Academy Awards 2021: In a year of streaming, the Oscars should go with the flow

Therein lies the problem for the producers of this year’s awards, after a stretch that has already seen the Emmys and Golden Globes sink to record-low rankings. It has left producers of the ceremony in what appears to be like like a troublesome bind — with no theatrical blockbusters to assist drive curiosity in the ceremony — but in addition with a chance, in the event that they embrace the freedom that should come with diminished viewership expectations and having little to lose.

In the previous, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which presents the awards, has collectively exhibited combined emotions about Netflix’s role in the film trade’s marquee occasion, unable to obviously determine if streaming was good friend or foe. The results of the pandemic — and the associated shift towards residence viewing — primarily pushed the Academy into Netflix’s ready arms.

All advised, the service amassed a best-ever 35 nominations, greater than every other single entity. That included two of the eight greatest image nominees, a pair of historic dramas in “Mank” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” and 6 of the 20 performing bids.

Netflix, of course, wasn’t alone, with streamers like Amazon (with a dozen complete), Hulu and Disney+ all leaving their mark on the roster of contenders. In some situations, that recognition got here for motion pictures that have been redirected from deliberate theatrical launch to streaming, reminiscent of Hulu’s “Nomadland” and Disney+’s “Soul” and “Mulan.”

What which means for the Oscars in sensible phrases is unclear. Ratings for the awards have been trending downward as a consequence of a host of components, however the off-a-cliff decline for the Golden Globes has solely fed the sense that the urge for food for such occasions has been tremendously diminished by a year that shut film theaters and blunted the celebratory points of dwell occasions.
The Emmys, notably, charted a path for handing out awards regardless of coronavirus restrictions, a system that the Globes largely botched. The Grammys recaptured some of the dwell expertise with their performance-oriented ceremony on Sunday evening.
The Oscars have additionally outlined plans for a extra in-person format, however even with the awards delayed till late April, the type of large gathering staged in the previous will not be potential. And whereas viewers can entry most nominees on-line, the fragmentation of the viewers — and diminished rooting curiosity that comes with it — has been exacerbated by every little thing that has transpired since “Parasite” made history at the 2020 Oscars, in what seems like for much longer than 13 months in the past.

Award reveals, of course, exist for a number of causes, which of their highest calling includes celebrating and inspiring admirable work. But they’re additionally business endeavors, with sensible implications constructed round getting individuals to observe, and broadcast charges that help the organizations behind them.

The Grammys seemingly discovered a candy spot, creatively talking, in a extra intimate ceremony that also showcased the nominees, which may level the manner in phrases of a workable mannequin. But if the Academy and host community ABC have not already resigned themselves to disappointing numbers even relative to even final year’s record-low Oscars, maybe they should. (Ratings for the Grammys declined about 53% between 2020 and 2021.)

In a year the place the Oscars have change into largely about streaming, there’s not a lot left to do however go with the flow.

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