The Oscars Dip

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Ben Stedman, Writer

The Oscars have been seeing a dramatic, downward trend in viewership over the past few years. The modern youth does not like award shows, and with poor numbers in sight, what is the fate for the Oscars and awards shows alike? 

For the 2020 Oscars, the show saw a 6 million viewership dip from the previous year, marking the lowest recorded number of viewers the show has ever seen. This turnout, however, is something almost expected. Fans are not appreciating award shows anymore. Take movie fanatic Mr. Bart, for example. He calls the Oscars “super boring” as well as questioning the show in general, saying, “How do you judge movies in the first place?”

Bart points out a big problem in the Oscars: they are subjective. Some people want to spend their time watching low quality “B movies,” while other people want movies that give them some sort of greater message to learn from. B movies are low budget films not necessarily focused on quality, but focus on fun. Independence Day is a great example. B movies have a place in the industry, right?

But the Oscars is not about those “B movies,” as it instead focuses on the most influential and meaningful movies. But therein lies another problem. There are hundreds of movies each year that do not get the spotlight but sure are worthy of such praise. These movies do not have huge budgets, but they simultaneously share the same quality as some big budget productions. Fear not! Ryan Kennedy, a video production master at Pentucket High School has a solution. He believes we should have a “big Oscar, and a small Oscar.” The need for these two separate shows comes from the fact that there is “too much money in the Oscars.” Ryan thinks that the little guys deserve some credit and the opportunity to grow to greater audiences.

While having a separate Oscars award show could be difficult, it is not nearly as much of a challenge to include a small picture category within the Oscars, and after 75 years, it’s crazy that they don’t already have one.

Another issue within the award show is those big budget movie companies with wallets so big they could advertise for days. While the little guys do not get the spotlight, the big guys get too much of it. Sometimes money is the only reason why a film will even get an award. 

Film student Josh Thibeau stated, “The process of being selected isn’t on quality, it is about campaigning. At the end of the day it is [about] which production company can campaign the hardest.” 

Thibeau depicts the situation with great accuracy. With “For Your Consideration” gifts being delivered to the front door of voters, these big budget production companies can buy themselves votes. Winning an Oscar has a huge profit return. On top of this, winning an Oscar gains prestige, something that should not be available for purchase.

Local student Aidan Tierney has a great idea to fix this, as he believes that there should be an award for the top grossing movie.

This would take money out of other awards and into this one. Big budget companies can get their shot at an Oscar, and their competition won’t be small film studios. In 2019, Avengers: Endgame was the highest grossing movie of all time. While the movie was not the best artistically, it still deserved some form of recognition for such an accomplishment. With the Highest Grossing Movie award, all of this could be fixed. Combined with a small budget production award, these ideas could separate the big guys and little guys, and let everyone win the awards that they actually deserve.

Through the thick and thin, award shows are really important. They help artists get their movies seen, and they serve as a great time for everyone to show the movies that they love. At the end of the day, it is not about the money, prestige, or anything else; it is about the love of movies, and expressing that love in a night long award ceremony.

The Oscars just need to look into their issues and come up with some version of a fix. There are lots of big movie fans in the world, and their critiques are ones full of tough love. With some work, the Oscars could return to their former glory.