Oscars Stumble Toward 91st Academy Award Presentations

Image result for frances mcdormand oscar photos

Frances McDormand and Gary Oldman are among the previous acting award winners who will, after all, take to the stage at this year’s Oscars

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) have backtracked and announced that the winners of last year’s acting Oscars will – as has been traditional – return to present awards at the 2019 ceremony.

Reports had emerged that, in its search to improve the Oscar telecast’s falling ratings, the Academy had failed to invite the 2018 winners to present at the forthcoming ceremony as it sought to involve more attention-grabbing names as presenters. Allison Janney, winner of the best supporting actress for I, Tonya, had said “it breaks my heart” in a now-deleted post on social media.

The Academy confirmed in a tweet that Janney, along with Frances McDormand (winner of best actress for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Gary Oldman (best actor for Darkest Hour), and Sam Rockwell (best supporting actor for Three Billboards) will present awards.

Are the Oscars Ashamed to Be the Oscars? asks the New York Times.

Emily Blunt performing in “Mary Poppins Returns.” It’s unlikely that Emily Blunt, performing in “Mary Poppins Returns” will perform the nominated song from the film at the Oscars.

You know things are going wrong with the Oscars when even Lin-Manuel Miranda gets upset, says a veteran Oscars reporter.

The “Hamilton” star, who has long cultivated a reputation as Twitter’s crown prince of positivity, dipped to an unseen low after it was reported that the Oscar broadcast would run only two performances from the five nominated songs.

He’s not alone. On the telecast, the academy has reportedly chosen to feature only “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” and “All the Stars” from “Black Panther.”

Exclusion dominates the early pre-Oscars show.  Among those left in the cold are Jennifer Hudson, a consistent awards-show powerhouse who would have sung “I’ll Fight” from the documentary “RBG,” and Emily Blunt, the popular star of two of last year’s biggest hits, who could have performed “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns.” The notion of excluding these artists from the broadcast didn’t sit well with Miranda, Blunt’s “Mary Poppins Returns” co-star.

The “Hamilton” star says this on Twitter:

The 1st time I stayed up to watch the Oscars, it was because I LOVED The Little Mermaid & they were going to sing songs from the movie I loved on The Oscars.
If true, and Poppins’ song won’t be performed, truly disappointing. Hostless AND music-less?
To quote Kendrick: Damn.


#Oscars: Most of the best song nominees won’t perform on telecast (EXCLUSIVE) http://bit.ly/2FYWsuI

Miranda was referring to the decision to soldier on with no host for the show after Kevin Hart stepped down over offensive tweets, but the truth is that Oscar stumbles are occurring on a regular basis pre-telecast, and many are of the academy’s own making.

Take, for example, the decision to award the winner of the best-cinematography Oscar during a commercial break. The academy is exploring this option for several of the tech categories to cut the length of this year’s show, and while those acceptance speeches will probably be edited into the broadcast later that night in some kind of truncated form, reporters at the ceremony will be announcing the winners on social media long before the home audience gets to see them.

The social media storm fired back, blasting the academy president, John Bailey, who is himself a cinematographer. “I’m offended by the proposed changes to the telecast,” tweeted the director and academy member Gina Prince-Bythewood (“Beyond the Lights”). “Filmmaking is a collection of crafts and The Academy is the only awards show that honors and amplifies all. As it should be.”

It seems that plenty of worthy categories will be shunted to the margins. Given the mandate by ABC to trim the length of the telecast, we can expect acceptance speeches to be ever more quickly curtailed, and awards watchers said they’ll be surprised if we still see clips of the nominated performances, the sort of thing that might introduce some of these smaller movies to a wider audience.

In other words, the Oscar telecast has become an entertainment program determined to divest itself of all entertainment.

Academy Awards diehards are asking if the academy understands why they still tune into this show.  They recount past telecasts remembering moments, not minutes: a speech that surprises, a musical performance that connects, an unplanned line that becomes a part of history. If the academy isn’t going to leave room for those moments to happen, it might as well issue a press release instead of a broadcast.

The magic of Hollywood is still in the movie theatres where men and women of all ages gather to be entertained, enthralled, and captivated by the Silver Screen.  The Academy Awards’ lure is that that magic is recreated for a few hours with our favorite screen actors and actresses being feted and cheered for their performances.  This isn’t a Little League Awards Dinner at the local Masonic Temple where adults just hand out trophies, parents clap, and then adults wrap it up because it’s a school night.  Hey, it’s the Oscars.  You’re Hollywood.  It’s a production.  Get it right.

Citations: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/30/movies/oscars-controversy.html




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