Oscars 2012 Review: It's Time For A Change
- February 27th, 2012
- 1 Comments
Today’s post comes to us from Amanda, a Youth Advisory Board member who tuned into the Academy Awards last night and provided a thoughtful recap and analysis of the show from a Millennial perspective. Like many viewers, Amanda feels that the 2012 Oscars were a welcome improvement from the previous year, but there were still many flaws (the absence of Original Song performances for starters!). The show has become formulaic, and it’s time for a change. She sums it up below and provides suggestions for how the Academy can better engage Millennials while also appealing to older audiences…
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Oscars 2012 Review: It’s Time For A Change
Just like films themselves, the biggest night in Hollywood can be a hit or a miss with the audience — just look at the reviews for last year’s show. However, this year, the Academy played it safe with Billy Crystal hosting the show for his ninth time. From musical acts to expected wins, all I can say is that this year’s Oscars was an obvious improvement from last year’s.
Was it any surprise that there was a montage of Billy Crystal playing a role in some of the 2011 Oscar-nominated films (with the exception of a few)? It was nice, light, and humorous, but this type of montage with the host finding his/her way into hosting a show has become an overused trope itself. In addition, the appearance of certain celebrities who had nothing to do with any scripted movies in 2011 was… odd? There was no question as to why Justin Bieber appeared in Billy Crystal’s montage; he said it himself in the skit that he was there to get the 18-24 demographic. The Academy is desperate to gain some youth appeal. However, the writers redeemed themselves by mocking the very reason they were using Justin Bieber, having him stay for an “extra few seconds,” which was somewhat funny. Then there was another expected part of the opening sequence, which was a musical act. Of course, you can’t watch an awards show without someone singing, so Billy Crystal sang his way through the nine Best Picture nominees. Again, lightly amusing, but truly lacking in the “wow factor”.
There were quite a few youth-friendly presenters at this year’s Oscars, and all of them were there to provide some comic relief. There was the contrast between Emma Stone playing a “pretentious newcomer” and Ben Stiller being bland and moody, all while forgetting his past feats as dressing up as an Avatar character and Joaquin Phoenix. It was cute and funny, and of course, who doesn’t love Emma Stone and Ben Stiller? Tina Fey and Bradley Cooper also made appearances, Chris Rock joked about voice acting, and Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis played crashing cymbals on their way to the stage.
As for cast members of this year’s Millennial relevant movies, the Academy Awards incorporated those of “Bridesmaids” and the “Muppets.” The cast of “Bridesmaids” presented while making phallic jokes and playing drinking games — a running gag from their appearances in previous shows. Even the ever-amazing Melissa McCarthy was in a short with Billy Crystal in between the presentations, which was a re-enactment of the airplane scene in “Bridesmaids.” As for The Muppets, after much social network lobbying for them to host the awards show, all Kermit and Miss Piggy got was a presenting spot. However, they did not cease to lighten the show with their complaining about the Oscars in general. Since these said presenters were one of the top highlights of the night, I can sum it up to the point that a touch of comedy always saves the show.
When an awards show needs extra space and time between presenting awards, they will do anything to amuse their audience. I enjoyed the mini clips of actors discussing their favorite movie experiences. I thought they were intriguing, yet short and sweet. What I enjoyed the most was the “Focus Group” short, which made fun of Hollywood’s use of “regular people” to make critically acclaimed films. Another hilarious skit was when Billy Crystal used a group of celebrities for “What Are They Thinking?,” especially with all of his “Arghh’s” for Nick Nolte’s thoughts. Clearly, the whole “let’s mock Hollywood as much as we possibly can” trend tends to work when it comes to amusing the mass audience. For some reason, it makes the whole watching experience a tiny bit more inclusive.
As for the performances, I feel like every awards show has the need to entertain the audience with something — whether it is a musical act or a circus act. Apparently, the Academy thought including both would be a hit, all while omitting the Original Song performances. Although Cirque Du Soleil was magnificent (as always) with their “movie watching experience” performance, I thought that the Original Song performances should have been included in the show as well.
The Expected and Unexpected Wins/Losses
Is it me, or has it been easy to guess who would win the major awards for the past five years? Nevertheless, I think that Octavia Spencer and Christopher Plummer truly deserved their Best Supporting Actress/Actor awards, along with the numerous wins for “The Artist” and another Oscar for the ultra-thespian Meryl Streep. Her win, however, was a mix of being expected and unexpected because it’s rare for an actor/actress to go past winning two Oscars, despite how critically acclaimed his or her performance was.
Significance to Millennials?
Staying relevant to youth has always been a challenge for awards shows. What’s even worse are the desperate attempts that awards shows make to attract youth. From inviting random tween/teen celebrities as guests and presenters or having them appear in montages, to even having young adult celebrities hosting, these attempts usually end up being disastrous. I wish the Academy knew that the problem for the declining young viewers is not rooted within the lack of celebrities that are tween/teen favorites, but instead with the whole show itself. First, they need to stop trying so hard to appeal to Millennials and to instead focus on making a show that’s worth watching. Second, they should prioritize making the show more original, meaning adding unexpected, entertaining time fillers. Although musical acts are safe and great, they won’t be the talk of “what happened on the show” the next day.
Third, and the most vital of all, the Academy Awards should focus on diversifying their nominations — ranging from film selections to minorities. It seems that mostly mainstream dramas attract nominations, and rarely films that are comedies, indie, or experimental are up for an award. There was a list of amazing films that should have at least gotten recognition, ranging from “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” “Jane Erye,” “50/50,” “Shame,” to even “Beginners” (aside from Christopher Plummer’s Best Supporting Actor win), and more. It was relieving to see Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo nominated for Best Original Screenplay for “Bridesmaids,” as well as Melissa McCarthy achieving a Best Supporting Actress nomination. Another surprise was that the critically acclaimed “The Artist” made the cut with the major nominations — and winning most of them as well. If nominations become more diverse in years to come, people – especially youth – will definitely tune in to the Oscars. It’s an old, but true adage that people like to see change now and then.
Hailing from Canada, Amanda has been a Youth Advisory Board member at Ypulse for over three years now. She enjoys reading, writing, watching films, and being a volunteer for Mindyourmind.ca and a street team member for MTV’s A Thin Line. What she does not like, however, is writing about herself in third person.