The Academy yesterday announced its first slate of presenters. The Oscars this year, as we know, is not going to be the show we’re used to seeing. There will be no audience. Nominees are limited to one guest. Not even sure if presenters are allowed to bring guests. Apparently it’ll be more like a cocktail party. Basically this is not the live event spectacle of Oscars past with that long-ass red carpet and the big theatre. So from the time they were confirmed as producers Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher, and Steven Soderbergh have said that this show will be cinematic, that they will focus on making this thing feel like a film. Which is why they’ve unveiled the first group of presenters in a trailer:
The whole point is that to celebrate the Academy, ostensibly the most acclaimed filmmakers is the world and showcase their talent… on a TELEVISION SHOW. This is what’s so funny to me – because there are members of the Academy who don’t believe that films should be shown streamed on TV or devices (Netflix for example) and yet the Oscars are on TV. They may know how to make good film, but do they know how to make good TV?! And not just TV but conventional TV. As in with commercials. Oscar nerds like me and Sarah and Duana and Joanna and some of you who watch the Oscars and will always care about them are going to tune in from top to tail, that’s a given. But the Academy and ABC, the Oscar network, need more than that niche audience. And the wider television viewing audience, most of whom will not have seen most of the films – and definitely not the frontrunner Nomadland – may respond differently.
“What if an award show was actually a movie?” This is pretty high concept – “casting” the stars as “characters” in the Oscars, an award show/television show. I don’t not like it. Because I do like that they’re trying something. It’s just… maybe… is it a little corny? Even the statement that the producers released feels corny.
“In keeping with our awards-show-as-a-movie approach, we’ve assembled a truly stellar cast of stars. There’s so much wattage here, sunglasses may be required.”
Are they being intentionally corny? Because the “sunglasses my be required” quote is pretty… corny. Here’s where they could have used some of the quirky, fun energy of the Netflix social media and marketing teams, for example, to produce something that didn’t feel so…unfresh. Not that I’m not curious. I am very, very curious about the “award show movie” that will air on television. And I definitely want it to be good.
Because… well… this is going to be a THREE HOUR MOVIE. And you know how it is with movies. Have you seen those memes that went around a few months ago where people were like, so you’ll binge ten hours of a series on Netflix but when a movie is over two hours, it’s too much?
Right. Exactly. Same same. It doesn’t make sense to me either, but a movie over two hours has to earn it, even though I can happily watch 16 hours straight of a Korean drama. So is this award show movie going to feel like a series? Or a very long movie? I have no doubt that the opening scene will be a banger, as has been promised. The key will be holding that momentum. Oscars: The Award Show Movie opens on April 25.