This year, the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences made history. For the first time since 1989, there was no host for the televised event, and despite this action breaking decades of tradition and sending the Oscars into the unknown, the risk surprisingly paid off.
Leading up to Oscar night, this was only one of the many reasons why fans were almost certain this year’s Oscars were going to be a complete and utter failure. Strike one was the introduction of the Popular Film category, a pathetic excuse by the Academy to “honor” blockbusters. Basically, it was created to give “Black Panther” a worthless award just so the Academy could boost ratings and gain approval from mainstream moviegoers who are not rushing out to see “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “The Favourite.” The category was immediately scrapped after facing justified backlash from everyone and their mother, who clearly saw through the Academy’s desperate scheme.
Strike two was the infamous Kevin Hart (“The Upside”) situation. The Academy forced Hart to apologize for homophobic tweets he made years ago and had already apologized for. It presented Hart with an ultimatum of either apologizing or being fired, and to his credit, Hart quit. After that, no one with half a brain in Hollywood wanted to take the hosting gig, as it would lead to almost-certain career suicide. Therefore, the Academy was left with no host and a fanbase still bitter over the Popular Film category.
Then came strike three, arguably the Academy’s most idiotic offense to the film community. Certain awards were slated to be given during commercial breaks, but two of these awards were for Cinematography and Editing. This decision caused uproar around all of Hollywood Boulevard. From Spike Lee (“BlacKkKlansman”) to Alfonso Cuaron (“Roma”), film fans were furious that the two most fundamentally defining attributes of cinema were being shoved aside to simply save time. Screenplays derive from literature and acting from theater, yet cinematography and editing are completely synonymous with cinema, and the Academy heard this point ad nauseam.
Long story short, the Academy went back on its decision, showing it had no spine and simply wanted nothing more than to be liked. However, Oscar night was only days away, there was no host, nor Popular Film category, and all the awards were to be given on air. Absolutely no one knew how this was going to turn out.
All of that confusion, doubt and pessimism went away within the opening 10 minutes of the broadcast, where, instead of having a host come out to give a topical, late-night style monologue, as per usual, the Oscars brought out Queen. Led by Adam Lambert, who had been touring with the band for the last couple of years, Queen came out and tore the roof off the Dolby theater, bringing every celebrity to their feet and making a statement that this was not your daddy’s Oscars. Seconds later, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph walked onstage with a hilarious, compact monologue followed by the night’s first award. It was, much to everyone’s surprise, the most enjoyable Oscars opening ever.
As the night went on, awards were being given out like hot dogs at a baseball game, they were going so fast. There were multiple performances to help give the show some life, specifically Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper steaming everything up with their rendition of “Shallow” from “A Star is Born.” The speeches were tight yet impactful, and there were not any pointless, unfunny skits or polarizing political statements to suck all the fun out of the room. The “In Memorium” featured Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, much to everyone’s happiness. To top it all off, despite giving out every award on air, the show ended up being over a half-hour shorter in length than it usually is.
So, the Oscars were finished at no later than 11:20 p.m. People watching at home did not have to stay up past midnight, and the show moved at a brisk pace. For once, the Oscars felt truly fun, which could only mean one thing: No. More. Hosts.
The Oscars has dipped in ratings every single year since 2014 and has finally seen a spike. Furthermore, everyone who watched the ceremony liked it for the most part. There were no objections to the host because there was no host. The Oscars have struck a goldmine idea by simply focusing on the art and the artists, having some fun along the way and not catering an entire show for one comedian or late-night host to shine as a host. For future years, if the Academy lets the focus be on the films nominated, keeps the show to three hours instead of four and has other fun acts instead of a host, it will finally gain the approval of the mainstream moviegoers, and that will make the Academy popular.
Image from Oscars via YouTube