The show’s over, time to sweep up the glitter and see what got stuck to the bottom of the chairs.
The 92nd Academy Awards is in the book. Parasite managed to set a new precedent, becoming the first foreign- language film to win best picture (after Roma lost to Green Book last year, in an upset.) The numbers for the ceremony paint a bleaker picture though. Let’s dig in, and also crown the staff member with the most correct predictions.
This year’s Oscar ceremony broke new ground…by tumbling into the basement. The viewship number, 23.6 million, is the all-time worst tally for the big show. Overall, the major award shows this year (Grammys, Emmys) all saw a decline in viewers. What stings most is that the Nielsen rating for this year’s show was an abysmal 5.3, compared to last year’s 7.7. Not only did the show shed 6 million viewers, it also bored those that stuck around.
The numbers pretty much align with our experience of the show. It was long (up nearly 15 minutes from last year), tedious, and bland. Besides a nice opening from Janelle Monae (which not-so-subtly shouted out several big name snubs like Dolemite is My Name and Midsommar) the musical numbers were duds.
In a year when Taron Egerton showed a high-energy version of Elton John’s life, we got a rather perfunctory performance from the man himself. An attempt at edgier fare, courtesy of Eminem, backfired. The performance felt recycled from 2003, when 8 Mile was up for Best Song, and it underscored the overall lack of diversity on the nominee list. If you’re going to bring in an unrelated hip hop artist, why the hell did you pick the white one in a year when lack of diversity was the big controversy?!
Bong Joon-Ho should have reminded the Academy of the title of his other hit film, The Host. The Oscars decided to go hostless again this year, and it was painful. Last year, adroit segments (Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler come to mind) helped to not only speed the ceremony along, but also give some clever commentary. This year, it seemed like the Academy had managed to finally get its gag order enforced.
Spike Lee got up to present…and said nothing. Sigourney Weaver, Brie Larson, and Gal Gadot took a feeble swipe at female empowerment that felt ridiculous given the room and ceremony they were participating in. Smarter bits were buried in the wasteland of the middle of the ceremony, warming up for awards that should be renamed “Best Time to Get Up and Go to the Fridge.”
The 92nd Academy Awards sucked. Sorry, no easy way to get around it. The presenters were not funny. The musical numbers dragged on and on, and didn’t feature any standout hits. The Oscars didn’t even have the decency to be shocking. Joaquin Phoenix’s bizarre, rambling vegetarian argument was the closest the show came to politics. Everyone else offered weak tea, “come together” moments that felt like bumper sticker slogans instead of actual commentary.
Most of the awards were foregone conclusions. Hollywood served itself homecooking of the blandest vintage. Those who followed us live on the podcast could probably see how slim the pickings were. We ran out of even snarky things to say about a ceremony that was relentlessly boring and homogeneous. Walking into the show, the cry was #OscarsSoWhite. Walking out it was #OscarsSoBland.
Staff Predictions Results.
3. Neil – 2 points (Director, Actor)
2. Nathan – 2 points (Actress, Supporting Actor)
1. Erik – 5 points (Actress, Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress, Best Film.)