Sunday night time’s Oscars improved over final 12 months’s traditionally low ratings, but cratered in civility and beauty.
Strike one other loss of life knell for the once-almighty ratings grabber.
Tinseltown likes to think about itself as the middle of the ethical and popular culture universe, but c’mon — that was ridiculous, one other slap within the face for what’s alleged to be (but hardly ever is) “Hollywood’s Shining Moment,” with tv alongside for the trip on a gravy practice that’s gone off the rails and crashed right into a wall of indifference.
Sunday night time’s Oscarcast on ABC is the second-lowest-rated Oscars ever with round 17 million viewers, up from final 12 months’s abysmal 10.4 million viewing viewers (akin to an episode of “Yellowstone” on cable’s Paramount Network).
The mediocre ratings bump will instill in nervous community execs the hope that this dinosaur will be saved from extinction — as a substitute of seeing the plain writing on the (video) wall that it’s too late for that.
This 12 months’s annual self-congratulatory festivities had been produced by Will Packer, who can thank one other Will (Smith) for maybe probably the most controversial second within the ceremony’s 93-year historical past … if solely anybody was watching it dwell on ABC, as a substitute of scurrying to their computer systems late Sunday night time/ Monday morning to see what all of the social media ruckus was about.
There’s little question that Smith’s WTF? open-palmed smack of Oscars presenter Chris Rock after Rock joked about Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia (“Jada, can’t look ahead to ‘G.I. Jane 2′”) will be parsed and analyzed under a sociological microscope — accompanied by the requisite hand-wringing — until next year’s Academy Awards.
There’s an opportunity that Smith might be fined by the FCC for his profanity-laced tirade launched at Rock as soon as he sat again down. It was bleeped out by ABC but heard elsewhere all over the world, in order that’s one other stick of kindling to throw onto the firestorm. It’s unlikely Smith shall be fined — much more unlikely that, as has been speculated, he’ll be compelled to forfeit his Oscar by the Academy — but nonetheless. It’s a talker. But talkers, nevertheless spontaneous, received’t reverse the normal TV course of this ship. It’s sailed and must dock on one other platform.
If the powers-that-be had any moxie in a enterprise that’s constructed on leisure, for crying out loud, they’d transfer the 2023 Oscars to an online-only residence in a digital actuality through which broadcast tv, already deadened by too many self-congratulatory awards exhibits, disappears only a bit extra every season. Believe me, extra folks will watch on-line than sit in entrance of their TV units. It’s an indication of the occasions.
And, whereas they’re at it, lop an hour or two off the three-or-more-hour, watching-paint-dry proceedings. The ostensible glitz and glamour of Tinseltown’s Biggest Night go solely thus far when you get previous the “Who are you wearing?” red-carpet moments, and that’s solely from a trend perspective, should you even care, and it’s within the pre-show — one other pointless, little-watched time-suck.
It all vanishes as soon as the laborious telecast will get underway and also you understand you had been bought a invoice of products in all of the run-up hype that “things will be different this year.” They received’t be. I feel we all know that by now. Bring again fan-favorite Billy Crystal? Won’t matter in the long term.
That’s to not say that Oscars producers haven’t tried to alter it up for a telecast that, as soon as upon a time, snared over 40 million viewers in these salad days when it completed behind solely the Super Bowl in TV’s annual ratings scorecard.
This 12 months, there have been three hosts: Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall. Eight awards had been lower from the dwell show to goose the momentum. Neither “innovation” did the trick to stanch the plodding. Sunday night time’s Oscarcast was the longest it’s been in 4 years, when it ran practically 40 minutes into extra time. Did nobody get the memo?
And then there have been the aesthetic insults. Did we actually must see Amy Schumer as Spider-Man — a blaring shill second for ABC’s company mum or dad, Disney, which additionally owns Marvel Entertainment? And should you get Beyoncé to carry out, you show her dwell, not pre-taped vis-a-vis her efficiency of “Be Alive.” Samuel L. Jackson received an honorary Oscar … but was relegated to awkwardly watching his “Pulp Fiction” co-stars Uma Thurman and John Travolta re-create their iconic dance from the film since his acceptance speech was lower from the telecast together with fellow honorees Liv Ullman, Danny Glover and Elaine May. Big mistake. C’mon folks, get a clue.
It’s time to alter how and the place we watch the Oscars.