What can the Oscars learn from the newly resurgent Grammys?

an Oscar; A Grammy
Image: Richard Harbaugh – Handout/AMPAS; Daniel Boczarski (Getty Images)

Congratulations are in order. To the Grammys To pull yourself up by the bootstraps: The 2023 ceremony pulled in. 12.4 million viewers, the most since 2020 (which drew 18.69 million viewers). This has increased by 30%. 2022 showWhich was watched by only 9.6 million viewers. The news is a shot of hope on the awards circuit, in which Struggled to regain Its pre-pandemic foundation — look at the dismal ratings at the Golden Globes, for example.

Even the Oscars, an awards show titan, had trouble keeping up. Ratings posted in 2022 (13.7 million) were his. Second worst ever After the 2021 show (9.8 million). Compare that to the halcyon days of February 2020, when the biggest night in movies came 23.6 million viewers (Which was actually, at the time, a record low for the Academy Awards. Simpler times!).

Can the Oscars ever be restored to its former glory? Probably not—television audiences aren’t what they used to be. But the ceremony could take a few pointers from the Grammys on how to turn the ship around to increase viewership.

One thing the Grammys have done — something that has troubled the Oscars — is dropping some awards categories in its favor. Brilliant performance. It already is. It is too late for that This year, but one can’t deny that showcasing a musician’s talent — as in, actually seeing the musicians in action — benefited the Grammys immensely. This was evident not only in the performances of individual artists, but also in collective tribute acts. Motown Medley and The Hip Hop’s 50th Anniversary brought together the biggest stars in a way that was not only entertaining but also a nod to music history. Even the extra-long In Memoriam feels like a unique way to honor deceased artists while also showcasing a diverse set of musicians. Quavo’s tribute to Takeoff, in particular, was a real, emotionally resonant moment because of the personal connection it created. Personal connection was indeed a theme of the evening, as friends, fans and relatives took the stage to explain what each artist’s work meant to them.

Although the Oscars usually have a few musical moments, live performances are not structured in the same way. However, academia can find its own ways to accomplish the same goals. Past years have seen innovative ways of weaving film history into the event. Focusing on a particular genre, a la a hip-hop tribute, can be a fun trip down memory lane. When the live Oscars audience is filled with cinephiles, it’s not hard to take advantage of the personal connection. Previous years have seen stars introduce Best Picture nominees they were fans of or had a relationship with (see: Barbra Streisand Black Klansman Introduction). For audiences who may feel disconnected from some of the smaller films nominated, hearing others describe what they love about a film can certainly be as validating as a trophy.

Another Grammy success, inevitably, He is a famous person. For one thing, the show had a looser atmosphere than in the past, with big stars grouped at small tables and allowed to move around and interact freely. That’s how you get viral moments. Taylor Swift visits Harry Styles.‘ Table for chat or Lizzo is looking for Beyoncé.. To be fair, this method has not worked in favor of the Golden Globes. However, lowering the stricture so much may be enough of a compromise to promote Oscar. After all, remember the Oscar selfie? It seems strange now, but that event what Earth 43.7 million viewers. A loose, semi-organic celebrity moment can go a long way.

Of course, having the right celebrities in the room is crucial to having an audience at home. This year’s Grammys benefited from a high-wattage crop of nominees, with Swift, Styles, Adele, Beyoncé, and Lizzo in the running. Big rewards. The Recording Academy wisely kept these categories until the end of the night, forcing fans to see the event through to its (somewhat controversial) conclusion. “Standom” was the real engine of the evening, so much so that the fans’ arguments for their faves were actually a recurring theme throughout the show.

The Oscars will have no shortage of stars, but it doesn’t have the benefit of the Beyhive or a somewhat comparable fanbase to cater to. However, it has some very beloved nominees on its roster, and increasing their value could give the show a boost. Adele vs. Beyonce (who saw her big prize Harry Styles snapped.), but Oscar does Cate Blanchett vs. Michelle Yeoh has a great matchup (should they pay attention Andrea Riseborough? Just kidding. (hopefully) Investing in friendly fan rivalry about your favorite stars and movies can be a good way to engage viewers.

Whether any of these tricks work for the Oscars — or, indeed, whether they try any of the Grammys tricks — remains to be seen. Audiences will tune in on March 12, 2023 to see for themselves (or not).

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