Posted by: ckckred | February 25, 2012

The Oscars’ Strategy: 2012

Last year, the Oscars seemed to put every ounce of money they had onto advertising.  Every time you flipped the channel to ABC, there seemed to be a promo for the Oscars.  James Franco and Anne Hathaway, last year’s pair of hosts, endlessly promoted the award show, and on Oscar.com, multiple backstage cameras were available to be viewed, as well as a year-by-year overview on the winners.

Strangely enough, I’ve seen very little of advertisement of the Oscars this year.  There aren’t many promos and Oscar.com isn’t retelling audiences of the past winners.  It seems like the Oscars want to be low key this year.  But why?

Maybe it’s because of last year’s show.  James Franco and Anne Hathaway bombed so badly, they made David Letterman’s infamous Oscar stint look like one of Bob Hope’s monologues.  The ratings also tumbled down to 37 million, back from the 41 million the year before.  Some people also blame that the backstage camera took people’s attention away from the actual awards.

But really, the Oscars shouldn’t be worried about that.  They finally picked a strong and safe host, Billy Crystal, who single-handedly made the Oscars the must-see event of the 90s.  They have a good producer (Brian Grazer).  And it looks like it can be a good awards show.

The reason I believe the Oscars are remaining so low profile this year is because of the nominees.  There is no enormous blockbuster among the Best Picture nominees.  Last year had Toy Story 3 and Inception, the year before had Avatar.  This year the highest grossing nominee is The Help, which took over $160 million domestically.  That’s good for the film but nowhere compares to the $600 million Avatar made domestically.

The Oscars really want to appeal to the younger generation, which is why they got Anne Hathaway and James Franco to host.  But every person I know, whether young or old, called the Oscars boring and hugely unfunny, due to the inexperience of comic talent of the hosts.  Younger audiences prefer edgier comic style (Ricky Gervais, for example), while older audiences tend to like old-fashioned comedy (Bob Hope).  Crystal follows more in the second category than the first, but I believe he’ll attract a bigger audience than last year (and that includes the coveted 18-32 demo) because of his great legacy as host.  Even without a big nominee, I think Crystal can pull it off, like in the 1997 award show when indies such as The English Patient and Fargo rose up to be the nominees.

I’m expecting a good show, with wins for The Artist for Best Picture and Hugo for the visuals, so I suggest you watch.  There’s a huge crop of snubs I can mention, but the return of Crystal at the Kodak Theater is definitely worth watching.

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Responses

  1. The beauty of last year was how Anne & Franco satirized the event with their performance. They weren’t trying to be funny. They were trying to expose the absurdity of the event itself.

    Which, in an ironic way, made me love last year.

    • I didn’t really see their performance as a satire of the Oscars. Later, James Franco blamed Bruce Vilanch, the show’s writer, for the terrible performance, but I feel the blame mostly goes to the pair of hosts. Hathaway at least seemed to try, but Franco looked so dull and bored, it completely destroyed the show. I’m not sure Franco would have complained later if he did such a bad hosting job intentionally.

      But if they did, they did a good job. Worst Oscars I’ve ever seen. Thanks for commenting.

      • For sure! Part of it comes from the belief that Franco’s pulling one giant piece of performance art.

        But if you don’t buy into that, then yes. It was terrible.


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