Will The Oscars Be Able To Plot A Path Back Toward Cultural Relevance?

After years of decline, this might be the year for a comeback. Will The Oscars Be Able To Plot A Path Back Toward Cultural Relevance? Giphy

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Years after the “Oscars So White” backlash surrounding a perceived lack of diversity among nominees and winners, the Academy Awards is still struggling to find its place in modern society.

After all, aside from the infamous Will Smith slap, most people probably can’t cite anything specific that happened in last year’s ceremony. Audience numbers have tanked in recent years — but some industry insiders say last night’s Oscars presented a unique opportunity to revive its once-heralded relevance.

Reigniting last year’s buzz

It was the slap heard ‘round the world when Will Smith stormed the stage and walloped presenter Chris Rock over a joke about Smith’s wife. In a recent stand-up special, Rock added fuel to the fire by dedicating the last portion of the show to the widely publicized beef.

Although Academy Award organizers said they were putting new safeguards in place to prevent a similar disruption this year, at least some of those who tuned in likely did so out of curiosity about how the Smith slap would be addressed.

If these folks liked what they saw, it’s possible that they’d consider becoming loyal Oscars viewers in the future, thus helping elevate the beleaguered ceremony to new cultural heights.

It’s all about the movies

While the jokes, commentary, commercials, and red-carpet interviews are all part of what has made the event a Hollywood mainstay in recent years, the central component for its nearly century-long run has been recognizing the previous year’s best movies.

This year, the films up for “Best Picture” represent the highest combined box office take in more than a dozen years. Sequels to “Avatar” and “Top Gun” were the year’s two top-grossing movies.

If enough people are talking about the event on social media this week, it could reinvigorate the Oscars for the next 100 years.

Chris Agee
Chris Agee March 13th, 2023
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