Oscars to Add ‘Popular Film’ Category

www.nytimes.com

Brooks Barnes:

Whether its remedies are the correct ones or not, the academy had to take some kind of action: The Oscars are increasingly out of touch. A record low of 26.5 million people watched this year’s telecast, a nearly 20 percent drop from a year earlier. As recently as four years ago, the Academy Awards had an audience of 43.7 million viewers.
“We have heard from many of you about improvements needed to keep the Oscars and our academy relevant in a changing world,” Mr. Bailey wrote. “The Board of Governors took this charge seriously.”
The Oscar telecast is a big business, generating 83 percent of the academy’s $148 million in annual revenue. ABC controls broadcast rights for the show until 2028 at a cost of roughly $75 million a year. ABC was seeking as much as $2.8 million per 30-second commercial for the most recent telecast.

The Oscars are the only awards show I actually watch -- it's hard to think of anything more meaningless, petty, and vapid than televised award shows -- mainly for nostalgic reasons. The show was obviously far from perfect (to put it nicely), but it still had some level of gravitas thanks to its history and the fact that many people took it seriously. I hate to be the old man yelling at the kids on the lawn, but I really do fear that goes away with this move.

Unlike other needed changes (like those to the group that actually votes, for example), this is simply pandering to an audience they covet, so as to better squeeze out advertising money. That's sad.

And even sadder is that it may work in that regard. As The Academy Awards slowly fades into the MTV Movie Awards....

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