Oscars 2022 are desperately looking for an emcee

After the hiccups of the 2021 edition, the most glamorous night in American cinema is putting its destiny in the hands of a competent conductor for the first time in three years.

After three years of more or less risky experiments, the Oscars evening will find a master of ceremonies on March 27, the ABC channel, which broadcasts the flagship event of the American film awards season, announced on Tuesday.

Changing the formula was urgent. In recent years, ratings have steadily eroded. In 2019, the first year without an animator, the spectators had returned a little. 29.56 million moviegoers were present, i.e. 3 million more than in 2018. This had led the organizers to extend this strategy, thinking that this formula was appreciated, but the following galas dashed their hopes: 23.64 million faithful for the triumph of Parasite and just 10.40 million for the return of the Oscars in a post-Covid world. A historic underperformance.

Pandemic and closure of cinemas oblige, the studios had withdrawn the highly anticipated blockbusters, such Dunes Where West Side Story, the films in the running came from independent cinema and were sometimes unknown to the general public. The 2021 edition reserved a historic women’s triumph for Chloe Zhao and her Nomadland.

Erase the false note of vintage 2021

Appointed producer of the evening, Steven Soderbergh had modified the well-oiled protocol of the Oscars: not clips of films in competition, the statuette of the best picture was the penultimate, and not the last prize to be awarded. Choice all the more risky as the last trophy to be awarded was that of the best actor. Instead of going to favorite and late Chadwick Boseman, Anthony Hopkins, who remained in his native Wales, triumphed for The Father by Florian Zeller and was absent from the Californian ceremony which ended abruptly, with no winner or host to close it. A real false note.

ABC did not wish to give further details, refusing to say whether comedian Jimmy Kimmel, master of ceremonies for the Oscars in 2017 and 2018, would re-enter. In 2019, ABC and the producers had bad luck. They had mandated Kevin Hart. But the African-American comedian had given up taking control of the evening after old tweets deemed homophobic resurfaced. He had not been replaced, hence this first test without a conductor and his famous opening monologue.

Dare a superhero?

In the meantime, speculation is rife. The specialized press makes amusing and very eccentric choices. The Hollywood Reporter suggests that the Academy of the Oscars take inspiration from the success of Spider-Man: No Way Home and entrusting the show to the three Spider-Men who resurrected the global box office: Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland. An enticing “private joke”.

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Oscars 2022 are desperately looking for an emcee