An awards show should cater to the industry it’s awarding and that industry’s fans, not random viewers who do not care either way.
Color me surprised, the Oscars was not the train fire that so many of us thought it would be. In fact, it wasn’t half bad. I’ve never been a big awards show person because a lot of the wins seem to have a kind ulterior motive and this year was no different. That said I have learned to look past the awards I don’t agree with and take in the moments the really mattered. There were some artists last night who were given recognition on the greatest stage of their craft and capturing their joy filled emotions was and always will be beautiful.
Let’s take it back to the beginning though, the show opened with a performance by the remaining members of Queen with touring vocalist Adam Lambert. There could not have been a better way to open the show and it gave me the impression that they may pull something off with this year’s presentation. What followed was a host-less Oscars and it was the best thing that could have happened to this show. Take out the host and you just cut out a bunch of extra fluff that has and never will be needed. It was also more interesting to see a variety of personalities on stage without a framing device past IT’S AN AWARDS SHOW.
This show was lean for the most part and I have to imagine that cutting out a host probably shaved twenty minutes of air time, which apparently is massively important to ABC, the network host. I’m typically not a huge fan of the live music performances but this year gave me not just Queen but the Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper duet Shallow. I was a huge fan of A Star Is Born, the chemistry between the two leads being a huge reason, and damn do these two have the best chemistry I have seen regardless of the venue. The performance brought back those strong emotional feelings I felt when watching the movie. In fact, I’m starting to get bummed again it didn’t win more awards…
I would be remiss to again state that the true heart of the show to me is watching an impassioned artist take in this moment of recognition and reflection of what they accomplished the previous year. There were some very beautiful and moving speeches. Black Panther’s Hannah Beachler for Production Design was the standout this year. When you feel those same feelings that the award winner is feeling you know they are speaking from the deepest place in their heart. It was special, which leads to the biggest issue I have with how the producers of this show choose to run it.
This is supposed to be about the honoring those who have won the awards for whatever category they were nominated for. Why then do we have time for cringey bits? Jokes that never land to the full audience? Why is that time taken away from award winners where they have to speed through their acceptance and acknowledgement of this huge moment for them? I don’t get it, I didn’t need the Melissa McCarthy bit playing with a puppet, I don’t need to see people descend from the sky. I want to see the show about awarding achievements in film to be about those achievements in film. The answer is clear, that the network needs those audience numbers, but it just adds circus tricks to what is supposed to be a prestige show.
Along with being a big movie fan, I’m an avid video game enthusiast. They have had an independent award show called The Game Awards for the last five years. That show gets what it is, and it can do that because the show runner Geoff Keighley decided to build the show directly on streaming platforms. He isn’t bound down to some silly need to draw in audience that doesn’t care for the subject matter, it caters to that industry and to that industry’s fans. It’s the example of what every prestige awards show should aspire to and a goal post of what the Oscars need to reach if it wants to keep the relevance that it so desperately needs.
It occurs to me that in my award show rant, I didn’t even comment about the winners themselves. Congratulations to all the winners! Did some of my favorites not win? Yeah that happens pretty much every year, but I’m not everyone and that’s okay. Go Movies!