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  • James Spiro

The Oscars Are Nearly Here. Thank Goodness.



It’s been a long journey to the 2019 Oscars, with controversy appearing at every step of the way. This year’s Oscars was always going to be tough: the Academy is battling all-low viewing figures and is still trying to tread lightly over hashtags like #MeToo and #OscarsSoWhite.

We should have known it was always going to be a disaster.

Rumors swirling around a troubled 2019 ceremony started in August 2018, when the academy announced a brand new category: The Best Popular Film. Ironically, it was widely criticized and proved to be an unpopular decision. It raised questions regarding the integrity of audiences and the ‘shallowness’ of film choices. Hollywood blockbusters and superhero films don’t usually win Oscars, but surely the billions they bring in each year makes them more ‘popular’?

The Most Popular Film category unintentionally highlighted the Academy’s preference for smaller, independent, films, while at the same time disregarded them entirely. By introducing a ‘Most Popular Film’ category, they were admitting that their conventional choices were unpopular.

Suddenly, the Academy seemed wildly out of touch with the average cinemagoer. The idea was quickly dropped.

The next controversy came and went soon after. In December 2018, comedian Kevin Hart was announced as the host for the award show. The stand-up comedian and actor had confessed that hosting the Oscars was a ‘dream job’ for him and that it had been on his list for years.

It took two days for the internet mob to take effect and cause him to step down.

After previous homophobic tweets came to light from 2009 - fans everywhere demanded that Hart step down from the position. The academy forced him to make a public apology for tweets sent a decade ago. Hart himself had addressed the tweets in question during another interview - admitting that they were in bad taste and that he had moved on.

Unfortunately, Hollywood has fired people for tweets time and time again.

Hart decided to step down and remove himself from the controversy surrounding his hiring. His hosting gig was supposed to lighten up tensions that had risen through the #OscarSoWhite story. Having a black host was supposed to show how inclusive the Academy was.

It showed the outrage mob that it wasn’t racist, but that it was homophobic instead.

Ellen Degeneres urged him to change his mind, but Hart confessed that the moment had gone and that he didn’t want to cause any more trouble. The Oscars will now run without a host for the second time in its 90-year history.

Soon after it became apparent that the Hosting gig became ‘the worst job in Hollywood’, rumors began to start that the Academy was intimidating other celebrities, urging them not to appear at other ceremonies. Of course, the Academy vehemently denies this and promises a ‘phenomenal’ line-up of presenters. It is unsure who will appear.

The fourth and final controversy to his the Oscars before its actual broadcast was the news that it would not televise some of the awards. In order to keep the broadcast under three hours, it announced that they would not show the Oscars for make-up and hairstyling, live-action short, editing and cinematography.

Of course, this angered the group of film fans who want to know these awards. The very people who would sit through a 3+ hour ceremony are the very people whose passion is film and cinema. The Academy was hurting its biggest fanbase just to appease wider audiences.

This idea was quickly scrapped and it will broadcast all original categories.

So what now? We’ve only just touched upon some of the problems the Academy had in organizing the evening - none of the problems surround the rampant sexual assault and racist claims coming from actors and filmmakers. It’s unclear how the evening itself will go. But one thing is for certain:

After almost a year of problems, we’re definitely ready for the Oscars.

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