This week we're caught up in Oscars fever and diving into the comments about this year's awards. After last year's drama, we are reviewing the most talked about moments and asking, have the Oscars finally recaptured their magic?
We discuss the comeback four - Michelle Yeoh, Brendan Fraser, Ke Huy Quan, Jamie Lee Curtis - and why everyone in the online multiverse is catching emotions seeing outsiders win. Plus we will be looking at some odd viral moments, including that awkward Hugh Grant and Ashely Graham interview. Then asking why have the Oscars been in a death spiral?
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In 1973, the godfather won big at the Oscars, with over 85 million Americans tuning in to watch the ceremony, making it the most watched show in the awards history.
50 years later, and the Oscars are on the brink of cancellation, with the conversations being more about how the awards have lost their cultural relevance, and who they are not representing,
Then there is the collapsing viewing figures, just 10 million viewers in 2021.
And let's not get into the dodgy nomination strategies and lobbying for votes.
Viewers are calling it boring, extravagant and out of touch, preferring to consume important moments on social media and stream films when they become available.
So who exactly are the Oscars for? And did the 2023 Awards save them? Let's go straight to the comments.
So Sarah, did you watch the Oscars when you were growing up? And you know, I'm curious, what did they mean to you?
I did. I mean, I was a huge film fan. I think at the time, I wanted to be a director at one point, so I always used to stay up and watch. I'd force…it was at the time when you only had one TV in the house, so I had to fight my parents for it. And you know, the glamour, the gowns, the awards, it was, it was riveting. And then you'd get the magazines the following week with all the beautiful dresses, and I’d just pour over them. And it was a really big thing. And I think I was also, you'd always imagine that one day, you could win an Oscar. I think that was a very, very big aspirational thing. How about you?
Oh, yeah, I mean, I could almost give exactly the same answer, you know. And I, you know, I was obsessed with the cinema and films, and especially in the early 90s. And, and it was quite rare, wasn't it to see sort of film stars in the wild, as I like to call it. I could never find a way to actually watch it so I'd be forced to sort of try and watch the recaps or people come streaming into the after parties on breakfast TV in the UK. And I remember once I got, well, I'm sure I say this, but I got a little bit told off in one job when I was about 21 for turning up late. So why are you late Lisa?I said, as I was watching, I had to watch the Oscars, as I’m rocking up at 11 o’clock for my call centre job.
I would say the Oscars have had a really rough few years. And I think it's best summed up in this quote that we found in The Guardian, which said “perhaps the Golden Age, or even the grubby gold lame age are simply behind us in an age where award ceremonies are mainly fodder to be broken down into various viral highlights.”
Yeah, and that's what I was thinking is they've definitely become about those viral moments. And one of the big ones for me was, you know, Ricky Gervais and his 2020 Golden Globes kind of appearance. And you know, it's the last time he was going to host it so he really went for it with his speech. And those last lines, sort of, sort of, they stay in my mind. He says “if you do win an award tonight, don't use it as a platform to make a political speech, you're in no position to lecture the public about anything, you know nothing about the real world”. And, you know, I've watched this so many times, and my partner is not into films, and he's watched this so many times. And I just think you go on Twitter, and you look at the reaction after he did that speech, and still till today, people are asking Ricky, when are you going to come back to the Oscars, are you going to present it? And it's sort of strange that it's gone from like, the heights of the sort of Hollywood that we grew up with in the 90s, and then you've got it like now it's an opportunity to sort of humiliate and ridicule these celebrities. What do you think about all this?
People loved Ricky Gervais’ take, it was like a giant celebrity roast. The Oscars had become increasingly self congratulatory, and preachy and I think, with Ricky Gervais bringing them down to size people absolutely loved it, because you're looking at some of the most powerful, most privileged people in the world and, and people are at home thinking, oh, you know, there's a certain unfairness to that, and to see them get a little bit of a ribbing. You know, there's quite a lot of schadenfreude and, and people just like it.
One of the things the Brits do quite well is we sort of take on that American earnestness, you know, and sort of bring it down a little bit. I mean, that was why I think one of the viral moments from 2023 was Hugh Grant being interviewed by Ashley Graham. And all it was was Ashley Graham,interviewing him and him being a bit standoffish and I was even joking that he just actually was being a bit British. But some of the comments were “what the heck was his problem? Stay home or decline the interview? If you can't be kind and answer a few questions”. Which to be fair, I kind of agreed with it. He came off a bit sort of rude. And then the other said “he wasn't rude at all. She was a terrible interviewer. Her questions were cringe. I think Hugh Grant was being at minimum kind and really patient.” I mean, did you see this clip?
I did see that clip. And this isn't the first time that Ashley Graham has come under fire for her interview style on the red carpet and making people feel a bit awkward and it definitely felt like she didn't have a good sense of reading the room. You know, she ploughed on even when he clearly wasn't into it. On the other hand, this is really part of the industry, is you have to sell yourself, you have to be polite. Just because she's asking really rubbish questions doesn't mean that you have to be rude. So I don't think it was very gallant. I wouldn't have done it myself. But I do think there is sometimes a lost in translation between Americans and Brits, especially as we love our sarcasm.
So going back to the Oscars and the dark place they sort of find themselves. You had the whole Will Smith situation that happened last year.
Which I still can't believe. And apparently what happened last year with the slap, it caused Twitter's highest ever recorded activity. So what do you think that incident did for the Oscars, and sort of setting us up for this year?
Well, everyone's watching and waiting and seeing what happens. And it was such a huge thing. I remember. It was it was incredible. And I saw one quote that was hilarious, and it said “Will Smith should be allowed to attend the Oscars and slap one celebrity every year. But nobody knows who it will be or when ratings will improve by 3,000%”. It tuned people back into the Oscars. I mean, the Oscars were in the news story for weeks after that slap. And obviously, it was horrendous. And there was a lot of backlash. But it really did. I don't know if people are just waiting to see who gets slapped this year. And maybe that brought people back to the plate.
Yeah. And I know that they put a whole crisis team in place, didn't they? The Oscars. But ultimately, people were saying online that the Oscars have sort of lost their way. As someone said on Twitter “the Oscars were only relatively cool back when movie stars were relatively cool, which was before they were in your face 365 days a year.” And then someone replied “good point. I remember when it was a big deal to see someone famous out of their roles. Now you can argue with him on Twitter. Kind of spoils the magic.”
Yeah. And I found a similar comment that said “when I was a kid, the Oscars were pure magic and a great way pre internet to learn about new films”. There definitely seems to be a very different relationship that people have to the Oscars now compared to when we were growing up. And I think technology has changed everything, that streaming has changed everything.
So I think they had a big challenge on their hand. The CEO of the Oscars was talking about how they had to resuscitate it after last year's shock. But the big question is, did they achieve that?
Well, that's what's so interesting, because I didn't have necessarily high hopes, but a lot of people, I mean, they haven't been sure about the Oscars for the last couple of years. But it seems that this year, many were pleasantly surprised. For example, I found a Reddit comment that said “I was prepared to snark watch the Oscars this year. Instead, I cried five times. Did the Oscars suddenly get good again?” And it definitely, like the Oscars put the emotion and the love of film back to centre stage, which I think is what they were always about and what they should always be about. And there was another comment that said “I'm really pleased with the award season this year, there was more happiness than years past”. And for you, Lisa, how important was it this return to the feelgood sort of aspirational version of the Oscars?
You know, I really think that the last few years and how hard they've been, I think people are longing for this connection, you know, something joyful, hopeful, something to give us an escape from all the hard realities of everyday life. And I suppose in a way I want permission, and maybe others do too, to feel big emotions and genuine emotions, and not just be a cynical, snarky kind of person, just ribbing everything all the time, because it can come off a bit bitter as well.
Exactly. I think we all have that inner child within us that just wants to believe and be moved. But as we become adults, we're taught that oh, that's not really very cool. So you have to do things ironically, or sarcastically. But the Oscars 2023, I mean, it's been declared the Year of the comeback. And all four acting categories were won by veteran performers who've never been nominated before. And many of the winners were what they termed sentimental favourites, people who had backstories, we were really rooting for them to win as people, not just as the roles that they played. And I think this was summed up by a tweet that said “they may not all be your personal picks, but one thing I do love about this year's acting winners quartet at the Oscars, is how they're all actors who have been counted out or shutout at various points in their careers. And they came back against the odds to come out on top”. And I think that brings us to the woman of the night Michelle Yeoh, the first Asian woman and the only second woman of colour to be honoured as the best actress in the awards 95 year history. And that was following Halle Berry in 2002. And I don't know if you saw there was a photo of the two of them together, which was quite historic. And she won for the film Everything Everywhere All At Once.
Yeah, I mean, that was a huge winner on the night, wasn't it? Have you actually seen it?
I actually tried the other day in anticipation of the Oscars and doing this podcast. And I struggled. I really wanted to like it and watch it and I got I think about 40 minutes in. And maybe I was tired, I don't know, maybe I was not in the right mood. And I do love Michelle Yeoh, and I'm so glad she won. But I couldn't get into that film personally. Maybe it really picked up after I stopped watching so I don't know. I mean, how about you? Have you seen it?
It's funny you said that because you're about the third person who said this to me. A lot of people said that they couldn't get through that first hour you know, because the pace is incredibly frenetic. And it's very visual, a bit hyper stimulating, and incredibly creative. And I thought it was a bit like, oh, and then sort of towards the end, I started to get it. And I really realised that it’s about a mother trying to save her daughter. So it's interesting because I went on the Financial Times, and one of their top comments was saying that “this must be a generational divide, because I just couldn't get into this film. I just gave up.” And you know, someone said “everything everywhere is one of the deepest and touching movies I've ever watched. Congratulations, you earned it.” And then someone said “one of the few films I've ever stopped watching half way through. It was so terrible, in my point of view.” So, very divisive. And I'm finding that sort of echoed across all the comments.
Well, you know, when you mentioned the generational divide, that sort of makes sense to me, because you know, how 3D films or whatever have come in, in our in our lifetime, and people are like, Yay. They give me such a headache, and almost travel sickness, trying to watch them it’s too much movement too quickly. And at the same time, you feel some of these classic films, especially foreign films like Tarkovsky or those ones that are all about a slow pace people call boring. And I think it's just that the younger generation, they have information so quickly, they're not used to patience, and vice versa, when it's coming at you so quick, we don't have the, I'm not ready for it. I was getting a bit of a headache.
That's what, I know some really weird scenes in it. And I've seen a lot of films in my time. But one of the things that someone said, and I kind of think, oh my gosh, maybe I'm getting super old, because although I really wish we could go back to the days of like Chinatown and the Godfather and Lawrence of Arabia, you know. Like you said, where there was those really long paced stories, you know. And it was a momentous thing for Michelle Yeoh, when a lot of people on Twitter have been highlighting what a giant long overdue leap forward this has been based on the history of the Oscars. And I'm just going to read this tweet out. “It took 95 years to recognise an Asian actress, Viola Davis said - the only thing that separates women of colour from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win for roles that are simply not there”. And that's something you hear quite a lot on Twitter.
Definitely. And you hear it in relation to women and people of colour winning. There's also been a similar sort of discussion around the female directors and the lack of directors because when the nominations were announced, there were no female directors nominated this year. And so there was that sort of hashtag of Oscars so male and and even Jimmy Kimmel made a joke about “oh, James Cameron didn't get nominated for Avatar, what did they think he was a woman?” I think you should give the award to the best person, the best role at the time. But if people aren't getting the opportunities to act in those roles, they're not going to get nominated. So that's, that's, I think, where it comes in. And in her speech, I mean, I found it very moving.
That she references how important representation is and the need for role models. And this is something we talked about in the fat shaming episode as well. She said “for all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight. This is a beacon of hope and possibilities. This is proof that dream big and dreams do come true. And ladies, don't let anyone tell you you're ever past your prime. Never give up.” I mean, how inspirational is that? I just loved it.
Yeah, I shared her clips saying that on all my social media, because I really loved it. And can I just I feel really bad for saying I didn't realise she was 60 I thought she was 51. I don't know where I picked that up. So it was like, wow, she's having her moment. Yeah. I mean, who's not wanted to win an Oscar? I mean, even me, you know, I was thinking when I was a little girl of eight, you're looking in the mirror going, I've won the Oscar. And you know, I think adults even need to hear these messages of positivity, you know, that you can have second, third, fourth, fifth acts in your life.
You know, I think that's an amazing reminder that women are never past their prime. I fully believe that. And she's 60, like you said, and it's been speculated that this particular reference to being past your prime was aimed at Don Lemon, who's a CNN reporter. Because, I mean, there was a tweet that said “was this a jab at Don Lemon for his recent comments about women being past their prime after their 40s”. And that's something that has been said by a few names or you know, it's a common trope.
Yeah. And that and that's something we're coming on to next, well, next week's episode and about how older women struggle to kind of be cast in Hollywood and ageing publicly.
What's great is Michelle Yeoh, won at 60. And Jamie Lee Curtis, who won best supporting actress, she was also 64 this year. But going back to Michelle, my favourite part of her speech was actually when she said “I have to dedicate this to my mom, all the moms in the world because they're really the superheroes. And without them, none of us would be here tonight. She's 84 And I'm taking this home to her.” I just thought that was so lovely and appreciating mums definitely seem to be a theme of the night especially for the Everything Everywhere cast. Ke Huy Quan, I don't know if I've said that right. I really hope I have. He also did that. And he was sobbing as he started his acceptance speech and he said, “My mom is 84 years old and she's at home watching. Mom, I just want an Oscar”. And I've watched that more than once now and I teared up every time I watch it, and I think maybe, because I appreciate my mum so much. And I think it's really important that, they're so unsung, aren't they? Yeah, my mum just tidies up around after us and we just don't even notice it as unpaid work. But I just think you know, that’s something lovely.
Yeah. And I've been already a little bit tearful, because that's what that power of that film had, you know, my mum supported me incredibly, through tough times. And she's her sort of unconditional love. You know, there's a scene where there's two rocks at the end, and they're slowly getting towards the end of the cliff, and my mum was there on the cliff edge, you know, going with me.
One of the things I think I found very powerful about the film and the Oscars is that it's allowing you to feel these big emotions and like you said, you know, seeing Ke Huy Quan, like, again, I hope I've not said his name wrong. You know, you could see so much joy and genuine emotion. I mean, he’s still to me, so similar to the young, excitable kid in the Goonies and the Temple of Doom, yes. And that brings us to the theme of his speech, which was about the American dream. And he said “My journey started on a boat, I spent a year in a refugee camp, and somehow I ended up here on Hollywood's biggest stage. They say stories like this can only happen in the movies, I cannot believe it's happening to me. This, this is the American dream”. And and, you know, this is the thing about his speech. I'm British, and I believe in the American dream. It's just so compelling. And the idea that you can be anyone and go after your dreams, and you know, Hollywood, the Oscars are just one of the best examples of how your dreams can come true. And so for me, this was just pure joy.
Absolutely. And I think that's exactly what films are for as well to give us hope. But what's so amazing is that he talks about nearly giving up at points. And he said “I owe everything to the love of my life. My wife, Echo, who month after month, year after year, for 20 years, told me that one day, my time will come. Dreams are something you have to believe in. I almost gave up on mine. To all of you out there. Please keep your dreams alive. Thank you. Thank you so much for welcoming me back. I love you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” And that's just you know, that's the other thing as well, we, we see the comeback now and we forget about what it feels like to be like he said month after month, year after year for 20 years, what it feels like in that moment, when you have no idea that there is going to be a payoff, and the doggedness that it takes and the hardness that they have to go through. I mean, how did that makes you feel?
And you know, what I was seeing online is a lot of people saying, You know what, it's just nice to have permission to just feel like hope and joy, and go for your dreams. And it's a powerful message, as we're going to go into this in our next episode that a lot of us can feel like we're over past a certain point. And that Hollywood, you know, so youth obsessed, I still think it is it can give opportunities, and people are going to push to still make opportunities, we're not just going to fade away.
Definitely. And I think these stories resonate so much with people because as humans, we love an inspirational stories, and they give us hope, and they, they help us find the reserves, we need to follow our dreams, especially in those moments just as we wanting to give up. I mean, they touch everybody. I personally think there was a YouTube comment that said, best Oscar speech I've ever heard, so inspirational. In fact, can we give him another speech just for this speech alone? He earned his Oscar, he earned this comeback. And yes, I will keep my dreams alive. And another one that said probably one of the best Oscars in history. We got Brendan and Ke Hey, truly a spectacle of perseverance and determination.
Here's me giving you a little Yeah. Yeah.
I just love these stories I have to say
Absolutely. And like you just mentioned, the other big winner of the night was Brendan Fraser, who won the Best Actor for The Whale. I mean, you said you went to see the whale just a few days ago. I'm so curious. What was your review? I've held off from hearing until now.
Yes, I mean, I went Sunday morning at 10am.
Hold on. Can we just stop there with going to the cinema at 10am in the morning? What's that like? Can you get popcorn?
I'm sure you can. I didn't want it. I smuggled in my coffee and my, my croissant and I think there was only three of us in the film. But yeah, I wanted to see it specifically for this and because obviously it's so personal to me as someone who's dealt with morbid obesity. Like so, Darren Aronofsky is one of my favourite directors. Requiem for a Dream is probably one of the best films in my opinion. But like Requiem for a Dream, I don't want to watch it every day. You have to be in the right mood. And I've noticed and I don't know if you've noticed this, I used to be such a cinephile. I used to stay up to date with all the arthouse films, go to the cinema. I realised I don't remember the last time I've been to the cinema and watch something on a big screen as an event. And I noticed as well I've shied away from the serious films. I do want to watch them but it's always like, I'll do it when I'm in a better mood when I'm less tired. And I tend to now just consume sitcoms or sort of light hearted fare, bingeable, forgettable stuff, almost as an escapism. And I put off watching the ones that have given me emotions, because almost like, well, I've got enough emotions in my daily life, don't really need to trigger any more. I'll do that when I've got the reserves, and then I never seem to have the reserves. So I'm so glad that I was made to go and see this film.
I think it's a very good point, and you see this on Spotify, they curate content around your mood. And I think sometimes my partner would like to watch really serious, heavy hitting films quite a lot like Manchester by Sea. And I'm like, I'm not in the mood for that. And I delay it. Because I have to be in the mindset. So I think you hit on a very good point about basically Oscar worthy films is that often you feel like oh my god, they're going to be quite a trauma to go through.
It was so emotional. And again, there aren't those roles where you see this particular story, someone who was morbidly obese as a protagonist, who just isn't a joke. And I cried a lot through it. I mean, I really did. I was basically watching a version of myself that I could have become if I hadn't turned it around a little bit earlier than he did.
It had some controversy around it didn’t it?
It definitely did. I mean, Fraser said it's the most demanding role of his long career. And, and it has been one of his most controversial, despite the fact that he did work with the obesity Action Coalition. And he wanted to make sure that his performances, Charlie was done with respect and empathy. That, for some critics, that wasn't enough, they didn't like that he used a so called fat suit. And they thought it still stigmatised those with larger body types, which was exactly what he was trying to avoid. But it's a very difficult thing. Because if you think I mean, how would you get a character like that the only time that I've seen someone like that, in a main film was in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, and they actually found the actress on a I think she was on a reality a daytime TV show as someone who was stuck in her house and, and the writer contacted her and asked her to be in the film. But it'd be so hard to find someone who could fulfil that, that role for this film type. I mean, as someone who has been not quite as big as that character, but definitely morbidly obese, I was actually okay with him in this specific role wearing prosthetics. There are other films where I don't feel as comfortable and it feels like a joke, but I was sort of, he really did seem to be invested in and he it's been a massive personal project for him. I mean, he's been through what you want to call his dark night of the soul as well. I mean, you must remember him he was huge in the 90s and early 2000s, watched Airheads, Tarzan, all those ones, and then he stepped away from the limelight and started to disappear. And it turns out, he's had multiple surgeries, he went through a divorce, his mother died. And then in 2018, he finally spoke out about a sexual assault that happened in 2003, where he talked about how the former president of the Hollywood foreign press Association, Philip Berk, he made the allegation that he sexually assaulted him. And that led to him going into a depression and a decline and not wanting to be around the movie industry. And he also believes that he was blacklisted as a result of that. I mean, have you followed this comeback story by Brendan Fraser and some people have been calling it the” Brenaissance”
The” Brenaissance” ?
Yeah, I know they love a good phrase.
And I feel a bit guilty for saying this, but only really remember him from the mummy, and just sort of being in those hunk roles and a bit like you said a bit of comedy. Yeah. And he disappeared. And I did hear about these allegations he made and he sounded like he had a really rough time because he got so so. so absorbed with the me to movement, you forget that a lot of young men were suffering on the casting couch. And I God knows what they're going through.
Yeah, yeah. But I mean, not everyone was happy about his when someone on Twitter said “and that's kind of the problem to me. We should focus more on performances themselves and on personal circumstances, or if not annual acting awards will completely lose its meaning.” And another comment was “being counted out should have zero to do with anything. Best Performance should win. Austin and Angela were robbed.” And that's referring us to Austin Butler for Elvis and Angela Bassett, who was in Wakanda forever. Yeah, and
I just want to do a little side note that I do think Austin Butler did an amazing job in Elvis. And so it's difficult when you get very invested in one actor and one film, especially if it's mean something for you. And like you said, this brings us to Angela Bassett, who was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress for Wakanda forever, but a lot of anger came from Jamie Lee Curtis winning over Angela Bassett. “me on my way to do Jamie Lee Curtis is Oscar to give it to Angela Bassett”. And “where is he when you need him to bumrush the stage?” I think Kanye West by the way you Oh my God, what an image of him running to the stage. And I mean, that was quite funny. But chaos. I mean, it's interesting how support is the one nominee can often focus that anger towards the other winner. And this, I think was exacerbated by the fact that you know they really honed in on Angela Bassett's reaction. And they do loads of sort of, sort of playbacks of it yesterday all across social means that she looked really crestfallen. But this is nothing new. You know, they did it a few years. Go to Glenn Close, she didn't win her award.
o, you know, she didn't hide her disappointment. And she didn't clap for Jamie Lee Curtis. I mean, what did you think?
Oh, yeah, I saw that. And it's always hard to tell because you're getting a sort of like little clip and it could be taken out of context, you know, and people have different opinions of this some called her out, they said, “All you saying Angela Bassett should have won over Jamie Lee, her reaction was poor sportsmanship”. But then on the other hand, so for example, in the Daily Mail, someone said, “she's entitled to be disappointed, of course, she'd be gutted, the media has a great way of only showing what they want you to see, remember that”, There's just this weird social contract about how you're supposed to behave when you win. And when you lose, you're supposed to be a good winner and a good loser. And, you know, there's, people have done that thing about have you got your acceptance and your condolence face ready, and they talk about good sportsmanship, and I think that's actually quite a big thing in British culture, maybe even more so than American. That's what's great, I suppose about these live award ceremonies, you’re catching people in the moment, actors who normally are very curated, they can do lots of retakes, and they're caught in the moment at an emotional time. And I think everyone's always sat there waiting with their popcorn, like, what are they going to do, are we going to see the mask slip. And I think we love that it's true. And then we want to, like, bash them for maybe having a natural emotional reaction. I think there's a difference between, you know, of course, you'd be disappointed, you might feel a bit gutted, but then refusing to clap is a little bit…
But it's also like, she also then has to manage all those expectations people put on her, you know, Angela Bassett, must be awful. Like the rest of the nigh,t they have to go around that rest of the night sort of making other people feel okay, that they didn't win. And that you were robbed. I mean, someone said about doing the awards anyway, that it's really gruelling as an actor going through the awards process. You know, they really push them really hard and they have a tough schedule, and they're super scrutinised. So, you know, a lot of it, I think, is about how, like you said, how do you handle the whole campaigning? And how do you handle the reacting? It's just a whole performance in itself.
Um, one of the things I wanted to make a special mention about with Sarah Polley, who I followed for years, she was very cool 90s indies actress, and then she sort of went into directing and one of my favourite films is “Away with her”, wiith Julie Christie, one of Julie Christie's last big performances, I think she also got Oscar nominated for it in around the early 2000s. So she won an award Sarah Polley, for Best Adapted Screenplay for women talking, and she sort of rocked up the red carpet or the champagne carpet, and this year, and she had on a tuxedo and when she claimed the award, she said, “I want to thank the Academy for not being mortally offended by the words women and talking being so close together like that”
That is brilliant
She's got a great attitude. So I said, I'm just going to mention it because I think she's one to watch. And what was interesting. She didn't actually when I went on Twitter, she doesn't have a lot of comments about her just like yeah, well done. You've done a great job. Someone but did mention like, why are you wearing that? Like a man? Like where are you wearing a tuxedo? Like that's really offensive?
Yeah, like you're so you're supposed to be you're supposed to be eye fodder for us, and you haven't conformed. So we're not happy.
Exactly. Even though because she said she's too hot to be wearing an outfit like that. So yeah.
Oh, god. What? Like she wasn't hot, then we should cover them on. Yeah, yeah. No, I mean, we can't go down that rabbit hole. But yeah.
So let's go back to the sort of quest that we set ourselves at the start of the episode, which was who are the Oscars are for ? And I did a little bit of research, you know, looking into how the Oscars started. And they were sort of set up by Louis B. Mayer, you know, the studio mogul. He was the head of MGM 27 years. And he actually created them as a tactic to distract the talent from their paychecks, and keep them in line. And he said this, I found the best way to handle movie-makers was to hang medals all over them. If I got them cups and awards, they'd kill themselves produced whatever I wanted. That's why the Academy Award was created. Wow, take a moment to reflect on that. The Oscars still drive a phenomenal amount of conversation about films. But it's also really important to remember, it has also huge financial rewards.
It definitely does. I mean, for an actor, it can transform your career. Even just getting a nomination can catapult you to bigger roles. I mean, they have the whole Academy Award nominee on the top of the DVD. Yeah, these days. A movie analyst Steven Follows I mean, he calculated in his 2015 study that the average salary increase for actors winning Best Actor is 3.9 million compared with half a million for Best Actress which that's quite an interesting disparity there.
So yes, and you know, let's talk about the films themselves you know, which the studios can can spend millions on campaigning or lobbying and you know, with a water fascists and you know, all comes with it, and you know, if they win an award or film can significantly boost ticket sales according to Comscore in the past films like 1917, Hidden Figures and Silver Linings Playbook, which were merely nominated for an award generated 50% more of the domestic box office revenue after scoring a nomination.
Which brings me to comments about conspicuous consumption, which we know we all love the razzle dazzle of the Oscars, and Hollywood? Well, I think we do. But there's also like a bit of a push back to how much sort of wealth you can see on display. One of the comments was to Kate Hudson's video, which she just posted this morning, it's Tuesday morning after the Oscars, and she's been brought trays of jewellery, having her hair and makeup done, and you know, people are fawning over her like Marie Antoinette. And someone wrote underneath “here I am worrying about how to get my sixth graders to sit up pay attention while working three jobs to pay my rent. Teaching was the wrong choice, and then crying face”. And this is the most like comment, by the way, then someone replied, as a kindergarten teacher was thinking the same, how wonderful it would feel to be taken care of like this for just one day. I couldn't even imagine.
I mean, it's interesting, because, you know, even the phrase conspicuous consumption, it feels like what we're judging is the fact that they're doing it in front of us, almost like it's alright for them to have all this money and stuff, as long as it's behind closed doors. I mean, someone's always gonna have more than us, right?
We're going through the cost of living crisis. It's a tough time. So I think that disparity, that disparity is really exaggerated at the moment. But it, but it's weird because if you think about it, people love consuming all this content. There's a sort of voyeuristic element, you know, do you remember MTV Cribs? Yeah, everyone wants to see how the other half lives. And maybe they're doing it because they want to aspire to it and dream and hope, or they just like pretty things, or they want to hate watch and be like, well, fuck you, you've got it better. And it's unfair, I don't know. But we love it either way, it is very popular.
And let's not deny that's a huge part of the reason people watch the Oscars is for the fashion moments. And for the whole circus around the glamour. And I mean, ultimately, the awards are meant to be about rewarding excellence and artistry. But I really think they're about making money.
Yeah, well, listen, the film industry is it's like anything else. It's an industry. If we can get something out of it at the same time, that's brilliant. And I do think individuals, individual filmmakers, and actors go into it sometimes for pure creative reasons. They want to make art and move people and cheer people but the industry itself that they have to work within, it's entirely for money.
So did the Oscars 2023 save it from oblivion or being cancelled?
Big question. I mean, after a really steady decline in viewing numbers, and a generally growing irritation in how serious and preachy the award ceremonies were getting, this year's Oscar did seem to be a step back in the right direction. I mean, there was a return to lightheartedness, genuine emotion and hope. And I think that's what a lot of people have been looking for. I mean, as one commentator said “I feel a deep craving for these lingering shared experiences. Massively watched TV specials don't seem so stupid and devoid of meaning anymore”. And this shift towards putting the heart back into the Oscars, I think it paid off, and especially in terms of viewing figures. Ratings for the 2023 Academy Awards, they hit a three-year high as viewership grew by more than 2 million people. This was the year of the comeback, not just for the winners, but even for the awards themselves. And let's face it, who doesn't love a good comeback story? I mean, we all want someone or something to root for because when we hear about someone who's struggled who's persevered and overcome the odds to pursue their dreams, it fans the flames of our own hopes and dreams. And it gives us the courage to believe that life is full of possibility and wonder. And after the last few years, that is something we could all do with more of
Yeah, I love that. And, you know, I just want to end it because we said we were going to do our own special awards. So I've got three questions for you. So Sarah, what was your best comment?
So just in a more lighthearted manner, there was one I saw that just put things in perspective. It said “Rihanna’s unborn child has already been to the Super Bowl and the Oscars and you can't even get Taylor Swift tickets”. I'm like, Yeah, true.
That's so true. And what was your best dress?
Well, I don't know if you saw it, but Cara Delevigne wore this beautiful, one shouldered bright red Elie Saab gown and it just brought that old Hollywood glamour and to be honest, I just love a bit of red. I think I just love a vamp. And then at the Vanity Fair after party, Ana de Armas, she wore a Louis Vuitton dress but it looked like a sort of Tiffany stained glass window and I really liked that I do love some Tiffany stained glass.
I thought that was a work of art. And do you have a best moment?
But you know what? I'm really torn between the different speeches but I think for me Ke Huy Quan when he looked into the into the camera and just said “mom, I got an Oscar for you”. He had such genuine excitement and joy, like a little child on Christmas morning. And he wasn't trying to be composed. Like I'm so cool. Oh yes. This is wonderful. But um, you know, you know, it was very much like, oh my god, this is amazing. And let's just squeeze all the juice and the joy out of life. And I think that was just so beautiful. And I actually I've watched it more than once. I've teared up every time I've watched it. Yeah, yeah. And so over to your awards for you. What was the best comment?
Well, the best comment for me, was a little bit more emotional, and it says, I need to go to bed. But keep thinking about how the Oscars best picture is about an Asian girl who searches across the multiverse for a version of her mom, who would understand and accept her and I just can't stop crying. Yeah.
And what was your best dress?
Well, I'm completely copying you. I'm gonna say Cara's red dress was absolutely showstopping, like you said, it just really brought that Hollywood glamour. And then for the Vanity Fair party. I really liked Sophie Turner's dress, I don't know there's something about that shimmery black number. I really enjoyed that.
And what was your best moment?
I think it was in Harrison Ford hugged Ken Huy Quan. I mean, he just really brought me back to my childhood. I watched Temple of Doom so many times. Yeah, I think there is something about it's nice to see people you grew up with succeeding. Yeah, definitely.
Yeah. And then nostalgia. I mean, we all love to be transported back to our childhoods, especially happy memories.
Now, is that the music coming on from Emily, she's trying to get us off the stage. Ah,
oh, I think it is. I think our 15 minutes are up. So we're gonna say goodbye to you for now. We'll see you next week. See
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