The 2022 Oscars nominations were announced on Tuesday, and to no one’s surprise this year’s awards show was severely lacking in diversity. After the Hollywood Foreign Press’ diversity issues got the 2022 Golden Globe Awards blacklisted by everyone in the industry (who is not named Jamie Lee Curtis), one might have thought the Oscars would have change their ways. This is not the case.
Of the many complaints the 94-year-old awards show has gotten over the years, #OscarsSoWhite has since been proven to receive no alterations to the diversity issues laid bare in Hollywood.
After the slogan went viral in 2015, the year that the Academy Awards gave all 20 acting nominations to white actors, they doubled-down and did it again in 2016. This year, just six of the 20 acting nominations went to non-white performers, and only one of the five directors.
According to The New York Times, viewership for the Oscars has fallen 76% since 2014, and 2021’s awards show dropped a staggering 56% from the previous year alone.
No one wants to watch the Oscars anymore, and looking at this year’s nominations list, the Academy seemingly doesn’t care either way. I’d make the argument for the millionth time–and from the millionth critic’s mouth–that this means we can stop paying attention to the Oscars as an institution (as many already have), but it’s way more interesting to me how defiantly the Academy refuses to change even an inch.
Among complaints about the lack of diversity, the Academy Awards are also #OscarsSoBoring. Celebrity after celebrity come up to the podium to reluctantly accept their awards from a dying medium that nearly no one agrees with, and they spend that time reminding viewers that the world is ravaged by hate and never-ending climate catastrophes. It’s my ideal Sunday night.
Have there been any changes to this format? Not really, and the Covid-19 pandemic has only exacerbated how mechanical and groan-inducing a show designed to celebrate the magic of movies has become.
One way to increase viewers: how about some first-time premiere trailers of upcoming movies. Take a page from The Game Awards and get all your viewers from packing the night with dozens of trailers to excite fans about next year.
Of course, none of it matters if all I have to root for the entire night are films such as The Power of the Dog–which has a piece in nearly every major category–instead of films that people are actually going to theaters to see.
Drive My Car, a Japanese film by Teruhisa Yamamoto was nominated this year for both Best Picture and Best Director, the first foreign film to receive the honor since a media campaign fueled Parasite‘s win in 2020.
The Academy has seemingly caught up to the belief that movies made outside of the US can be good (an opinion most people have held since the beginning of movies), but the Oscars still have yet to figure out that the people who act in these movies, or helped make them, are also worthy of praise.
I, like many, have yet to see the film because it just began theatrical release on Feb. 4 after competing at the Cannes Film Festival. This is beside the point–because Drive My Car is probably great from what I’ve heard–but it does lead into how the movies people are actually excited to go to the theater for are not represented in this year’s nominations.
According to BoxOfficeMojo, the top 10 highest selling films of 2021 were:
- Spider-Man: No Way Home
- The Battle at Lake Changjin (China)
- Hi, Mom (China)
- No Time to Die
- Fast & Furious 9
- Detective Chinatown 3 (China)
- Venom: Let There Be Carnage
- Godzilla vs. Kong
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
The Academy recognized these 10 films with just three nominations for Best Audio Effects, one nomination for Best Sound, and one nomination for Best Original Song in total.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that these superhero films and CGI-heavy action blockbusters are more deserving of critical awards than films like The Tragedy of Macbeth. I’m not going to pretend that Venom: Let There Be Carnage wasn’t one of the most awful movies of the year, or that Eternals wasn’t one of Marvel’s worst entries into the MCU. Box office doesn’t indicate critical success.
It does, however, indicate what most people want to actually spend their time with, and what people care about right now is Spider-Man–particularly–all three Spider-Men. Spider-Man: No Way Home isn’t just the best-selling film of 2021, it’s the fourth-highest grossing film of all time and the Oscars just did not care.
Maybe just a nomination for Best Picture would have helped their ratings. Maybe giving Spider-Man the win would have helped even more, but the Academy said, ‘no, that’s okay. We’re good with an abysmal 9.8 million viewers.’
The braindead video above of a guy on YouTube choking on 23 hotdogs titled “SWALLOWING 23 HOT DOGS WHOLE” has just about as many viewers as the 2021 Academy Awards.
I have a million ideas to fix the Oscars. A million entertainment critics have a million ideas to fix the Oscars–some of which include bizarrely stupid takes like “I miss Ricky Gervais.” But the Oscars do not care for your thoughts or input. They’re fine taking in their last breath of oxygen as their eyes close for the final time to a scene from Belfast.
We can let the Oscars die. I hear it’s great on the other side.