The Academy Awards are rolling out the red carpet at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre for the first time in two years in what the film academy hopes will be a return to normalcy at the Oscars. Except for everything that has changed.
The 94th Academy Awards will air live on ABC at 8 p.m. EDT, as is customary. However, little else about how this year’s Oscars will begin is traditional. Attendees will gather in the Dolby an hour before the broadcast begins for the presentation of eight awards and acceptance speeches, which will be edited into a broadcast that producer Will Packer has promised will be a tight three hours.
Scenes from this morning’s #Oscars red carpet rollout. pic.twitter.com/g19CTluUao
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) March 23, 2022
It’s just one of many changes, both minor and seismic, taking place in the run-up to this year’s ceremony. Following two years of pandemic and a socially distant 2021 edition with record-low ratings, the Academy Awards will attempt to reclaim their exalted place in pop culture with a revamped telecast that is expected to see a streaming service win the best picture for the first time.
It will be difficult. The film industry recovered significantly from the pandemic by 2021, but despite one of the year’s biggest hits, “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” the recovery has been patchy.
The VFX team behind #SpiderManNoWayHome open up about uniting 3 Spideys, 5 villains and the Nexus of All Realities. (EXCLUSIVE) https://t.co/9xBuLSqady
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) March 16, 2022
According to the Motion Picture Association, the global movie industry sold roughly half as many tickets last year as it did two years ago, $21.3 billion in 2021 compared to $42.3 billion in 2019. Hollywood pushed more of its best films into people’s homes than ever before; half of this year’s best-picture nominees were streamed at or very close to release. Even the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has shifted entirely to a streaming platform for voters, rather than DVD screeners.
Then there’s the difficulty of commanding global attention for a night of Hollywood self-congratulation after two years of pandemic and while Russia’s war ravages Ukraine. Packer has stated that the war in Ukraine will be acknowledged respectfully during the broadcast.
Netflix’s “The Power of the Dog,” Jane Campion’s gothic western, leads the pack with 12 nominations and a strong chance of winning the top prize. But all of the attention is on Sian Heder’s deaf family drama “CODA,” which, despite only three nominations, is considered the favorite. A win would be a big win for Apple TV+, which bought the film out of the Sundance Film Festival last year and has spent a lot of money promoting it to academy members.
But “Dune,” Denis Villeneuve’s sweeping science-fiction epic, is expected to win the most awards on the night. It’s the odds-on favorite to sweep the technical categories.
After several years without a host, the Oscars will be emceed by the trio of Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, and Regina Hall, which will also be streamed on platforms such as Hulu Live TV, YouTubeTV, and ABC.com with provider authentication.
Hot girl #Oscars! Megan thee Stallion is dazzling on the red carpet. https://t.co/abMq1BYSsP pic.twitter.com/BzEACHNPG9
— Variety (@Variety) March 27, 2022
A star-studded lineup of performers, including Billie Eilish and Beyoncé, will perform nominated songs, while the “Encanto” cast will perform Lin-Manuel Miranda’s breakout hit “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.”
It will be a staggered start, with different stars entering the Dolby at different times. The red carpet preshow will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m., with the first hour of awards taking place inside the theater from 7-8 p.m.
The winners’ names will be announced first on social media and then woven into the telecast. The red carpet will also open an hour earlier than usual, at 4 p.m. Eastern, to accommodate the shift.
The new approach, which has been widely panned by some academy members, is likely to complicate red-carpet logistics.
The academy is urging attendees to arrive at their seats by 7 p.m. in order to give each winner an uncompromised moment. Some celebrities, such as “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” nominee Jessica Chastain, have stated that they will not participate in red carpet interviews if it means missing the presentation of awards such as best hair and makeup, which the artists of “Tammy Faye” are nominated for.
"You're doing this because you're scared to death, like the rest of us, that you don't matter. And you know what? You're right. You don't.”
Alejandro G. Iñárritu's 'Birdman' won Best Picture, Directing, Original Screenplay, and Cinematography exactly 7 years ago today. pic.twitter.com/B3mwlj1H33
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) February 22, 2022
This is one of eight pre-show categories that will be awarded during the “golden hour,” as the producers refer to it. Film editing, sound, original score, production design, live-action short, animated short, and documentary short are the others.
More than 70 Oscar winners, including James Cameron, Kathleen Kennedy, and Guillermo del Toro, warned earlier this month that the change would make some nominees “second-class citizens.”
The reason for the shift is concern about the Oscars’ rapidly declining ratings. While drops have been common for all major network award shows, last year’s show drew only about 10 million viewers, less than half of the 23.6 million who watched the previous year. It was closer to 40 million a decade ago.
How @DisneyAnimation's #Encanto (@EncantoMovie) composer Germaine Franco (@germaine_franco) captured the rhythms of Colombia. (EXCLUSIVE) https://t.co/B17LeX7xB9
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) March 25, 2022
Some argued in the run-up to this year’s Oscars that a blockbuster like “Spider-Man: No Way Home” should have been nominated for best picture. It is only for visual effects.
Instead, a diverse range of films are in the running, including the popular Netflix apocalyptic comedy “Don’t Look Up” and the critically acclaimed three-hour Japanese drama “Drive My Car.”
One thing the producers have promised us is that the night’s final award will be for best picture. Last year’s show ended awkwardly with the unexpected awarding of the best actor to a non-present Anthony Hopkins.
Content courtesy fo Association Press & NFH