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The Oscars and Why We Stopped Caring

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Written by Joseph Carrick

For those who do not know, or more likely probably stopped caring in the face of midterms, the Academy Awards (otherwise known as the Oscars) took place on Feb. 9 in Los Angeles. Joker, whose box office broke the $1 billion-dollar mark received 11 nominations, more than any other film this year. However, it was the Korean film Parasite that received the honor of most awards (four) and the most prized award of Best Picture. Parasite, while being a critically and commercially successful film in its own right, caused controversy in the US after it was chosen over Joker for most awarded and Best Picture. In fact, Joker only received two awards of the 11 nominations (Best Actor for the lead and Best Original Score – awards they already received at the BAFTA and Golden Globes).

However, the biggest snub of them all was given by viewers from home, or rather the lack thereof. Viewership of the Oscars decreased by 20% since last year, bringing in 23.6 million viewers, officially making this ceremony the lowest-rated Oscars of all time. This is in the face of years of declining viewership for all award shows that face criticism on how they are managed and overall frustration over how movies are selected to win.

As noted by the general public and professional movie critics alike, many of the films and shows nominated are too obscure for general audiences to even hear of, let alone desire to watch. This is a far cry from only the most financially successful films being nominated for the awards, thus garnering interest from viewers. While commercial success should not determine the winner for every award, most people do not care about foreign films or art films, and therefore don’t care to see them win over more widely known movies.

Another factor is simply changing times. Most casual viewers of these award shows stopped watching when they realized online news feeds – or even just Facebook and Twitter updates – can give a quick run-down of winners in under 5 minutes. This is much more preferable to the 3.5-hour ceremony. 

But perhaps the most to-the-point critique of them all is simply just how boring it all is. The runway and runway interviews are fun for the few stars people choose to pay attention to, but beyond that the only thing audiences have to look forward to is a very, very slow burn award show. For a community built on timing, the concept seems to have been entirely lost when the actual awards shows come around. More than three hours just to watch Joker lose nine of out 11 awards it was nominated for? No thanks. Seriously, just let us know beforehand so I don’t have to sit through all the forced suspense only to learn some Netflix adaptation of a book no one bothered to read won “Most Original.”