2022 OSCARS: glory or decadence?

Isabelle Campone

By Isabelle Campone25 mars 2022

The Oscars will be taking place this Sunday, back to the Hollywood red carpets. After years of drop in audience, of controversy and a complete transformation of the industry, will we be witnessing their agony or rebirth?

The Oscars have long thrilled the entire Hollywood world, attracting up to 60 million viewers. But since 1998, there have been major audience drops (Shutterstock)

On March 27, Hollywood will be gathered for the 94th time, ready to honor films and protagonists. Yet many lovers of the motion pictures are holding their breath. Will the great Oscar show have Hollywood sparkle again? Indeed, year after year, red carpets and audiences have weakened. The Emmys saw their popularity drop by over 80% as of 1986, followed by the Oscars ten years later. In 2020, 23.6 million Americans witnessed the coronation of Parasite as best picture, a 20% drop year to date. And in 2021, the Oscars even recorded their biggest audience drop ever with 9.85 million viewers, an audience which is also growing older. Regarding the Golden Globes, their broadcast was completely cancelled this year by NBC due to financial scandals and lack of diversity.

This awareness has forced the industry to rethink the best way to adjust to the world surrounding it. Today, Hollywood and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are finally changing. While not hoping to recapture its 57 million viewers from 1998 on Sunday, the Oscars still want to make things right and learn lessons from controversies, including the #️OscarsSoWhite. Beyond the Academy’s obvious disconnection, the question also touches upon the big night’s entire setup: Unbearable lengths, boring presenters and unknown to young generations, as well as movie choices, too edgy for some, while not edgy enough for others.

Inclusive measures and an audience Prize



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In 2016, the Oscars membership still included too few minorities. Today, the organisation has been able to balance the numbers and bring in diversity (Shutterstock)

First measure: from 6,261 members in 2016 - including 92% of white members and 75% of men – the organization went to almost 10,ooo. Among these 3,700 professionals, half are women, half are originally from 68 other countries than the US and one third are from under-represented minorities. Without surprise, the change had enormous impact on nominations. In 2021, only four nominated actors and actresses where White Americans and the best Director category encompassed two women for the first time. Progress continues this year with the nomination of a hearing-impaired actor, Troy Kotsur, and of openly gay actresses Kristen Stewart and Ariana DeBose. The Power of the Dog, with over ten nominations, is breaking records for a movie directed by a woman, Jane Campion, nominated for the second time.

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