The 91st Academy Awards, the Oscars, were held on Sunday. It kinda felt like a relief because of all of the disasters that happened leading up to it. The Academy had a rough couple of months, let’s just put it like that.
The Oscars ratings are getting lower and lower, which resulted in the lowest ratings in modern history in 2018. Even having popular hosts like Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock etc. didn’t help bring the ratings up. So, this year The Academy was eager to make some changes that would help bring the ratings up again and in the end, some turned out to be quite unfortunate.
Buckle up, folks! Here are the ups and downs of this year Oscars ceremony and events leading up to it with a flavor of media monitoring.
The popular film not so popular
It all started in August when The Academy decided to create an additional category – “Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film”. That caused quite a stir among the public and the movie professionals. How do you define “popular”? What does that mean for independent movies? A lot of questions and criticism seemed to catch The Academy off guard. A month later they eventually backtracked the decision.
In contrast, twelve days before the ceremony The Academy “wisely” decided to cut four categories from the broadcast and give the awards for cinematography, film editing, live-action short and makeup and hairstyling during the commercials. The point was to shorten the ceremony a little bit. It’s funny that only a few months later they were willing to add a new category, and now they want to shorten the ceremony by leaving out some of the vital categories such as cinematography and film editing. Once again, criticism was raised, and once again The Academy backtracked the decision. At that time, the #boycottoscars started gaining ground on social media. As you can see from the graph, it spiked again (predominately on Twitter) during the ceremony.
In December Kevin Hart was announced as a host. The announcement was running a bit late in the first place because no one was too eager to host the Oscars this year. Unfortunately, immediately after the announcement, some of Hart’s controversial tweets emerged and two days later he stepped down. At the beginning of January 2019, Hart appeared on The Ellen Show. Ellen asked Hart to reconsider hosting the Oscars and said that she contacted The Academy to let him host. Hart said he would reconsider but a few days later The Academy officially announced that they won’t have a host this year. The last time Oscars were hostless was in 1989. As expected, the ceremony didn’t pass without mentioning Hart. On social media that is. As you can see from the graph, there was a spike of mentions on the day of the ceremony.
Why, you ask? Well, this next tweet is self-explanatory.
Gold statue of Kevin Hart holding a pride flag, and sitting on a plaque reading “Hollow Apology” was placed outside of the #Oscars venue.
Street artist ‘Plastic Jesus’ has taken credit for the statue on social media. pic.twitter.com/H0utMZrrqg
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) February 24, 2019
The ceremony began with the Freddy Mercury tribute by Adam Lambert and Queen which served as a replacement for the standard monologue that hosts give. Then, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph had a mini-monologue were Rudolph explained in a few sentences what’s (not) going on.
“Just a quick update, in case you’re confused. There is no host tonight, there won’t be a popular movie category, and Mexico is not paying for the wall.”
Even though a lot of people were skeptical about Oscars having no host because of the 1989 debacle, the ceremony was surprisingly entertaining and well organized. Also, the comments online were predominately positive. Maybe the era of Oscar hosts has come to end and it’s time for a different format.
As a show, that was one of the best Oscars I’ve seen. Loved no host idea as the show had amazing pacing. Great energy w/ Queen opening. Gaga&Cooper were brilliant. Great presenters. Show flew by and the awards were well spread out. I don’t agree w/ everything but loved the show.
— Kevin McCarthy (@KevinMcCarthyTV) February 25, 2019
— Undine Shorey (@UndineShorey) February 25, 2019
The outcome of the Oscars was great! I love that the Oscars had no host, Rami Malek won best actor!❤️
— Karina A. Vidal (@KarinaVidal89) February 25, 2019
Our reports show that the total number of impressions during the ceremony was over 2 billion! Also, as you can see from the graphs below, people were mostly commenting on Twitter with the predominately positive sentiment.
I almost forgot another of Academy’s not so well received attempts to trim the air time. First, it was announced that only two out of five Best Original Song nominees will perform at the ceremony. After the backlash, you’ve guessed it, they’ve backtracked the decision. Speaking of Best Original Song (which Gaga won) – that Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper performance though! Judging by the graph below, the internet approved as well.
“This is genuinely quite stressful!” – Olivia Colman
When it comes to acceptance speeches, they tend to be the cringiest part of the ceremony. This year, they were relatively OK if we leave out the Best Makeup and Hairstyling acceptance speech. I’ll let this tweet speak instead of me:
The award for most unprepared acceptance speech goes to the Vice for Makeup and Hairstyling #oscars
— Chaz May (@itschazmay) February 25, 2019
On the other hand, Olivia Colman who won Best Actress in a Leading Role had the most charming speech and the internet loved it. Colman’s victory came as a bit of a surprise because everyone thought that Glenn Close will finally win the Oscar after 7 nominations.
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) February 25, 2019
It was mostly talked about on the web and Twitter with predominately positive sentiment.
Spike Lee’s speech was also worthy of mentioning. After winning the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, he sent a strong message of the importance of regaining humanity. Later, he reportedly had a problem with Green Book winning the Best Picture Award and said that: “The ref made a bad call”. Green Book also came as a bit of a surprise, since Bohemian Rhapsody was the favorite. When it comes to social media and web, the situation is little different. Green Book was mentioned over 30 000 times, while Bohemian Rhapsody had little over 18 000 mentions. But, Bohemian Rhapsody had a much more positive sentiment online than Green Book.
Hit or miss?
Despite all of the drama that happened leading up to the ceremony, the ceremony itself went pretty smoothly. The absence of a host wasn’t really noticeable. With a couple of unexpected winners, a few discreet Trump disses and a lot of happy tears (cough, Lady Gaga, cough) this year Oscars were quite entertaining. Also, this year, it was a celebration of diversity and a record number of female winners (even though there’s still a long way to go).
It seems that the Oscars are finally getting on the right track. Let’s hope they’ll continue the good work next year!
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