Oscar Controversy: Here’s the Real Reason Why This Year’s Oscars Ceremony Is so Controversial

When it comes to the Oscars, the debate usually revolves around the films that have been nominated.

And, yes, there’s a little of that this year as we near the end of a long awards season. People are debating whether CODA is deserving of a Best Picture nomination on the internet, for instance. The ceremony itself, however, has become the most divisive aspect of the 2022 Oscars.

Last year’s presentation, which was revamped to be a more intimate COVID-era affair, was the all-time low in Oscar viewership. There’s an obvious push this year to bring the awards back to their former splendor.

Oscar Controversy

Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, and Regina Hall will take the helm after three years without a host. The event is returning to Hollywood Boulevard’s opulent Dolby Theatre, but some of the alterations have elicited more cynicism than excitement.

Academy officials, ABC, and producer Will Packer have made a number of actions that have perplexed both viewers and the people being honoured in an attempt to boost their audience.

Is this going to be a hilarious disaster on Sunday night? Or will all of the changes disprove the skeptics?

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Categories Presented Before the Broadcast

Oscar Controversy

The decision to deliver eight awards—including Best Editing, which has traditionally been viewed as a Best Picture precursor—before the live broadcast began has perplexed and frustrated the most Oscar aficionados.

These primarily under-the-radar awards will be presented during the red-carpet arrivals, with speeches inserted later.

Other award ceremonies, such as the Grammys and the Tonys, do something similar, but the Grammys have over a million trophies to dole out, while the Tonys want to make place for performances by nominated casts.

The goal of the Academy Awards is — or should be — the art of filmmaking. Never mind that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was created by renowned studio head Louis B. Mayer in the late 1920s as a strategy to break unions.
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The statement by Academy president David Rubin that editing, sound, makeup and hairstyling, soundtrack, production design, and all three short-film categories would be relegated to second-class status sparked fury.

“We understand the Academy’s aim to produce a more riveting program,” the Motion Picture Editors Guild said in a statement, “but this decision further obscures the ‘invisible art of editing.

The Cinema Audio Society Board of Directors chimed in as well, stating that “celebrating some categories differently than others ultimately reflects a depressing insensitivity to the affected creative industries and the crucial contributions these artists give the films being commemorated.”

Oscar Controversy

In reaction, Tom Fleischman, a five-time Academy Award contender and sound designer for Martin Scorsese, resigned from the organization.

The decision has been backfiring ever since.

Jessica Chastain told the Next Best Picture podcast that she will skip the red carpet if she can be in the building when her cosmetics and hairstyling crew gets nominated for their work on The Eyes of Tammy Faye, indicating that even big-name stars will choose unity above fame. Members of the sound guild will demonstrate by wearing their guild emblems backward, according to Variety.

Meanwhile, the president of the Cinema Audio Society warned the publication that the solidarity may extend beyond those categories, with people accepting their prizes on their backs.

“We may see victors from all categories accepting their Oscars upside down in a silent gesture of solidarity with the eight affected categories this weekend,” he warned. “We’re all equally important filmmakers,” she says.

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The Twitter Award

Oscar Controversy

So, why are the categories listed above being snubbed? We’ve figured out a few things thus far. The song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” by Encanto will be performed, albeit it is not the nominated song from the Disney hit. James Bond and The Godfather will be honoured with honors.

There will also be presentations of the Oscars Fan Favorite and Oscars Cheer Moment, both of which will be decided by Twitter voting.

This ill-advised campaign is intended to stimulate involvement plans in order to award some stage time to the film that has received the greatest attention via hashtag or online vote.

It felt like a horrible idea from the start, and the Academy’s announcement of the ten films nominated for the prestigious award confirmed that suspicion.

While some expected appearances were made, such as Spider-Man: No Way Home, last year’s box office champion, there were other hints that fan armies had taken over the vote.

This resulted in “nominations” for the under-appreciated Johnny Depp biographical Minamata and Camila Cabello’s Cinderella jukebox musical, which received poor reviews.

If Spider-Man wins, the production team will have received exactly what they wanted: a chance to lavish accolades on a blockbuster that some read: Jimmy Kimmel thought deserved to be nominated for Best Picture.

Oscar Controversy

The Academy has invited a group of influencers to create Reels in collaboration with Instagram parent company Meta, in yet another acknowledgment of social media’s ostensible power.

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The Invite List

On the Monday before the ceremony, producers presented the most recent list of presenters, causing yet another wave of raised eyebrows.

The roster includes not one, but three extreme sports stars: skateboarder Tony Hawk, snowboarder Shaun White, and surfer Kelly Slater, in addition to actress Tiffany Haddish and past finalists Bill Murray and Elliot Page.

I don’t mean to cast aspersions on them, but why are they there?
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“If starring in every Jackass movie, xXx, Police Academy 4, and Sharknado 5 doesn’t qualify me to present at the Oscars, then your choice in movies needs to be adjusted,” Hawk responded on Twitter.

Fair enough.

Nonetheless, the roster of athletes raises the question of who the Academy and ABC are trying to reach.

Oscar Controversy

This presenter announcement comes only a day after West Side Story star Rachel Zegler announced on Instagram that she would not be going and would be cheering on “from her couch” unless a “last-minute miracle occurs.”

While the scenario is certainly more complicated than Zegler not getting an invite—she said she’s in London filming Disney’s new Snow White film—it still felt odd that a Gen X skateboarding hero would be present rather than the breakthrough star from one of the Best Picture candidates.

Zegler was asked to present after a day of Twitter outrage over her potential absence.

That doesn’t change the fact that an appearance by Tony Hawk is unlikely to entice anyone who wasn’t already intending on watching the Oscars.

This event’s target audience is a group of film nerds who are interested in editing and sound design and want to support one of the most promising young actresses of recent years.

Oscar Controversy

They are film buffs who have watched both Drive My Car and Spider-Man: No Way Home and believe that while the latter is entertaining, the former is the more significant cinematic achievement.

All of the Oscars’ initiatives appear to be aimed at a demographic that is unlikely to care in the first place.