The Academy’s changes for the Oscars show they still have a long way to go


With its newest board officers, the Academy behind the Oscars announced a new set of changes for the next awards show. But will this be for the better?

The board officers of The Academy of Motions Picture Arts and Sciences have had some thinking to do for the Oscars. Within the last few years, the broadcasts have lost their luster. The most recent broadcast this year was proof, with Variety reporting an “all-time low” for the award show’s ratings.

With that being a wakeup call for the Academy, today the members of the board of governors announced several new changes coming to the show for 2019 and onward.

The first of the “changes” is a renewed commitment to keeping the broadcast to three hours.  As Bustle reported, none of the broadcasts have been able to keep their times to under three hours since the 1980s. While this commitment to a shorter time seems like a good move, it means the Academy will really have to cut back on monologues and gags, speech times, and (most importantly) the number of awards presented.

It’s a bid for viewers while they compete with audiences’ attention. No longer is it overly exciting to see your favorite celebrity on the TV screen at the Oscars, because we already see them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and so many other places.

It might actually do the Oscars good to cut back on gags and frilly filler scenes so we can get right to the speeches. Oscars speeches can gain hundreds of thousands (even millions) of views on YouTube — Leonardo DiCaprio’s 2016 speech, for example, has 14 million views on YouTube. Audiences can find novelty anywhere around the web these days, but the authenticity of a historic winning speech is something you can really only find at the Oscars.

The most noticeable of those changes that they announced is a new awards category. Called the “outstanding achievement in popular film,” the Academy was not quick to clarify what this category will actually encompass. But it seems like this is the Academy’s (misguided) step toward being inclusive for “fan-favorite” kinds of films. The debate here is whether a fan-favorite movie is just as good as high-brow kind of movie.

Not too long ago, fan-favorite films like The Sound of Music, West Side Story, and Rocky won best pictures. As of the last decade, that hasn’t been quite the case. Take the 2012 Best Picture Winner, Argo, for example. That year, Batman: The Dark Knight Rises and Avengers were among the top earners — and the Avengers had become one of the highest-grossing movies of all time. Yet those movies were virtually ignored by the Oscars in major categories.

It seems like The Academy is finally trying to acknowledge high-grossing movies like these because they do carry a lot of weight in the entertainment industry. Honestly, if popular films that everybody saw were actually nominated for Best Picture, the Oscars might see a better return in viewership. This might happen with the addition of the “popular film” category — but you have to admit, something like Black Panther winning Best Picture in Popular Film doesn’t sound as great as it winning the actual Best Picture award.

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The last of the changes from the Academy is an earlier airdate for the 92nd broadcast. The next Oscars will air Sunday, Feb. 9 — compared to this year’s Oscars occurring on Feb. 24. It looks like the Academy still has a ways to go. And it will take a lot of fine-tuning to finally get it right.