Oscars 2022: what the ceremony plans to reconnect with audiences

After two years of plummeting audiences, the Academy of Oscars is trying to revitalize the evening.

Only two days left before the annual high mass of American cinema. This Sunday evening, the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles will host the Hollywood elite for the 94th Academy Awards. With, for broadcasters, a major challenge: to reinflate the catastrophic audiences of recent years, with a historic low reached last year (9.58 million viewers, a decrease of 58% compared to 2020).

To convince the public to give them a chance, the Oscars are multiplying the subterfuges: comedy stars at the presentation, performances by artists idolized by young people, interactions with viewers…

Not to mention that this edition will most certainly be marked by the current geopolitical context: many American celebrities have spoken in recent weeks to express their support for Ukraine, victim of a violent Russian offensive for a month. Overview of what awaits moviegoers this Sunday.

• From comics to animation

Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer (stand-upper and actress) and Regina Hall (seen in the cult satirical saga Scary Movie) will share the presentation of the evening, at the rate of a slot of one hour each under the spotlights. The obvious objective is to bring audiences back up by entrusting the controls of the evening to these three stars of humour.

Because the Oscars, which have long had a tradition of calling on a popular celebrity to present the evening, had abandoned this model in 2019. The last two editions took place without a host… and coincided with the loss of the million viewers.

• Stars at the microphone

The musical programming of the Oscars 2022 will have nothing to envy to the Grammy Awards: performances by superstars Beyoncé and Billie Eilish have been announced. Both are among the nominees in the category best original song (be alive for the premiere, taken from the film The Williams Methodand No Time to Die for the second, soundtrack of the last james bond).

Also, two Latin pop stars have just been announced, as reported Billboard: Luis Fonsi, interpreter of the planetary tube Despacitoand singer Becky G will join the cast of the Disney film Encanto to sing the song We Don’t Talk About Bruno, taken from the feature film. By rising to the top of the musical charts across the Atlantic, the song signed the biggest hit from the Disney universe since Let It Go.

• Pre-recorded price discounts

Another attempt to reconnect with the public: although the evening will be broadcast live, the presentations of certain prizes will be pre-recorded. The decision, which concerns eight Oscars in technical categories or for short formats, will free up more airtime for musical, humorous and tribute numbers, explains the president of the Academy of Oscars, David Rubin, in an e-mail addressed to its members and to the candidates.

But this initiative could turn against the organizers: a protest petition signed by 80 employees of the sound professions has been sent to the Academy. According variety, protests could take place during the evening. •

• The inauguration of a “Twitter Prize”

How do you make viewers who lost interest in the Oscars feel concerned again? The organizers think they have found the solution with the creation, this year, ofa prize awarded by the public. Between mid-February and March 3, moviegoers were asked to vote for their favorite film of 2021, without any pre-selection, by tweeting the title of the feature film of their choice followed by the hashtag #OscarsFanFavorite. The film that receives the most votes will receive this “Oscar from the public” during the evening. The announcement of this prize was made a few days after the nominees were revealed.

The Academy’s selection highlighted a gap between the cinema praised by professionals and the cinema acclaimed by spectators: Spider-Man: No Way Home and the last james bondwhich nearly saved the box office during a year of health restrictions, did not appear in any of the main categories.The Power of the DogNetflix’s dark and psychological western by Jane Campion, is a big favorite for the 2022 Oscars with 12 nominations. the blockbuster Dunes by Denis Villeneuve follows closely with ten. Come next Belfastimmersed in the childhood of Kenneth Branagh, and West Side Story by Steven Spielbergwith seven nominations each.

• The inevitable subject of the war in Ukraine

The Oscas are often the scene of political speeches, and the context of 2022 should perpetuate the tradition. In the midst of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it seems inevitable that the subject will come up during the awards ceremony. But we still don’t know in what form.

Co-host Amy Schumer bluntly expressed her desire to bring in Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The proposal seems to have been rejected but for Scott Feinberg, journalist at the HollywoodReporterorganizers are “thinking hard to figure out how to talk about the subject without making the show something overly political or divisive.”

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Oscars 2022: what the ceremony plans to reconnect with audiences