Hollywood has had a festering problem for years.
The ratings for their awards shows have been in steady decline.
The industry made a bold move to combat the ratings problem, but their decision might backfire in a way that could severely damage Hollywood.
Hollywood Doesn’t Follow Its Own Rules
Some of the Tinseltown mantras that have become synonymous with good storytelling have been abandoned.
“Leave the audience wanting more…Get in late, and get out early…Less is more.”
Hollywood has mastered hypocrisy. While these rules apply to filmmakers, the producers of the annual awards shows continue to create bloated, boring, overly long broadcasts.
To make matters worse, insipid political speeches espousing some basic left-wing principles have come to rule the day.
It was once considered inappropriate to make political statements. Some Oscar winners were even jeered for their beliefs.
The long-winded speeches and excess have pushed the Oscars close to three and a half hours.
As one might imagine, the rating haven’t been good.
A Terrible Solution
In recent years, the Oscars started pre-recording ceremonies for some of the lesser known categories.
Many believed this was a slap in the face to the award winners. It only seems fair they should be honored at the main event if the category exists.
One solution the Oscars arrived at was limiting how much time the winners can speak. While that may speed things up, all of the fat around the actual presentation of the awards can go.
But the Academy Awards’ latest grand idea to spice things up is truly terrible; they’ve added a new category for “popular” film.
Inadvertent Admission Of A Big Problem
Understandably many in the film industry found the idea of a popular film category a gross form of pandering.
Actor Rob Lowe chimed in on the ridiculous news with a tweet that went viral:
The film business passed away today with the announcement of the “popular” film Oscar. It had been in poor health for a number of years. It is survived by sequels, tent-poles, and vertical integration.
— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) August 8, 2018
The Oscars might soon resemble a cartoonish show like the MTV Awards, although to MTV’s credit, this year they avoided the endless parade of dull political speeches.
Lowe’s tweet underscores a soft contempt Hollywood producers have for general audiences. The idea is Hollywood makes substandard movies because they’re popular.
But Hollywood has forgotten that substantive movies can—and should—still be popular.
Make Better Movies
The Oscars used to be dominated by popular films, a point Alex Griswold tweeted out:
9 out of 10 of the biggest blockbusters of all time were nominated for Best Picture. 9 of them won Oscars. Maybe the reason modern blockbusters aren’t getting Best Picture nods is because, bluntly, they aren’t good enough. pic.twitter.com/d43acbZ9oC
— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) August 8, 2018
The movies that have withstood the test of time were almost exclusively popular. A handful weren’t appreciated at the time and became classics years later, but those instances are rare.
A big problem is Hollywood elitists—perhaps starting in the late 1960s—decided that being edgy and weird and counterculture was a requirement for a film to get awards love.
The dark little secret is that many of those avant-garde films are just as formulaic, and sometimes even more formulaic, as “Hollywood” movies.
Hollywood simply needs to understand that popular films should have depth, and often do. Executives are too busy thumbing their noses at audiences to notice.
If Hollywood snobs had been paying attention, they would’ve noticed that “The Dark Knight” was arguably far better than anything else that came out in 2008.
In 50 years, will audiences remember Heath Ledger’s iconic portrayal of the Joker or that “Slumdog Millionaire” actually won Best Picture that same year?