Television landscape is changing. The allure of big gigs like the Oscars, the Super Bowl, and the White House Correspondents dinner are not attracting the major talent like they have in the past. Pundits in the industry might cry out in desperation but does the average person really care anymore? Star talent no longer want to be associated with the Oscars – and for good reason – which is a problem of the Academy, but how about the regular movie goer?
Kevin Hart was supposed to host this year but he recently quiet after an old homophobic tweet came to light. The fact is that nobody is around to replace him is telling how far show business has fallen. No longer are we captivated by Hollywood like we used to be. Streaming services show that you don’t necessarily need a big star to be successful.
Without a host, this will probably be the lowest-rated Oscars in their long history. It is the host that draws viewers, that keeps the whole oversized beast together and moving along. Without a host it will be like a film without a main character. The last time this happened was in 1989 when the opening act was a strange amalgamation of Robe Lowe and Snow White – need we say more?
You can’t say the Oscars haven’t tried to stay relevant and edgy with hosts like Chris Rock and Seth Macfalane, choices you wouldn’t necessarily associate with the staunch Academy. Then there was the bizarre paring of James Franco with Anne Hathaway but none of these seem to work to increase viewership. The real question may not be about the Oscars but how can we expect them to compete when they are battling a general decline of television viewership as more people are cutting cable and making do with streaming services like Netflix and Amazon.
In the 76th Golden Globes ceremony, there were plenty of upsets including, the biggest was that the Freddie Mercury biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody" took best picture, drama, over Bradley Cooper's heavily favoured "A Star is Born" and Glenn Close won over Lady Gaga for best actress.
But the real winner, despite the upsets, was Netflix as it dominated the ceremony with high profile wins for “Roma” and taking home a best TV comedy prize for “The Kominsky Method.”
Unlike the Oscars, the Globes separates dramas from musicals and comedies, honouring the best in both film and television.
Netflix’s impressive night signals a changing landscape in Hollywood and comes as traditional Studios are being overtaken by streaming giants such as Hulu and Crave TV.
As Silicone Valley continues to challenge Hollywood, Netflix also celebrated a best actor in a TV comedy win for Michael Douglas for his work as an aging acting coach in “The Kominsky Method.” Netflix’s hit “Bodyguard” captured a best actor in a TV drama prize for Richard Madden.
After the 2018 Oscars received its lowest ratings in its history, with 26.5 million viewers marking a sharp 19% drop from the previous year’s ceremony, there has been much debate about what should be done with the Academy Awards.
In response to the precipitous decline in viewership that followed a brief spike in 2014, when Ellen DeGeneres hosted, the Academy attempted earlier this year to redress those grievances by announcing it would trim its telecast to three hours, air it in February instead of March, and introduce a new category, Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film. The first two changes were greeted with consensus approval; the second, however, with derision, since the implicit suggestion was that lucrative films aren’t good enough to simply be nominated for best picture, that something central distinguishes movies that perform at the box office from “high art”. Thankfully the most Popular Film category has been shelved for the time being. It's without a doubt that the Oscars are desperate and need a change but are they brave enough to implement anything new?
People’s viewing habits are shifting. No longer are people watching live television as much as they used to. With streaming services popular these days, a lot of people believe that live television could be a thing of the past. But perhaps those doomsayers are wrong and the Oscars could simply be saved by a shakeup. Maybe a new host is all that is required.
Kevin Hart will take over hosting duties from Jimmy Kimmel, who presided over the last two ceremonies, including 2016’s flub that resulted in the wrong best picture winner being announced. Hart who started in The Ride Along and Central Intelligence has a huge mountain to climb this year. Is he up to the challenge?
Why do the Oscars even need a host? The host performs a monologue full of jokes and then appears sporadically throughout the evening to read a zinger or two off the teleprompter. This year, there are fewer awards being given out in an effort to keep the broadcast under three hours.
It might just be nice for the Academy to mix it up and try something different, since what they’ve been doing of late hasn’t been working. Unfortunately Kevin Hart – as talented as he is – is more of the same and it will be surprising if he can do anything that Jimmy Kimmel could not.
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