Peggy Noonan has penned a very interesting piece for the Wall Street Journal today entitled “Boy in a Bubble – What George Clooney doesn’t know about life”. It is quite possibly one of the most sympathetic and generous readings of Hollywood’s current state of woe that I’ve yet seen. From her article:
But viewership of the Oscars continues to decline, even in the great movie-loving nation. Why? Here’s one practical reason.
What happened to the Oscars is what happened to the Olympics. They became common. They made themselves common. When the Olympics were held every four years, they were a real event. It was something to look forward to and be surprised by: The Olympics are on this year. Four years was enough time for a whole new cast of athletes, what felt like a whole new generation, to come up. Enough time for history to have passed, to have yielded up new geopolitical realities, new reasons to applaud and hope for this nation or that one.
Everyone watched. It was a success. So they decided to get even more success by making the Olympics every two years. It’s not an event now, it’s an expected thing, part of the usual tapestry. It’s more common, less special. Viewership is down.
In the same way, the Oscars used to be the big awards show. Then another came by, and another: Golden Globes, People’s Choice, Independent Spirit, Foreign Press.
Movie stars put on their gowns and tuxes all the time now. It must be embarrassing–I mean this seriously–to spend half your year accepting awards on TV, and for what is already highly compensated work.
It’s like what happened a few years ago, when network programmers found that “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” was an overnight sensation. So they put it on four nights a week. And it stopped being a sensation.
Hollywood should stop diminishing its own mystique. It should discourage the proliferation of awards shows. They’re getting embarrassing for everybody.
The whole piece is worth reading in full – give it a look.