Let’s travel to the future together. It’s March 28, 2022. The ratings for the Oscars come out, and the show managed to increase from 2021’s career-low 10 million viewers. However, the number of viewers was less than 2020’s ceremony, which accumulated 23.6 million. There will be multiple “how-to” posts all over Twitter, providing solutions on various ways to fix the telecast.
I’m beating those writers to the punch. I can’t fix the Academy, nor is it my place to do so. I’m interested in the telecast itself. For the second time, I came up with a few ideas to implement into future ceremonies.
Improving The Telecast
The Oscars need to remember that it’s a television show first and foremost. Rewarding incredible achievements and spotlighting the Hollywood elite, though important, is secondary to running an informative and entertaining broadcast. The days of 30 million viewers are behind us. Cinephiles like myself who love movies will always watch. The key is to figure out how to bring back the casual fan.
Move The Nominations To Primetime
Announcing the Oscar nominees on a Tuesday at 8:15 am ET/515 am PT is malpractice. Why haven’t entertainment journalists rallied together and protested against the morning announcements? Being nominated for an Oscar is life-changing, but it’s hard to generate excitement before most people drink a cup of coffee.
The nominations should be a one-hour primetime special on ABC. One or two hosts can announce the nominations throughout the hour. Create a panel of movie experts and entertainment journalists to live-react to the surprises and snubs. Conduct virtual interviews with nominees to generate excitement for one of the highest honors of their lives. Stream the special on Twitter so those without cable can take part in the action. Selfishly, it will be easier for writers (like myself) to blog about the nominations at a normal hour instead of the wee hours of the morning.
Cut The Check For A Host
Hosting the Oscars used to be one of the most prestigious gigs in Hollywood. Icons like Bob Hope, David Letterman, Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, and Chris Rock all hosted the Oscars. After the Kevin Hart controversy in 2019, there has been no host, and the show has suffered from three straight shows with an average of 20 million viewers, the lowest three years in 35 years.
Besides the Internet dragging a host through the mud for every little mistake in their past, the financial compensation to host is extremely low. Jimmy Kimmel said he was paid $15,000 to host. For a high-risk, high reward project that requires a lot of time and attention to detail, the Academy should compensate the host financially at a fair number. Maybe it’s not enough money to captivate an A+ list star, but it could attract an A-/B+ host to take on the challenge.
I would just like to put it on the record that I want to host the Oscars. If any member of the Academy reads this article and wants my services, please hit me up.
Best Picture Eliminator
Best Picture is the biggest award of the night that’s usually the last award announced*. Presenters will spotlight each Best Picture nominee throughout the ceremony with a short speech and clips. The clips can stay. However, I want to drum up even more anticipation for the greatest award. What if a few nominees were eliminated from the race at the end of each hour?
*Do NOT even get me started on last year’s decision to put Best Picture second-to-last and end the show with a picture of Anthony Hopkins because he wasn’t there to accept his award for Best Actor.
I call it “The Eliminator.” At the end of the first hour, a presenter announces the elimination of three to four films from the Best Picture race. At the end of the second hour, three more films are eliminated from contention. The plan is to have the final three going into the last hour. Halfway through the last hour, eliminate one more film so it gets down to two. Then, announce the winner from the remaining two films at the end of the night.
Don’t tell me this wouldn’t garner attention from those watching at home and those following along on Twitter. Tense eliminations work! Just ask American Idol, Survivor, The Challenge, The Bachelor, etc. Some might argue that eliminating films throughout the night will diminish their value. Who wants to come in tenth place in any competition? To avoid this, don’t announce the number of votes placed for spots four through ten. Don’t publicly rank the films from ninth place, eighth place, seventh place, and so on and so forth. Randomly determine which ones to eliminate for those first two hours. Only the order of the final three should matter. The crowd’s reactions to these eliminations will generate loud, viral reactions. Think of the memes!
Award Stunt Ensembles
Looking back, the most popular award was ahead of its time. #FilmTwitter begs and complains about the Oscars 24/7. I mean I’m literally writing an article about changing the telecast! You know what would bring in high ratings? Tom Holland and Zendaya accepting an award for Spider-Man: No Way Home.
The show needs popular movies featured in the telecast. If we can’t agree on the popular Oscar, then the next best thing is an award for stunt ensembles, similar to the award given at the SAGs. Rewarding stunt ensembles is long overdue. These daredevils deserve to be rewarded on the same stage where the actors they portray collect Oscars. Plus, it’s a good way to incorporate more action blockbusters into the ceremony.
Fan Voting For Non-Awards
The Oscars should be a celebration of the year in film for the fans. Without these fans, movies would never be made. It’s time to make their voices heard throughout the broadcast. The Academy will never let fans vote on the awards, which is fine by me. However, there needs to be a fan element to the broadcast. Fans should be able to vote on who they think will win each category. A ticker can run at the bottom of the screen to reveal the fan vote before the announcement for each category is made.
I’d also consider adding fun categories for fans to vote on like best dressed, best speech, the best performance of the year, the best film of the year, etc. Hold a prediction contest to see who can predict the most winners of the night and announce their name on the broadcast. There needs to be more social interaction between the host and the viewers. Make the audience at home feel like their opinion matters.
Start It Earlier
The Super Bowl is the most-watched event in the country and it starts at 6:30 PM EST. The Oscars are not the Super Bowl, but the ceremony should not air from 8 PM – 11 PM. Casual viewers are not staying up that late to watch. Either do it from 6:30 PM – 10 PM or 7 PM – 10 PM. Then, run a post-game interview show from 10 PM – 11 PM.
I’m writing this article as someone who adores this ceremony. I only want this show to thrive, not struggle, in the future. Here’s to an open mind.
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- 2022 Oscars Discussion, Vol. 1: The Race For Best Picture
What are your suggestions for the Oscars? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me at, @danny_giro.