It’s time for changes for the Oscars


The film “Get Out” was a horror film nominated in the Best Musical or Comedy category at the Academy Awards in 2018.

By Hayley DeCicco, Staff Writer

The Academy Awards for Motion Picture and Film is one of the most watched events on a yearly basis, leading ahead of the Grammys and other awards shows. While the show is typically highly respected, it garnered some criticism over the years from critics and the average movie watcher alike. With the Golden Globes coming and going once again, it might be time to look at a format change for the decades-old annual celebration.

The Oscars have been a cultural celebration since 1929, but have only been televised since 1953. Movies of all sorts are nominated, though it’s pretty clear the genres that are favored by the Academy: the dramatic and artistic. The Academy also has a reputation for not having the diversity that should be required when judging films, considering how diverse the film genre can be. As of early 2021, there are no black people situated in the Academy.

Something Oscar-watchers are sure to notice is the presence of movies that either only seem to be nominated due to their popularity, or films being nominated in the wrong category. Film is indeed subjective, so not everyone will agree on what’s a masterpiece and what’s unwatchable; however, going by critical reviews, some films tend only to be nominated due to their hype. While the movie, “Joker,” was a hit with audiences, critics tended to view the film more harshly, yet the film was nominated for Best Picture. “Music,” the new film made by Sia, has received scathing reviews yet was just nominated for Best Musical or Comedy. While the films both received mixed or negative reviews, they were both widely talked about and therefore became incredibly popular. In terms of incorrect categories, The New York Times brought up Jordan Peele’s “Get Outbeing nominated for Best Musical or Comedy. While the film does have comedic elements, it belongs to the horror genre. This could be attributed to horror not being taken seriously by the Academy, or because of the absence of a horror category (or perhaps both).

Aside from “Get Out,” only four other horror films have ever been nominated for Best Picture under any category before: “The Exorcist,” “The Silence of the Lambs,” “Black Swan,” and “The Sixth Sense.” Of these, only “The Silence of the Lambs” has one best picture, making it the only horror film to win Best Picture to date. Because of the aforementioned reasons of there not being many nominated horror films, other deserving horrors have been snubbed, such as “Hereditary” and “Jaws”.

Horror films aren’t the only ones getting snubbed; films with diversity, especially those with Black stories, have been snubbed. Several news sources including The New York Times and USA TODAY have written articles about films like “Da 5 Bloods” being snubbed. With there being no Black Academy members, it’s easy to see that these films have gone undetected in favor of other films. This also ties into the lack of people of color actors and actresses being nominated, such as Cynthia Erivo being the only Black actress nominated for Best Actress last year. As stated above, shouldn’t a medium as diverse as film feature more diversity?

Mike DeCicco, who majored in film while in school, said some minor changes could improve the ceremony. He worked on the film crews for the films “Rudy” and “Groundhog Day.” He said he believes that period pieces and white male directors typically get the most in terms of nominations, while genres like comedy and horror aren’t provided as much attention. However, DeCicco  said that “the format is pretty solid. [I’d] probably diminish the short films, and some technical categories but still honor them.”

It’s safe to say that the Academy has had its fair share of criticism over the years, especially with their biases and judgements about certain genres. With the Academy being called out just before the Golden Globes, it could be possible for changes to be underway to include more diversity in its presentation. The Golden Globes viewership this year dropped by 63 percent, according to an article by CNBC. Capturing just under seven million viewers, it’s the lowest it has been viewed since 2008. If the Academy Awards show wants to continue profiting with viewers under circumstances like these, perhaps it’s time for a format change.