Yesterday, Lainey opined that Michelle Yeoh should be in Best Actress contention for the 2023 awards season. While I am still exhausted by the 2022 awards season, Lainey is right and Yeoh is tremendous in Everything Everywhere All At Once. But this is also the exact kind of performance the Academy is famous for ignoring. See also: Toni Collette in Hereditary, Florence Pugh in Midsommar, Daniel Craig in Knives Out, and these are just recent examples. The Academy struggles to recognize performances in genre films, and the weirder the film, the less likely it is the Academy will honor it, no matter how good the film actually is. It occurs to me that simply paying more attention to films like Everything Everywhere would go a long way to “fixing” the Oscars, as that film is building a good old-fashioned audience via word of mouth and is sure to be many people’s favorite movie of the year. It’s a crowd pleaser, literally designed to be seen with an audience, and just because it’s a kung fu and sci-fi, the Academy won’t give it the time of the day.
Speaking of the Oscars, the Academy, perhaps realizing waiting nearly a month to do anything in the wake of The Slap, has moved up their meeting about Will Smith to today. Smith resigning his membership has likely taken the wind out of their sails, but since he has resigned, he’s no longer expected to provide a “written statement” or whatever, so there’s no need to drag things out—any more than they have already been dragged out. I hope this brings an end to this saga, and we can move on and finally talk about how the Oscars were a mess even before The Slap. Sure, the ratings were up from last year’s all-time low, but it was still the second lowest ratings in Oscars history. Knocking eight categories off-air, many musical performances, all the Cool Kids invited to present even if they had nothing to do with movies—none of it mattered. The ratings rebound can be attributed to simply more movies being released in 2021 than in 2020, and more people seeing those movies.
I’m with Richard Linklater, the way to “fix” the Oscars is to go all-in on the Oscars. Stop trying to make the show watchable for an audience that is no longer tuning in and start trying to make it watchable for those of us who actually LIKE the Oscars. Air every category live. Add categories for stunt coordination, casting, and ensemble acting. Bring back the presentation of honorary Oscars—the Academy’s lifetime achievement award—to the Sunday night ceremony. Make the Oscars an actual celebration of film, not this weird, self-flagellating apologia for existing that it’s become. Let the Oscars be six hours long, if anything, take a cue from the Super Bowl and just start the damn show earlier, so that it ends at a decent hour even if it is long. And cut the bits! This is my mantra for the next awards season, and every awards season thereafter. NO MORE BITS. And recognize performances like Michelle Yeoh’s, even if they are in “weird” movies.
Live long and gossip,