The glamour, the glitz, the red carpet, all the expensive gift bags, ($200, 000 each?) suits, shoes, diamonds, drinks, and the Oscars is one hell of a party. It is a dream that many want to come true throughout their lives. Unfortunately, for most of us, it is one that we can only experience on our screens, so why are the ratings so low? This year, 2018, the Oscars had its lowest ever rating for viewers, even I, didn’t stay up to watch. I thought “the highlights will be posted everywhere tomorrow morning, so I won’t miss out”, thank you, social media, hey? As it stands, the 2018 Oscars are down approximately 19% compared to 2017. That is a huge drop.
With high-class acts and celebrity hosts, this celebration of the screen really holds no expense and has a dramatic build-up through the year. It’s a conversation piece, isn’t it?
I personally feel it’s lost something. This year, hardly anyone I had spoken to had seen any of the big contenders, and this could be due to the rising price of attending the cinema and being able to finding the time. However, that spark of wanting to still watch the Oscars had also gone. The responses were very uncaring, and the subject quickly changed. Online, only a select few of my friends attended “Oscar parties” or posted images of themselves watching it with family and friends.
It’s no lie that the Oscars have been trying to appeal to younger audiences for a few years, they have tried with their hosts, from James Franco and Anne Hathaway, to Ricky Gervais, who all did a fantastic job, but something still missed the mark and continues to miss the mark. It’s also no lie that the Oscars have had backlash with being sexist, racist and a playground for body-shaming, and over the last few years, with Twitter’s Hashtag taking over, event’s like this have had to really step up their game when it comes to promoting equality. Something America desperately needs right now.
Billy Crystal when hosting the Oscars once said: “So tonight, enjoy yourselves because nothing can take the sting out of the world’s economic problems like watching millionaires present each other with golden statues.” Which I think speaks one thousand words, especially when the Oscars always seems to be a place where one celebrity to another will give a fantastic, political speech, whilst clinging onto their golden man. I know they do this because of their large audience that they know will hear and see their speech, hoping that they will inspire, and they always do, but if fewer people are watching, who are they inspiring? Perhaps this predictability of speeches is over-powering the celebration of the films themselves. This predictability, is what is ruining the spark. Being able to predict what films and which actors are going to win, and knowing the outcome means that there is no excitement or desire to watch anymore.
The Oscars do promote a certain high-style, high-life standard, and because they miss out certain popular genres, gives the impression that the Oscars are “too good” for certain genres and films. This is causing them to miss out on audiences, because the popular audience might not always watch the intense-drama, top-quality acting films the Oscars want to award.
I asked a few of my younger brother’s friends between the ages of 18-21, about the Oscars and a lot said that “they didn’t care” about it. When I asked why my brother said he doesn’t feel like the Oscars stand for anything because brilliant comedies, horror and Sci-Fi films out there are never entered, which separates and creates a hierarchy in films, so it isn’t really celebrating all films. He said it’s also about what is “trending”, for example they all agreed that Leonardo DiCaprio should have won an Oscar many films ago and it was only when the internet was about to Revolt that he won one. Was this for ratings? It’s all about ratings at the end of the day. I had to agree.
A few others said that the Oscars always gives the impression that is it controlled and fixed, and they wanted to see some change, some live voting polls, something to create some excitement and drama. Some examples for awards were, the “rising star” award, or award for “best comedy film” or “best comedy actor/actress”, somethings to showcase the talent out there that audiences, younger audiences watch every day.
However, in some cases the Oscars are taking a step in the right, new direction. This year they crowned the fantasy drama “The Shape of Water” as best picture, so hopefully in the future we might see a Best Comedy award, Best Sci-Fi, and even a Best Student film would also be an amazing add. Perhaps the Oscars can hold their own mini-film festival before the big event. Although, it is possible the Oscars love their format and won’t change for anyone and want to keep their traditions of being glitz and glamorous and too good for us all.
It only worries me that the Oscars like their high-society social standing, and do not want to be too commercialised, however, if they want their ratings to go up, they’ll have to appeal to the masses, and to do so, they’ll have to entertain all the film genres.
Keep trying Oscars, I don’t want you to start being old-school and tacky.
(I still want to win one, and I want a goody bag.)