Top 10 Things Producers Just Don’t Understand About Watching the Oscars® From Home
True to tradition and history, the annual Academy Awards broadcast seems to be the most coveted, scrutinized and cursed assignment available in live-events. I can’t imagine the pressure, and I never will. But I’m just giving away these potential nuggets to anyone out there who finds them to use or dismiss, and I’d love to hear any others just for fun.
1) by live-tweeting out winners before the official broadcast had even begun, producers totally screwed over the majority of home pools and ballots that normal people were frantically filling out as part of the fun. Flyover folx didn’t mail their ballots in, and this first decision in the night totally showed how disconnected they were from what the 99% do (and how important ballots are and actually motivate casual viewers to make it to the end of the marathon just to see who wins the bracket).
2) most of us (gulp) enjoy the acceptance speeches! We LIKE the up and down the stage, and we’d MUCH rather listen to normal folks we never get to hear about from Behind the Scenes / Below The Line, because guess what? They seem like us! So every single freaking time you cut off the little guy you just cut out something else we actually enjoyed about the show previously. If you watched at home, you’d hear things like “Oh my God, that’s awesome. She’s sweet.” or “Don’t cut them off!” or “I’d much rather hear that person’s story than someone thanking their management team.” Yes we want the big award brouhaha but we want the balance of these people too just as badly.
These acceptance speeches and moments are your secret sauce and you keep trying to change the recipe.
3) Fan Fav, yep — that didn’t work, good decisive people would say: not doing that again. Instead they will likely try to keep pushing these experiences on us, because their motivation is advertising and along with so much of the program, this was just that. And we all know when we’re being sold of course, and it’s tedious to sit through. You may not think so, because you don’t make the Oscars® guests watch commercials like we have to every few minutes in addition to your studio tie-ins and shlocking for upcoming releases, which is fiiine but also it’s all a little much.
4) It’s a pretty confusing choice to claim to honor the film business by constantly cross promoting other pop culture at the expense of your own. Again, you don’t understand us. We are tuning in to watch movie people, and every time you think you are clever by bringing in a fresh DJ Khalid take, you just make most of us feel like football fanatics during the Super Bowl halftime show — what the hell does this have to do with anything?
5) Not one single “everyday” normal person said one single word in your broadcast about what it meant for us to have our theatres reopen, our films come back, our cinema culture return this year. You could have asked a million interesting questions to people of all ages about what being in the theatre means or feels like, especially now. Send Jimmy Kimmel or Conan out and just let people express themselves; it’s often more moving and memorable to us than anything your writers room thought up.
This broadcast made me miss moments from previous Oscars® that involved real people sooo much (Licorice Pizza delivery?) that I even longed for sitting through the reading of the legalese from PWC.
6) Since everyone in the world now can “make movies” on their phone, the robust editing and docu-tricky shaves and L-cuts just don’t fool anyone — and it always feels weird and unnatural and we all see it. Editing an acceptance speech isn’t an ESPN promo so if you’re hellbent on keeping it up, just save the crew time and do a static single shot and let a person speak. We the audience are actually interested in what they have to say, and not really so bored we’re begging for a Paul Crowder wannabe to come in and “shake it up.”
7) Most of us don’t take the week before and the week after off from work to indulge in our luxurious Oscars® experience. Could you please do something that actually respects the audience you claim to crave, and just nudge that bad-boy earlier for the EST or push it to a Saturday or at least pretend to look into some options?
8) I’m guessing by my group’s watch experience that no one producing the show actually tried to be the user online, that’s always going to be a problem. Be the user at the highest levels. The symphony of botched attempts at logging into streaming accounts on the so-called smart TVs, followed by installation of the HD antennae, followed by watching bootleg streams thru Facebook Live was the antithesis of simplicity and made me long for a Channel 7 analog past. Make it simpler. Clean it up.
9) Anyone who attends or produces even a meeting or a Zoom call knows that you always, always build in a contingency of time overlapping, running long, getting screwy and needing to recover, etc. If we all build this in at our levels, where is the producorial discipline at the highest level to accept and build this into the plan? Whatever “wiggle room” you had is painfully never enough, this is a math problem and nothing more. It’s a knowable fix. Just make the program as long as it needs to be and call it a day.
10) You know what the easiest and most helpful thing producers could have done for us was just tell us where and how (across the endless myriad of streamers and theatre chains still in business) we could find and watch the nominees. You know, watch the actual films — the movies that unite us, the industry and experience you are trying desperately to save.
There’s a million prompts for how to watch the Awards Show — and almost no official information on where or how to connect with the product itself. Even today after the winners were announced.
When there is doubt about the importance of audiences, just ask yourself: What Would Thalberg Do? and good luck.