Who won? What were the best moments? And the worst? Find out here.
The very first Academy Awards ceremony was held on May 16, 1929. It was a private function held at The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel with about 270 people in attendance. The Oscars were first televised on NBC in 1953, but the ratings of the show didn’t come about until 1974, the 46th Academy Awards. It is estimated that 44.7 million people tuned into the show. The largest audience to date came in 1998 with 55 million (Titantic won 11 awards that year). Last year, the number fell to the lowest of the presentation’s history: 9.8 million. Granted, it was in the middle of the pandemic, most movie theaters had been closed and very few movies had been released the year prior. It was an intimate affair, but an odd one.
The struggle to get big ratings has been a struggle for many years. Historically, the years with larger audiences came when more popular movies were in the running for Best Picture and those with the lowest ratings came when less popular films were in the spotlight. Still, there seems to be a few elephants in the theatre space that few are addressing -the special is long, dull and oftentimes, less about the celebration of movies at large and more about the celebrities attending the affair. Those who love red carpets events have a great time, but for the rest of us, not so much.
Even with the low ratings, ABC continues to use many of the same behind-the-scenes talents for the show year after year and instead, trade out different hosts, try out using no hosts or many hosts – with little success. Voices from the under-represented were finally heard, so more diverse movies and directors have been nominated the last couple of years. That’s a start.
Last year, the presentation was an odd one in that none of the five nominated Best Songs were presented (they appeared during the pre-show), clips from the nominated movies were few, the “In Memoriam” segment was sped up with upbeat, happy music, the Best Picture was announced much earlier than usual and Glenn Close showed off dancing to the song, “Da Butt.” Not exactly glamourous.
Well, here’s hoping that this year’s telecast will head in the right direction.
The Big Event
The 94th Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, March 27 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood airing at 5 p.m. (PST) It will be shown in more than 200 territories worldwide.
Breaking from recent tradition, the Oscars will again feature a host again – three to be exact: Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall.
Best Picture nominees for 2022 are: Belfast, Coda, Don’t Look Up, Drive My Car, Dune, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley, The Power of the Dog and West Side Story. For the rest of the award and the Golden Raspberry awards, go here.
The Slighted Awards
This year’s award ceremony could see the end of eight live awards all in the effort to keep the show down to three hours running time. On February 22, it was announced that these awards would be awarded ahead of time, edited down and the edited taped footage would be presented during the live program. The categories to be truncated are Best Documentary Short Subject, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Original Score, Best Production Design, Best Animated Short Film, Best Live-Action Short Film and Best Sound.
This decision has not gone over well with directors, editors, music composers and others including Steven Spielberg who told Deadline earlier this month, “When I look back and I think without John Williams, Jaws would wear dentures. With West Side Story, when Tony is singing ‘Tonight’ with Maria, without (Production Designer) Adam Stockhausen he would be singing it on a step-ladder and she would be on the scaffolding, all this on an empty soundstage. Without film editing all my movies would still be in dailies…We all come together to make magic, and I am sad that we will all not be on live television watching magic happen together.” (Image: Gage Skidmoe/Wikipedia)
A letter from the American Cinema Editors says, “Treating certain categories differently from others has struck a nerve within our community, with the overwhelming majority of our membership feeling unheard, disrespected and abandoned by the very same Academy which so many of us have supported for decades,” reported Variety.
With so many similar letters being sent to the executive committee, it is surprising that the ABC award show hasn’t reversed its decision for the sake of time management. Yet.
The Presenters (official)
The stars are coming out again this year including Bill Murray! (How did they talk him into that?!) The other presenters are: Stephanie Beatriz, Josh Brolin, Ruth E. Carter, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, Kevin Costner, Jacob Elordi, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Garner, Jake Gyllenhaal, H.E.R., Tiffany Haddish, Tony Hawk, Anthony Hopkins, Vanessa Hudgens, Terrence J, Daniel Kaluuya, DJ Khaled, Lily James, Daniel Kaluuya, Zoë Kravitz, Mila Kunis, Lady Gaga, John Leguizamo, Shawn Mendes, Jason Momoa, Simu Liu, Rami Malek, Brandon Maxwell, Lupita Nyong’o, Elliot Page, Rosie Perez, Chris Rock, Jill Scott, Naomi Scott, J.K. Simmons, Kelly Slater, Wesley Snipes, Uma Thurman, John Travolta, Shaun White, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Youn Yuh-Jung and Rachel Zegler.
The Presenters (unofficial)
Will they or won’t they? Rumors have been swirling about whether or not Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be presenting an award. Although not listed on ABC’s press releases, it has been rumored that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were lined up to present the award for Best Actress, but that was scrapped since Kristin Stewart is nominated in that category in which she played the role of Princess Diana for the film, Spencer. Now it sounds as if the couple will be presenting for Best Picture.
A New Announcer
For many years, the announcers of the televised Academy Awards were men. Then there was a shakeup of sorts in 2012 when Randy Thomas became the first woman to announce the TV special. Change is happening again this year as Janora McDuffie has been selected to serve as the first African American to host the award show. The actor-turned-announcer has appeared in TV series such as Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds and a host of others and no doubt, many more Oscars. (Image: Sabrina Childress-Miller)
The night features a return of a live orchestra including an additional all-star band Adam Blackstone, blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, percussionist and singer Sheila E., and genre-spanning pianist Robert Glasper. A vocal group, The Samples will also appear.
Nominated Original Songs
Four of the five nominees for Original Song will be performed during the ceremony. (Van Morrison was invited to perform his nominated song but will not attend the Oscars due to his tour schedule.)
The nominees and performers are as follows:
- “Be Alive” from King Richard – Performed by Beyoncé
- “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto – Performed by Sebastián Yatra
- “No Time To Die” from No Time to Die – Performed by Billie Eilish and FINNEAS
- “Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days – Performed by Reba McEntire
Non-Nominated Original Song
On March 24, the show’s producers, Will Paker and Shayla Cowan announced that Encanto’s more popular song, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”, will be sung by cast members Adassa, Stephanie Beatriz, Mauro Castillo, Carolina Gaitan and Diane Guerrero, along with Becky G and Luis Fonsi. It will be the first live performance of the song (if that matters).
As if the Academy Awards wasn’t big enough, ABC is offering a LOT of Oscar-related programming up to the big event including:
- GMA 3: What You Need to Know: The third hour of Good Morning America with Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes will broadcast live from Los Angeles introducing the official trophy presenters of the ceremony on Friday, March 25.
- On the Red Carpet at the Oscars 2022: Presented by ABC7 in Los Angeles, George Pennacchio will welcome some of the stars on the famed carpet.
- On the Red Carpet Live! Countdown to the Oscars: Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes will also host this broadcast originating from the red carpet at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre. It will feature special interviews with Oscars hosts and nominees, including Billie Eilish and Finneas, Penélope Cruz, Jessica Chastain and Questlove; award winner predictions; highlights of the nominees’ past performances; a look at whether special effects are the key to Oscars success and more. The special also includes interviews and commentary by Chris Connelly, Kelley Carter, Will Ganss, Elizabeth Wagmeister, Clayton Davis and Joe Zee. The special airs from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. PDT
- ABC News Live Presents…On the Red Carpet Live! Countdown to the Oscars: A similar program will stream on ABC New Live steamer from 1:30-3:30 PDT. The special pre-show will feature live red carpet interviews with celebrities, a look at the intersection and possible curse of couples nominated simultaneously for an Oscar, interviews with Lin Manuel Miranda and Ariana DeBose, red carpet fashion trends and more.
Didn’t get enough of the Oscars? You’re in luck. Even more coverage will be presented after the award show and the day after including:
- On the Red Carpet After the Awards: Presented by ABC7 in Los Angeles, the special airs right after the Academy Awards, recapping the awards, fashion and parties.
- On the Red Carpet After Dark: Presented by ABC7 in Los Angeles, this special continues the coverage at 9 p.m. (PDT)
- ABC Audio’s Close Up: Kelley Carter, will feature a roundtable discussion with Hollywood insiders who attended the award show. They’ll share behind-the-scenes stories from the evening and discuss the most memorable moments from the red carpet.
- Good Morning America: The show will offer full coverage featuring backstage interviews from the night before.
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.