I often open up Twitter, shake my head, and turn off my smartphone for a couple of hours to prevent myself from hating every single human being possible.
February 15th, 2019 was the day I decided to disconnect myself completely from The Oscars. The Academy reversed the decision to award four categories during the commercial time — Cinematography, Editing, Make-Up and Hairstyling, and Live-Action Short — and re-add them to the usual laborious programme.
The certain and glaring issue is that The Academy’s decision to appease the whining self-entitled Film Twitter is not going to change anything. Yes, removing those categories was a bold and utterly foolish move, but regardless, The Oscars has lost its purpose. I hate to say it people, but the most prestigious award show is dying.
And the ratings show it. Fewer people are caring every year. 2018 marked the year for the lowest ratings and viewership, and are we surprised? Jimmy Kimmel played it so absurdly safe that the highlight was visiting a A Wrinkle in Time screening to hand out treats to the less fortunate. The audience looked relieved at something different happening, and Jimmy Kimmel seemed delighted at the slight change of pace. It was a circus of rich people celebrating rich people. The Oscars are just as out of touch as the current US Administration.
And so are the fans of The Oscars. Those celebrating the categories returning are the same people who got suspiciously angry at the prospect of Kevin Hart hosting. The most successful comedian of the current crop, who has merged his talents into Hollywood, was doubted. He is more qualified than Jimmy Kimmel and has a track record of making mass audiences laugh. Remember the controversial hosting of Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes? The executives kept acquiring his services because of the ratings.
But the increasingly toxic left-wing approach was applied, where some smart wet-wipe trawls through historical content and tweets to bring down a perfectly suitable candidate. Apparently, a progressive society means people cannot make healthy changes. Yet the progressives defended and campaigned for James Gunn – what’s the difference?
And let’s not forget about the dull and snooze-worthy format of The Oscars. It basks in glitz and glamour but ignores that we all want to be entertained. Last year The Oscars mocked itself, turning the acceptance speeches into a game: the quickest speech wins a speed boat. Oh, how the rich have fun. Meanwhile, I was sat live-blogging the disaster all night, fuming at the slow, traditional and methodical way the format works. You’d think an industry that is based on creativity would have more in mind.
Instead, each year, rather than celebrating films, The Oscars is teased by the political climate; #OscarsSoWhite, #MeToo, and Donald Trump are slyly inserted into speeches. It becomes a competition of who can make the most privileged political speech while accepting a shiny gold award. These are the same crowds that laughed at Harvey Weinstein jokes years earlier, before the horrific tales came to light.
Anyway, rather than having an audience-pleasing Kevin Hart, this year we don’t have a host, and the format looks the same. I wonder who will wear what? Who will make the best speech? What will be the biggest surprise of the night? What will be the political theme of the night? I think I’ll go to sleep instead.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.