Sunday night should have been a moment of celebration. After the Academy Awards, like everything else last year, were forced to do things very differently, this was supposed to be the night Oscar came back. Of course, once ABC and producer Will Packer decided to start almost sabotaging the ceremony, that went out the window. Still, with the 94th Academy Awards in the books (and articles to come all week on the various parts of it all), I wanted to take a bit of a look at the show itself. So, today, we’re going to be focusing our coverage on the Oscar telecast, which left something to be desired, all in all.
While there were obviously inspiring and moving moments, it all rang very off and even weird. Even when the In Memoriam managed to make me cry with some touching tributes, the presentation comes off strangely. Steve and I spoke about this a bit on yesterday’s bonus podcast episode (here), but Packer and company didn’t make it feel like the Oscars. The glitz and glamour were only sort of there, replaced by desperate attempts at finding an audience that just isn’t interested. I’ve bemoaned this in the past, notably in an article right here on the site, but in practice, it really was noticeable.
First of all, presenting eight of the categories before the show and then editing the speeches into the broadcast didn’t work. Some of it seemed more seamless than others, but it didn’t speed up the telecast. Instead, it made room for comedy bits and tributes. Some of those weren’t bad, but more than not, they fell flat. Even the already odd choice to have a presentation of Encanto‘s hit song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” fell well shy of the intended mark.
Then, there was the Twitter influenced moments, which were embarrassing if not for the fact that they were so bungled that you could easily ignore them. The tension about if CODA or The Power of the Dog would win Best Picture barely existed, not because the race wasn’t close, but because the show torpedoed its own tension. The trio of hosts were fine, but it was at best, one step forward, one step back.
Of course, Will Smith slapping Chris Rock is all anyone will talk about now. We’ve covered it on the site, and you all know it verbatim, but what a travesty. No one came off looking good, from Rock and Smith down to the Academy itself. I don’t want to give it any extra attention, but beyond the sideshow aspect of it, it was bad behavior and an embarrassment. Not only did Smith end up taking the attention away from the other nominees and winners, but he did it to his own film, too. King Richard is an anecdote in all of this. Plus, his speech, which going for emotion, never fully addressed what happened, leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouth who was watching. Imagine being in the room?
The ratings rebounded from last year, like we knew they would, but another bit of Oscar luster has vanished. Their reputation takes another hit, and that’s a shame. Hollywood’s biggest night should be a celebration for cinephiles the world over. Instead, it’s becoming something that people hate-watch. I’m not there yet, but if that ever happens to me? Then we’re truly in uncharted waters.
All in all, the Oscar telecast did nothing to further the Academy or the Academy Awards. If anything, it’s becoming more and more of a joke, which is a shame for me to say. Those of us who love the Oscars and literally have made its coverage our livelihood should be mourning this. Whether it was the worst telecast or not is irrelevant. It was simply one that no one should be proud of…
What were your thoughts on the Oscar telecast? Let us know!