Attempts to repair the 2019 Oscars reveal deep contempt for the Oscars

In Stephen King's novel 11/22/63, a teacher, Jake Epping, discovers a portal in a pantry of the local restaurant that can bring him back in 1958. He decides to use this ride in time to find and kill Lee Harvey Oswald before Oswald can murder John F. Kennedy – a point of cultural inflection that hit the country decisively out of class. Yet, the closer Jake gets to Oswald, the more time and story pushes him, becoming a threat as deadly as any other monster in King's books. The past does not want to be changed and it is determined to punish everyone who tries.

This is what's happening with the Oscars this year, with the exception of the Academy of Film Arts and Sciences and the producers of the awards, which are trying nothing more noble than changing history to the best. They are really trying to change the story for the shorter. They seek to reduce the laborious pangs that might appeal to guilds and flatter the famous, but this leads systematically to bad reviews and the most ungrateful accommodation work of the show business calendar. And above all, they are looking for an elusive formula that will reverse the trend trend of their television audiences. They want to convince a younger generation that continues to stalemate. Yet the more they oppose the hiding traditions, the more intense the retaliation becomes – and the deeper the embarrassment.

When the 2019 Oscars will take place on Sunday, February 24, it will surely be a fiasco of historical proportions. Over the weekend, producers' plans to distribute four awards during commercial breaks were canceled after a mutiny by prominent members of the Academy. (This was a particularly misguided effort, given that two of the categories, Best Editing and Best Photography, are both art forms. this cinema separated from any other support.) And this was just the latest in a series of embarrassing Academy blunders in the public eye this year, including the selection of a host Kevin Hart, who had to pull out after a burst of relationships. on homophobic tweets, and a brief moment when the winners of the categories of actors in 2018 were not invited to come back as presenters.

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Kevin Hart at Super Bowl LIII
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But the original sin, the one that triggered this catastrophe, occurred in early August, when the Academy announced the creation of a new award for outstanding work in the popular film. He established what has been a consistent pattern of behavior: a poorly thought out decision, validated in a hurry, followed by an inept public deployment, followed by overwhelming disapproval of all the corners and ending in indentation .

Montgomery Burns invents beyond the reward to avoid a trial for radiation poisoning on The simpsons, Exceptional achievement in the popular film was a gross statement of intent: the Academy could not continue to avoid the gap between the critics it honors at mid-budget and the conquering box office giants that people see Actually. So we are trying to make more decisions directly aimed at winning back multiplexed spectators, whose interest in the pieces of the fucking fish period may have been limited.

The brains' confidence behind the hastily won film prize and other decisions – including Academy President John Bailey, Executive Director Dawn Hudson, Producer Donna Gigliotti, Co-Producer / Director Glenn Weiss and Bob Iger of Disney, among others – have not thought about the obvious pitfalls. Popular films are already "rewarded" by receiving hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office. "Popular" is not an aesthetic criterion. And even the winners of the most popular films would think, rightly, that their work received a prize for participation and was openly placed in a less respected arena than all the Best Film candidates.

The same type of logic dictated the original decision to hire Kevin Hart as a facilitator, it was not a question of finding a good fit to the mix of light irreverence and heavy gravitas of the show, and more at the casting of the most popular stand-up in America, and hoping that it would attract viewers on the fence. John McCain had recruited Sarah Palin as vice-presidential candidate: no verification was done, no red flag was left out, and the candidate's personal weaknesses and weak reaction to criticism worsened the situation.

The conflicts that the Oscars face can be intractable. How to produce a more popular show without alienating the artists you are supposed to honor? Is it possible to prevent young viewers eager to get siphoned by streaming services and other niche entertainment much more directly geared to their interests? Years of hard-to-handle shows and low-key winners have contributed to some of these losses. It is not a coincidence Titanic won the Best Film Award in the highest-rated Oscar program, while the less-watched shows have honored There is no country for old people and The shape of the water. We live in a time when the specialized audience is fragmented and specialized, rarely recognizes television appointments, and is more interested in news headlines than in a four-hour ceremony. Attracting these millions of lost spectators to the Oscars seems as plausible as the reopening of Rust Belt's factories. The basic feeling is that they will not come back.

Approaching Sunday, the Academy offers a show without a presenter, the 24 rewards and speeches usual, award-winning actors rewarding other actors, a time of execution that will overshadow the limit of expected three hours and a stadium that was compared to a giant vulva and Donald Trump's hair.

Lady Gaga, performing the film "Shallow" with Oscar-nominated Bradley Cooper, will echo Gaga's recent Grammy-winning performance, while she was surrounded by some of the biggest names in music, rather than nominees to direct the film. Best short film live. All indications are that the 2019 Oscars will be a no-nonsense affair that will install in a staggering pace sooner than usual: "We were hired to deliver a shortened show," Gigliotti said. the New York Times. "How do we do this so that you do not see reward, reward, commercial, reward, commercial, reward? So boring."

Perhaps there will be a future blend of Academy talent capable of producing this show more appealingly without alienating those who are most interested in it. But this year's model seemed, from the beginning, as an expression of scorn for the Oscars. It is as if someone thought that suddenly throwing away 90 years of tradition and replacing it with a falsely populist conceptual abomination could serve both the traditionalists and the audiences who did not care.

In a sense, however, this public apathy is the price Hollywood has to pay for its long-standing behavior. If sequels, remakes and other nine-digit blockbusters are his main business, then the Academy should not be surprised when small films capture all the attention. The odds of aligning popular hits with critical favorites have become increasingly distant as the gaps between their budgets, marketing, hospitality, and audiences widen.

But trying to force a clumsy handshake between these poles is clearly not the answer. People reject and decry reflex changes, especially on social media, amplifying all the most immediate reactions to new reactions to events. But people can get used to changes that seem well thought out and well intentioned. This year's haphazard attempts to reorganize the Oscars are not either, and they do more to keep potential viewers away than to bring them back into the fold.

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