Hollywood is clueless about what much of America wants from its entertainment, and the tightly controlled Oscar show is fusty and staid, a number of readers said. "The quality of the telecasts has been dreadful, not to mention the inordinate amount of time devoted to some horrendous commercials," said Sandy Buchsbaum, chairman-CEO of Stevens & Buchsbaum, the firm that linked Revlon with the Oscars for a dozen years. L'Oreal Paris is now the cosmetics sponsor.
Many readers said they don't like to see highly paid stars patting each other on the back and resent when celebrities use the podium as a bully pulpit for their pet projects or ideologies. "Give me some decent entertainment and leave the politics out of it and I could regain my interest," said Cindi Mantooth, president of Profit Faucets, Dumfries, Va.
The Academy Awards has lost its uniqueness among a sea of awards shows, and viewers have so many customizable, on-demand entertainment options that they don't have the patience for what's become a boring, self-aggrandizing three-hour-plus program. "Perhaps the Oscars are doomed-or at least destined-to become podcasts," said Tex Toler, TM Advertising, Austin, Texas. "Or how about an entertainment reality show on Bravo? I wish I knew how to quit them."
Several readers suggested that coverage for the major categories be expanded, with little airtime devoted to technical categories like lighting and makeup. "Why sit through an evening watching people you don't know accepting awards for things you don't care about?" said Tom Walthall, VP-associate media director at Doe Anderson, Louisville, Ky. "Download the stuff you want to see the next day and spend the three hours reading to your kids or sticking a needle in your eye."
What you say: 81% of AdAge.com voters think the Oscars are doomed to have shrinking audiences each year, saying the show has lost its relevance and Hollywood is out of touch with mainstream America. But there are a few fans of the awards extravaganza left. Those scant 19% said that the Academy Awards broadcast might be able to restore its luster, and grow its viewer numbers.