The party failed even before Will Smith slapped Chris Rock

Will Smith slaps actor Chris Rock on stage during the 94th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California on March 27, 2022.

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Sunday’s 94th Academy Awards was a failed attempt to boost ratings even before the Oscar-winning actor soon became. Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage.

The event should have been a celebration of diversity. Ariana DeBose became the first woman of color to win an acting award, Troy Kotsur was the first deaf man to win an Academy Award for acting, and Jane Campion became the third woman to win in the directing category.

It should also have been a watershed moment for the Flow Industry. “CODA” for AppleTV+ became the first movie from a live streaming company to win Best Picture.

Instead, audiences will remember the 2022 Oscars when he described the nominated actor up front for a blunt joke about his wife.

The broadcast attracted around 15.36 million viewers, according to Nielsen’s preliminary national ratings Reported by The Hollywood Reporter. That does not include outdoor viewing, which will be added in the final numbers released on Tuesday.

Those early numbers are higher than the final figures for the 2021 concert, which hit an all-time low of 10.4 million viewers. However, they are still significantly lower than what Oscar ratings have traditionally been, according to THR. So the academy still has a lot of work to do.

Bad cut and paste function

Smith’s slap wasn’t the only crap in production. The ceremony was marred by controversy even before it began. The producers decided to present eight of the 23 awards before going live and then adjust those show winners later.

These awards were mostly in technical categories such as Sound, Score, Editing and Production Design, but also included three categories dedicated to short work. This prompted more than 70 industry giants, including composer John Williams and directors James Cameron and Guillermo del Toro to petition the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ABC, which broadcast the concert, to overturn the decision.

Instead, the eight winners of these categories were announced on Twitter during the red carpet festivities and then merged into a live stream with random cuts to audience members, some of whom were still holding their seats at the show.

Not being recognized for these classes during the main show is a public rejection of the often under-celebrated crew members who form the bedrock of Hollywood and its films. This is particularly unacceptable considering only Hollywood He narrowly escaped the massive film and television crew’s strike Less than six months due to poor wages and benefits.

Broadcast producers claimed that these categories were cut to shorten broadcast time, which often exceeds three hours. However, the show ran for a long time, exceeding the promised three-hour mark by about 40 minutes.

Perhaps most surprising was the producers’ decision to use the time saved from not showing eight award winners taking to the stage to include two honorary awards voted by fans for “Best Fun Moment” and “Fan Favorite Film”.

These online polls were meant to get fans excited to hear the concert, but they left many in awe as Zack Snyder’s “Justice League” won Best Fan Moments to enter The Flash in Speed ​​Force and 2021’s Army of the Dead won the favorite movie.

A trifecta of hosts can’t save the night

The show began with Beyoncé’s performance of the nominated song from “King Richard,” “Be Alive,” before moving on to a monologue for three hosts by Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall.

“This year, the Academy hired three women to host it because it’s cheaper than hiring one man,” Schumer said.

Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall host the 94th Annual Academy Awards.

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Schumer performed a second monologue after Sykes and Hall left the theater, toasting nominees like “Don’t Look For” and “Being Ricardos” to raucous applause and laughter. She was the standout amongst the three hosts and could easily have handled hosting the show on her own.

On the other hand, Hole’s piece fell off. When she reappeared on her own later on the show, she called Bradley Cooper, Timothée Chalamet, Tyler Perry, and Simo Liu onstage for a Covid-test gag that involved her wiping “the back of your mouth with my tongue.”

She concluded by giving Josh Brolin and Jason Momoa a peek onto the stage to present their next award. This provoked awkward laughter from the audience, and it was clear that not all of the participants were comfortable with the part.

Sykes was forgotten. Her main solo segment included a pre-trip to the Academic Museum of the Moving Image, which she laughed, but ultimately felt the same as it was—an advertisement for a $482 million museum.

The hosts were largely absent during the second half of the show, except for a short period where they dressed up as a character from a nominated movie. Sykes was dressed as Richard Williams from “King Richard,” Hall was dressed as Tammy Faye from “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” and Schumer descended from the rafters on wires dressed as Spider-Man from “Spider-Man: No Way.” Home”. “

None of the hosts appeared on stage immediately after the Smith Rock incident, but Schumer later tried to inflate the crowd during the third hour after the air was out of the room, but even her pranks weren’t enough to change the night. .

The future of the Oscars

Fan-voted categories, live music performances and grotesquely hilarious “Anniversary” clips won’t save the Academy Awards from poor ratings.

Awards ceremonies across the board from music to television have struggled in recent years. Audiences have more choices than ever about how they spend their time and what kind of entertainment they want to have.

There are some who tune into these shows because they don’t like watching celebrities make political and social statements and others who don’t care much because the nominated films are not considered mainstream.

Not to mention, younger viewers, many of whom have cut cable, aren’t willing to sit through the 16-20 minutes of traditional commercials per hour that come with live TV. A three-plus-hour show like the Oscars can mean an hour of advertising.

However, this does not diminish the importance of the Oscars. It is not only an honor given by his peers in the film community, but also a financial blessing. Nominees and winners can use their awards to get better salaries or get green-lit passion projects by major studios.

At this point, it is clear that the Academy cannot meet the needs of both the film community and the cinema’s mainstream audience. Ratings will never rise again to the levels seen a decade ago, and the current strategy for attracting attention is not working. In fact, it alienates and angers the people who are supposed to celebrate it.

We’ll remember the 2017 Academy Awards because “La La Land” was mistakenly named Best Picture instead of “Moonlight,” which actually won. The 2021 show will distort the production assuming the late Chadwick Boseman will win Best Actor and will put the award at the end of the ceremony. Likewise, the 2022 Oscars will be remembered with a slap.

Not that woman of odd color who made a sentimental statement about accepting your identity or a deaf actor humbly accepting an award on behalf of his community. It is not for a woman to succeed in a category traditionally won by males. Not for a streamer to win Best Picture and potentially accelerate a truly drastic change in the industry.

But for a slap.

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