By Kris Schulz
Controversies are part of the Oscars and this years is no exception. Typically, though, it’s the nominees or winners, or perhaps the host that generates the controversies. This year, it’s the Oscar show itself.
When Kevin Hart dropped out at host and they couldn’t find a replacement, talk of the Oscars started early. And then there has been controversy—now fixed—surrounding the non-airing of certain awards, namely cinematography, editing, makeup/hair styling and live short action. Late last week, the Academy, based on a strong amount of negative feedback, shifted course and now will broadcast all the awards they have in the past.
Actually, the talk of the Oscars started much earlier than all of this! In 2018, the Academy announced, then quickly renounced, that there would be a new Oscar awarded for Best Popular Film. Qualifications for that award were sketchy, and it wasn’t known if box office numbers would be the deciding factor or not. Anyway, since that was dropped, and since other awards (such as best stunt, stunt person, or stunt choreography) were NOT created, we’re left with a uniquely dramatic show before it even airs this Sunday on ABC.
I talked with my fellow movie-buff and filmmaker, Patrick Brazier, and we discussed some of these controversies, plus our favorites for winners.
What are your thoughts on the Oscars not having a host?
Patrick: I think that the shortlist of potential hosts has become impossibly short once factoring in crossing off any with past controversies, the type of presenter the Academy is looking for, conflicting schedules and network affiliations. Also, those who have turned the offer down due to political reasons that have arisen from the lack of nomination diversity, it’s no wonder the academy has hit a dead end.
Kris: The biggest issue the Oscars seem to be facing is dwindling viewers. They are trying to do things to bring that audience back in, and one way to do that is to bring in an exciting, younger host. Kevin Hart would have worked. Rumors where that The Rock was the initial hope to host, but his schedule wouldn’t allow that. I don’t think that NOT having a host will help the numbers, though everyone talking about it will help get eyes on the awards at least initially.
Are the Oscars even entertaining anymore?
Kris: I think it’s getting difficult, not only with no host, but a lackluster overall film year. While there were some great films in 2018, I don’t think it was a great overall year for film. I love that Black Panther has been nominated for best picture; I don’t think it will win. If it did win, while it would be a big break for the superhero genre, I’m not sure how the overall film society would look at it.
Patrick: I think the Oscars began with putting the filmmakers above all else, and over the years, it has shifted, making ratings a priority and it also has been used as a political platform. It’s reached a point where they’ve now considered cutting airtime for certain awards due to time constraints. If the network and the Academy are making changes that have the potential to undermine the industry, then the awards should move to a less stringent, online broadcast.
Our picks for awards (only the big ones)
While Patrick was able to catch the big movies from 2018, my wife and I welcomed our second child in 2018, I was not able to see every film. My opinions are based on what others I trust have said, as well as how well the films have done during the award season.
Actress in Leading Role:
Kris: Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Patrick: Olivia Coleman (The Favourite)
Favorite: Glenn Close (The Wife)
Actor in Leading Role:
Kris: Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Patrick: Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)
Favorite: Rami Malek
Kris: Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)
Patrick: Alfonso Cuaron (Roma)
Favorite: Alfonso Cuaron
Patrick: The Favourite
Favorite: Roma. Roma winning would be a huge win for Neflix as well, as it was a film that had a limited theatrical release and film festival release—just enough to qualify for the Oscars, and was streaming on Neflix basically at the same time it was released.
Featured image: Courtesy of Disney/ABC.