The Oscars will always be the most prestigious ceremony for films. The actual ceremony will never be in trouble. However, it’s the television broadcast that needs to be fixed. Movie fans will always tune into the show no matter what the circumstances are surrounding the length of the broadcast or the host of the show. The challenge is figuring out how to attract the average viewer to tune into the show.
Last year’s ceremony had its lowest ratings in the modern era with 26.5 million viewers. To fix the ratings problem, the Academy decided to implement new changes to the broadcast, but the upcoming ceremony has been plagued with problems for months now ever since the Academy announced and later, scrapped the proposed award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film. Then, the entire Kevin Hart controversy left the show without a host. Now, the Academy announced it will hand out a few awards such as cinematography and film editing during commercials as a way to keep the broadcast under 3 hours. Much to the surprise of no one, it has been met with serious blowback.
Luckily, I have a few ideas on how to fix the Oscars.
1. Start Earlier
Why does the ceremony have to start at 8 PM EST? The Super Bowl, which is usually the highest watched program in the United States ever year, starts at 6:30 EST. Why can’t the Oscars start earlier as well? The average length of Oscar ceremonies since 2010 has been 215 minutes, with telecasts ending between 11:43 PM and 12:19 AM. That’s ridiculous for any telecast. Most viewers are in bed by then on the East Coast. Starting the ceremony at 7 PM EST and ending at 11 PM would be ideal for all viewers.
2. Stream The Ceremony Globally
We are currently living in the digital streaming age. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon produce critically acclaimed films and television while livestreams on social media skyrocket in popularity. Why not take advantage of the digital age? Imagine if the ceremony was streaming on a platform like Twitter or Instagram in addition to ABC. This would encourage more interaction between viewers on social media. Television ads would still sell. Money would still come in. This would be just another way to view the show.
3. Introduce New Rising Star Categories
The popular film category was an example of “right idea, terrible execution.” Popular films can get nominated for Oscars cc: Black Panther. Adding popular, box office hits to the ceremony is smart, but there are better ways to implement them into a ceremony. Take the BAFTAs (England’s Academy Awards) for example. Two categories featured on the show are Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer and the EE Rising Star Award (voted for by the public). If the writing category were added to include all writers, popular stars like Bradley Cooper or Bo Burnham might receive their Oscar moment. The rising star award at the BAFTAs was won by Letitia Wright for playing Shuri in Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War. If Wright won that award at the Oscars, it would give Black Panther a monumental Oscar win and leave many fans happy.
4. Announce Every Category On The Broadcast
As mentioned above, the ceremony will air categories during commercials. This is not a good idea. This is the Super Bowl for the film community. Although these categories are lesser known to the public, they are extremely respected positions in the film community. By not airing certain categories on the show, the Academy is stating that these awards do not matter. Ask anyone who has ever made a film. Cinematography and editing are two of the most important aspects of a film. Reward these gifted men and women with the ability to have their moment in the sun on live television.
5. Raise Salary For Host
Hosting the Oscars used to be a highly-sought out job. Now, it seems as if everyone far and wide are running from it. The pressure to succeed and deliver ratings as well as the low-pay for a huge workload has led to many entertainers avoiding the gig entirely. Jimmy Kimmel said that he made $15,000 to host last year’s ceremony despite ABC charging millions for a 30-second commercial. The Academy should work with ABC to significantly increase the salary for the host, which my lead to more entertainers saying “yes” to the gig. Months of work and insane stress should be counteracted with a fair, 6-figure payday.
Tune in on February 24 at 8 PM EST to see if any of my rules are implemented into the broadcast!