Hollywood can’t get out of its own way.
This week’s news that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will add a most popular movie Oscar not only sent civilian social media into conniptions, but also the Hollywood press and Oscar voters. Reaction was immediate and one-sided, mostly variations on, “what the heck were they thinking?”
Getting less attention, but as important, is the decision that, in the interest of keeping the broadcast to a viewer-friendly three hours, some awards will be presented during commercials, with winners getting their few seconds of fame via edited snippets as at the Tony Awards. That move speaks to an identity dilemma: Is the Oscars’ primary function the acknowledgment of achievement or entertainment? In a perfect world, the two would beautifully coexist, but the world is far from perfect, and Hollywood is hardly a nonprofit enterprise.
An Oscar statue.
Still, it takes a village to make a movie. It’s sad that the organizers of this mega event, supposedly creative thinkers, can’t conjure a better way to reverse the ratings bleed (down 19 percent last year), than to de-emphasize the essential contributions of off-the-radar types. Before the new Popular Oscar gets added, there are 24 awards, which sound