Students react to Oscars comeback


Photo courtesy of IMDB

A poster advertising The 94th Academy Awards, or The Oscars. This prestigious award show has been around since 1928. Some predict it is losing traction and will soon become irrelevant to the general public.

The smell of buttery popcorn fills the air, followed by an exaggerated hush and the sound of a light switch flicking off. Your mom increases the TV volume to 30%, and you prepare your Twitter feed to follow the world’s live social media reactions.

“The Oscars” flashes across your family’s screen with the infamous Oscar statue posed beside it. The 94th Academy Awards has just begun, and you are eagerly waiting to see if your favorite movie will win Best Picture. 

The 2022 Oscars, which was hosted by Regina Hall, Wanda Sykes and Amy Schumer, garnered over 15 million views, less than half of the attention it had in 2019. Some believe it is beginning to get more attention as the nation exits the pandemic era and returns to the movies. Shortly before the pandemic began, in February 2020, the Oscars had over 23 million views. This number drastically decreased the following year, where it sat at just over 10 million. 

“I think it’s kind of a bounce back from Covid—we’re obviously not out of Covid—but last year [and 2020], there was kind of a lull in film [production]… That was a pretty big contributor to the record-low viewership, but I think now people are trying to come out of that,” junior Yael Rotman said.

However, some believe this was simply a temporary increase only because movie production started back up, but it won’t go back to its pre-Covid level of popularity.

“What used to be the glamorous night out, I don’t think people care about as much anymore,” theatre teacher Colleen McAdory said.

The sudden social media buzz about the Oscars is likely due to the Will Smith/Chris Rock debacle. Unsurprisingly, Chris Rock made a tasteless joke. This time, it targeted Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. In a quick, thoughtless response, Smith stepped up to the stage and slapped Rock, leaving the audience stunned.

“I think the display of that whole Will Smith [situation] shows the lack of civility,” McAdory said.

This has rendered an outcry on the internet, with many having conflicting opinions on the situation.

“A lot of people are saying that Will Smith needs to give back his Oscar, but if you think about it, there’s sexual predators who have won dozens of Oscars in the past and haven’t been asked to give them back,” junior Yael Rotman said. 

A plethora of 2022 Oscars-eligible films were released in the past year: “Coda,” a musical; “Dune,” a dystopian science fiction film; “The Power of the Dog,” a Western and “King Richard,” a sports drama. 

Numerous famous faces appeared on the red carpet, which is where stars show off their attire and get interviewed before the show: Zendaya, Timothée Chalamet, Nicole Kidman, Daniel Dae Kim, Sian Heder, Rachel Zegler, Kristen Stewart and many more.

“I loved Jessica Chastain’s look. It definitely suited her, especially the make-up… I didn’t like Kristen Stewart’s choice of shorts, but I know it was a statement,” Rotman said.

Beyonce opened the ceremony with a radiant, tennis-inspired production. She performed her song “Be Alive,” which was nominated for “Best Original Song” and featured in “King Richard,” in a tennis-ball green gown surrounded by dancers wearing the same shade on a bright, lime-green tennis court.

The Oscars have been slandered in recent years for only nominating and choosing “Oscar-bait” movies to win. “Oscar-bait” movies are those that fit into a slim category most likely to win. These include war and biographical films and extravagant costume dramas packed with Hollywood legends, such as Meryl Streep and Leonardo DiCaprio. Infamous “Oscar-bait” movies include “The Revenant,” “La La Land” and “Dune.”

“I think the Oscars have proven to be political rather than the true measure of the quality of film and acting… Probably, the SAG [Screen Actors Guild] Awards are more accurate because the people who are actually involved in the industry are the ones who vote for that, rather than this ‘academy,’” McAdory said.

Many believe that not only has the Oscars lost its allure, but it also commonly rewards films that they believe should not have won.

“I thought ‘Dune’ won too many times. As somebody who watched it, I didn’t think it was a bad movie, but it definitely didn’t deserve the sweep that it got,” Rotman said.

Despite numerous reservations, the Oscars awards ceremony still remains the day those involved in the film industry and its fans await all year and, for the time being, winning an Oscar seems to be the landmark award to win for someone working in the film industry.