Even though I am a film buff, I would be the first to say that the Oscars is slowly but surely marching itself into pop culture obscurity. Yesterday’s announcement that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will “broaden the tent” by including ten pictures in the Best Picture category, doubling the category in size, is yet another example of how out of touch with America the Academy really is.
According to the trades, the producers of the awards show decided after doing a post-mortem of last year’s ceremony, that adding more movies to the category would help the show and convinced the Academy this was a great idea. As near as I can tell, the theory is that having ten movies might pave the way for more commercial films to also sneak into this elite category that tends to always focus on “important” movies.
And it’s a really nice theory, too. I just think the facts go against it. Theratings for the Academy Awards have been on the decline for years, with the 2008 ceremony delivering the worst ratings ever. So even though the 2009 ratings showed an increase over 2008, the ceremony is still losing its TV audience. Somehow, I don’t think that the answer to that problem is to make the ceremony longer. More movie montages of more movies that the majority of America didn’t see– that’s what Oscar thinks will turn their ratings around?
In an effort to help the Oscars, I would like to steer the Academy to my recent post on the Tony Awards, which had a big increase in ratings this year. In my post I share why the Tonys is the only awards ceremony I can sit through anymore. That ceremony is fast, it’s funny, and it is not afraid to reinvent itself–successfully.
On the other hand, the Academy Awards seems to think more is actually, well, more, and it’s not. Perhaps if Oscar takes “Up” out of the animated category and puts it into the Best Picture category, where it will surely belong, I’ll believe in this new logic. But for now, all I can say is, I hope the Academy has Tony host Neil Patrick Harris on the phone right this very second.