The 2022 Academy Awards saw an increase in ratings over last year but still were down significantly from the year prior. As a result, they tried to make several changes to the show, including giving eight awards off the air to trim downtime and even broaden the show’s appeal. However, the show did not go off without quite a few complaints from many people.
I will admit the Academy did a better job with the hosts this year than in the past. It was the first time in three years we had a host and we had three with Regina Hall, Wanda Sykes and Amy Schumer. Although there was speculation that each host would have an hour instead, the producers sprinkled them into the telecast together as well as a handful of times on their own. The joke writing wasn’t terrible, but the continued bashing of the nominated films is definitely cheap and unneeded. (However, I stand by Schumer’s joke about Aaron Sorkin and Being the Ricardo’s.)
The decision to cut the eight categories and move them to the main show was a decision literally not one fan of the Oscars approved of. The plan was implemented to “save” time on the overall ceremony. Unfortunately, that did not work, as the telecast ran three hours and forty-two minutes long. Not only did the producers not save time, they cut eight winners from the spotlight they deserved and did a terrible patch job of their speeches, which ended up being edited on the broadcast and in the transcript of the show.
So the big question is, how do they fix the Academy Awards telecast? Well, I asked a couple members of the team here at Oscars Central to help me with some ideas on how to fix the telecast for next year.
Make the Oscars a two-night special like the Emmy’s. You can air both nights on ABC, which would draw more advertising, a unique audience would get to see the Below the Line creators that are the backbone of these films and everyone would get the speech they deserve.
Get social media more involved with the event. I didn’t hate having TikTok creators or Instagram creators be present at the event. Both of the apps are where a ton of the younger (and older) generation spend their time. So the attempt to have them care about the Oscars is a great idea. You could easily find creators on these platforms with a strong passion for the film industry and create unique interviews, and moments that could attract a wider viewing audience.
If they do not make it a two-night event, they need to go back to presenting all 23 on the main telecast.
I go more in-depth on the show, but the quick hitters are first look trailers, fewer jokes (especially the overtly mean spirited ones, remember, this isn’t a roast), and making the reunions and show flow better. The pieces were there, they just were extremely underutilized and out of order.
Oh, and the obvious, Present all 23.
I’ve been begging for years a countdown of the Best Picture nominees in the order they were knocked out of the preferential ballot. There is a way to do this in a tasteful manner with the right producers behind the scenes. I think this would engage viewers and entice them to stick around until the end.
Another way to improve the broadcast is skipping a host. This not only would save time, but would allow for more presenters, iconic movie reunions (done properly) and getting us through without any “bits.” I understand the argument for a host is they help guide us through the telecast, but let’s book incredible presenters (less athletes, sorry Tony Hawk, and more actors!). Why have Judi Dench, Javier Bardem and Rami Malek in the audience, but not introduce the Bond tribute?
I am a montage fan, I love a good montage, but it needs to be well utilized. Having Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs (sorry, that is his identifier for me) introduce a montage about The Godfather was weird, but it was even weirder the montage for the 50th anniversary of the first installment featured clips from the second and third installments… To make it even stranger, the producers brought out Robert De Niro, who is in The Godfather Part 2, not the film they were celebrating!
In 2017, when the Sound Editing and Sound Mixing categories were presented (pour one out for these categories, RIP), the telecast provided us with brief clips showcasing the sound that earned each nominee their spot. It was brief, but helped show why they were nominated. I think a big part of the perception of general audiences “not caring” about these type of awards is that they don’t fully know why it’s nominated or what the category is about. This isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so the telecast can spend a few minutes to showcase what each nominee is there for in the tech categories. Not only will this be a great moment for us Oscar lovers, but will help showcase what each nominee pulled off!
Eventually, doesn’t have to be next year but soon, the Academy needs to add two categories: Stunts and Casting.
– Stunt work is a true art form and the team behind the stunts we see on screen each year deserve their moment of recognition at the Oscars. From Tom Cruise upping the ante with each movie to the stunts displayed in super hero movies, this would be a great category to honor the more populous films each year as well as the unique, incredible work stunts teams pull off. (Think of the presenters you could book! Assemble your Avengers! Tom “Scientology” Cruise! SpiderMEN!)
– Casting is not only such a crucial part of making a film work, but it’s also what entices most audiences to watch a new film. Honoring casting directors is way overdue at the Oscars. Getting a major ensemble cast to present each year would not only be fun for the telecast, but could honor some films that didn’t pull off all the acting nominations deserved.
Oh, and again, the obvious, Present all 23.
We talked more in-depth about each of the ideas we have above on the first episode of the Oscars Central podcast, which you can listen to here.