The Oscars have been in some trouble for several years now, with the ratings diminishing year-on-year. The Academy has taken several different approaches when trying to turn around its fortunes – controversially, last year this involved moving many of the awards off-air in a bid to shorten the ceremony.
After last year’s debacle, in which Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage while he was presenting, some may have thought that Rock would host this year. But instead, the Academy have gone for a safe (and some might even say boring) choice – Jimmy Kimmel. To be fair, the Oscars hosting gig has become something of a poisoned chalice, and we don’t know who was asked and turned it down.
“Being invited to host the Oscars for a third time is either a great honour or a trap,” Kimmel amusingly said in a statement. “Either way, I am grateful to the Academy for asking me so quickly after everyone good said no.” This is Kimmel’s third time hosting, after he previously did so in 2017 and 2018. 2017 was the infamous La La Land and Moonlight mix-up year.
Since 2000, the Oscars have had between 30 million and 46 million viewers every year. The last time it had over 40 million viewers was in 2014. By 2020, this had dropped to 23 million, and in 2021 – there were only 10 million viewers. The producers of the show have tried many different strategies to counteract this, which seem to mainly involve ill-advised attempts to draw in a younger audience.
Last year’s ceremony was criticised by film-lovers for constant jokes about how lame Oscars movies are, and playing up to the perception that the films (which are meant to be being celebrated!) and the ceremony itself are long, slow and boring. People who are into the Oscars like it when history and tradition is acknowledged – so a highlight was Lady Gaga presenting with Liza Minelli.
By pushing some categories out of the main ceremony and constantly pursuing a young, hip audience, many believe that the Oscars are losing their core audience. The early announcement of the 2023 host – unlike this year’s very late announcement – is clearly the Academy trying to say that we’re back in a safe pair of hands. Let’s hope the whole ceremony lives up to this pledge.
We’ll be hoping that the drama stays in the movies next year, check out our guide to the best drama movies.