Almost every year since I have been old enough to remember, I have watched the Oscars without fail. I would even take a day off school or work to do so, because it always falls on a Monday morning here in Malaysia. Most of the time, it was a kind of ritual with my mom– we’d watch it together, then go out for lunch and discuss our favourite moments.
Remember Halle Berry’s incredibly moving acceptance speech in 2002 when she became the first African-American actress to win Best Actress? Or the big, bold tributes to the Time’s Up movement last year?
To me, that’s exactly what makes the Academy Awards so amazing. Beyond being the ultimate celebration of the magic of film and the entertainment industry, they are also never short of moments and highlights that seem to reach beyond the realm of entertainment.
But this year, there’s no kind way to say it. The lead up to year’s awards ceremony was disappointing. Here’s why:
1. It wasn’t broadcast in Malaysia
I began to suspect something when we weren’t emailed the usual press coverage details by local channels. A message from Astro confirmed what we’d been dreading: The Academy Awards would not be broadcast in Malaysia. “The Oscars will not be broadcast in South East Asia with one exception in Thailand,” said a representative from Astro. “We are equally disappointed that none of the regional channels were able to reach an agreement with the rights holders but understand that the niche appeal of the Oscars with declining viewership did not justify the costs for this property.”
Not only do we miss out on the live broadcast, but there are no delayed reruns either, which means the only parts of the ceremony you’ll be able to watch are the snippets you find online. Disappointing indeed.
2. There was no host
This issue cropped up way before the ceremony aired, and you may have heard about how Kevin Hart stepped down from his role as Oscars host after his offensive, homophobic tweets came to light. With the Academy unable to to find a replacement, this meant the ceremony went hostless for the first time in over 30 years. While noone would have wanted Kevin Hart to continue as host, the Academy’s inability to find anyone able or willing to host left a air of wariness hanging over the lead up. And that’s not the only questionable aspect of the Oscars this year.
3. They decided not to air some awards categories… and backpedalled
The Oscars this year didn’t have the smoothest run up, and they were met with the most outcry when they made the controversial decision to cut certain awards for a number of categories from the live broadcast. The Academy planned for the awards for Cinematography, Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, and Live Action Short – ridiculous of course, and quite frankly an insult to the hard work that goes into making the films what they are. After significant outcry, the Academy went back on their decision and aired all categories live. But the damage was done, and if you were undecided about how you felt about the Oscars, that might have been the last straw.
But for all the hiccups and disappointment in the lead up, the ceremony redeemed itself. 2018 was a year for great change in Hollywood, and the awards reflected that as well.