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4 good reasons why the Oscars are just a waste of time

You can't spend hours watching people get obscure awards

24 February 2019 - 00:03 By yolisa mkele

Have you ever been to a party where everyone was in on the jokes except you? One of those annoying soirées where all the communication seemed to have been encrypted by an enigma machine and you didn't have an Alan Turing nearby to translate? Or even one populated by people who were edgy in university but have since been afflicted by responsibilities and a healthy bank balance but insist on reminding everyone that they're still "down"? If you haven't, switch your TV on at 3am and watch the 91st Oscars to see what you're missing.
Like just about every major award show in the world, The Oscars are struggling for ratings and relevance. The reasons are myriad but here are a few ...
1. LENGTH
In a recent rant about the Grammys, comedian Trevor Noah made an excellent point about award shows: Who in the name of all things modern wants to watch something as long as a State of the Nation Address?
According to Variety.com the producers of this year's are trying, and failing, to keep the show to a three-hour run time. There are surgeries that can be performed in that amount of time. There are not enough woke points in the world to make me sit through 2.5 hours of socially conscious acceptance speeches just so I can see Black Panther not win film of the year. Which brings up another point ...
2. STUPID AWARDS
If you find someone who knows who won last year's Oscar for best sound mixing, costume design or best live action short film, conscript them into your local pub quiz team immediately. There are arguably five or six categories that the general public wouldn't even bat an eyelid at and all those could be presented in 45 minutes.
For people who don't have a specific interest in it, wading through hours of content just to see Nadine Labaki potentially win the award for best foreign film makes little sense, especially since the latest season of John Oliver's Last Week Tonight just hit YouTube.
3. ACCESSIBILITY
Last year Guillermo Del Toro's The Shape of Water was the big winner. As far as anyone can tell it seems to be a movie about a lady who comes to know a fish-man, biblically. More importantly, one will struggle to find anyone who watched it.
The same can be said of the apparently lovely Call Me By Your Name.
The point is that as a general rule, the Oscars are elitist. Whatever wins is more often than not a reflection of the tastes of a group of people who almost bought Fyre Festival tickets and struggle to contain their excitement when publicly pronouncing French words.
To be fair, this year the Academy has tried to acknowledge movies that people actually like, like Black Panther, but now it just feels forced, like when your mother tells you something is lit in an effort to connect.
4. FORMAT
Shame. People, especially young ones, are interested in the Oscars. The problem is that, like most nonagenarians, the way they are going about things is wrong. There are too many distractions for anyone to spend an eighth of a day watching people get obscure awards.
The awards are also not designed to reflect the changed ways in which people consume media. Films are still required, among other things, to be screened on a movie theatre screen in Los Angeles to even be considered for an award. This smells archaic considering how much time and how much quality content one can find on YouTube, for instance.
Streaming services can get to the Oscars but then must jump through Oscars hoops just so an executive can wave their newly-won legitimacy in people's faces at the after party.
But hey, to each their own. I'm sure there are swathes of people who think the Academy Awards are vital to movie culture. The thing is just like last year and the year before that, the number of people who fit that bill will be just a little bit smaller...

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