It is one of Hollywood’s biggest nights, and a time where those in the film industry can make a big statement about social issues and how the industry is evolving to adapt to a changing world.
This year, however, it would seem that academy has reverted to type with a conservative list of nominees, lacking in racial and gender diversity, as well as innovation in film.
“There were certainly figures who might have been considered – Greta Gerwig as director comes instantly to mind, “ explains Dr. Scott Henderson, resident pop culture expert at Trent and dean and head of Trent Durham GTA. “The list of nominees is filled with familiar names and overlooks a lot of innovative work.”
“Hollywood also still seems wedded to the notion of traditional theatrical screening,” he adds, noting that tried-and-true studios are winning out over Netflix and other digital disrupters, “Roma was robbed last year by the mediocre Green Book and I suspect that we may seem more of the same this year. I prefer Marriage Story over The Irishman, but both were left out in the cold at the Golden Globes and it may be more of the same here.”
When can we expect Hollywood to change their ultra-conservative ways? “At some point the tide will have to turn, and Hollywood will have to accept that a film made for streaming can and should compete with those on the big screen,” Dr. Henderson explains. “This year I can’t see that shift happening.”
In the meantime, Dr. Henderson sees that the Oscars are struggling to stay relevant with viewers stating that, despite making changes, including moving the date up, the awards show needs to think about what audiences are looking for in order to better resonate. “By the time the Oscars had rolled around at the end of February/early March, audiences were ‘awarded’ out and the show was losing viewers and significance,” says Dr. Henderson. “The predictability of the nominees and the way Hollywood seems increasingly out of touch with contemporary audiences may mean that makes no difference at all.”