OSCARS ON LIFE SUPPORT: Academy insiders describe the problems plaguing Hollywood’s biggest night, and how it could rebound

Oscar on life support 2_1

The Academy Awards are more polarizing than ever, after suffering their worst ratings in recorded history last year, and battling controversies ranging from #OscarsSoWhite, to the popular Oscar category, to the drama surrounding Kevin Hart.
And that’s not just how the public feels. Some inside Hollywood believe the show is at a dire crossroads.
Business Insider spoke to past Oscar show producers, Academy voters, and producers of other live TV shows to investigate what has gone wrong.
The 91st Academy Awards air February 24 on ABC.

Since 1929, the Academy Awards ceremony has been the biggest night in Hollywood. But do you really care anymore?

It feels like the Oscars are at a dire crossroads, from the telecast’s sagging ratings to its lack of diversity — which was pushed front-and-center by #OscarsSoWhite in 2015 — to this year’s hosting drama, and the stripping of categories from the live broadcast.

But some within Hollywood believe their big night has been on life support for some time.

Business Insider spoke to past Oscar show producers, Academy voters, and award show pundits to learn about the numerous attempts over the last two decades to make the Oscars telecast more modern. Despite these attempts, the show always seems to revert back to its more traditional form, and many in the industry think that’s a terrible trend.

“The show needs to change,” Bill Mechanic, an Oscar-nominated producer who resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ board of governors last year, told Business Insider. “But not in a way that it’s watered down in terms of its artistic measurement, in fact, that should be preserved.”

Here we investigate what has gone wrong with the Academy Awards and what needs to be fixed.

Where new ideas go to die

The last time the Oscars didn’t have a host was in 1989, and that year will forever be known for having the worst opening in the show’s history: an 11 minute-plus musical number that followed Snow White as she navigated through different eras of Hollywood and all its glamour. It ended with her doing a duet with — wait for it — Rob Lowe.

The backlash was immediate, including Disney suing the Academy for using the likeness of Snow White, and changed the course of the Oscar show forever. A review committee was formed to audit the show from top to bottom, leading to former DGA president Gil Cates producing the show the following year. He brought on Billy Crystal to host, which led to the Oscars’ golden years. Cates, who died in 2011, produced the show a record 14 times, including the 70th Academy Awards in 1998 when “Titanic” won best picture, and the show was seen by over 57 million viewers, the most watched in history.

Everything surrounding the 2019 Oscars makes it feel like the show is facing another moment when change is needed. But it can’t seem to get out of its own way.

Following the record-low ratings of last year’s show, the Academy’s attempt to rebound has been …read more

Source:: Business Insider – Tech

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