people just introducing and announcing in between.

  18. bears says:

    A program must be consistently entertaining to me or else I won’t tolerate commercials just to watch it. I have other, endless options. Pre-show carpet, outfits, winners & highlights can be seen in real time on Twitter or at the very least, the next day. I’d watch the Oscars if they held it in a cramped basement and everyone received a mandatory double shot of tequila at the door. Might liven it up a little.

  19. SilentStar says:

    Don’t plan to watch it. Just give me some short videos of the best bits, gossip, and plenty of photos of the fancy clothes! I’ll gladly put in my time critiquing on the gossip sites instead.

  20. Jane says:

    I’ll watch the red-carpet arrivals for the gowns,and then shut off the TV. It’s better to catch the results and any decent bits on You Tube the following day. I cannot bring myself to watch the whole show lasting 3-4 hours.

    To think that way back in 1929 when the first Oscars were held, the whole thing lasted 15 minutes! The first televised show in 1953 lasted only an hour and a half. Too bad they couldn’t narrow it down to make it more palatable.

  21. Andrea says:

    today brad pitt in oscars, to cleanse his image and believe himself a god.