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4 mistakes the Oscars didn’t make in 2023: NPR

Directors Daniel Kwan (left) and Daniel Scheinert pose with their Best Director trophies for Everything everywhere all at once.

Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

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Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

4 mistakes the Oscars didn't make in 2023: NPR

Directors Daniel Kwan (left) and Daniel Scheinert pose with their Best Director trophies for Everything everywhere all at once.

Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

If you’ve ever worked on an annual project of any kind – maybe an event, maybe a report, maybe it’s the Oscars – you’ve probably gone through a debriefing process, where various stakeholders come together to discuss what went right, what went wrong and what went wrong Really fake. Maybe, for example, your Best Actress winner gave a great speech, but your Best Actor winner came on stage and slapped a famous comedian in the face. It happens.

These debriefing sessions are bound to be different depending on the circumstances, of course. But their general form is generally the same: positives, negatives, notes for next year, maybe some congratulations on a job well done. What is sometimes overlooked is an unsexy but crucial recap of the mistakes made. avoid. Because, as anyone who has been involved in an annual project for many years can tell you, bad ideas tend to sneak back in once you’ve avoided them long enough.

So consider this final word on the 2023 Oscars, which wrapped up Sunday night in a way that was largely free of catastrophic embarrassment. I’m going to leave out the obvious stuff – “No one was physically assaulted on stage”, for example, or “No one announced the wrong Best Picture winner” – in favor of errors that might be reintroduced one day, if we’re dumb enough to let our collective guard down.

They presented all the awards during the telecast.

It’s easy to forget that just last year the Oscars opted to hand out multiple awards in previously taped segments, ostensibly in an attempt to speed up the show. It was a terrible idea for basic reasons of decency and visibility – yes, people actually care to see people win awards for, say, cinematography – while boiling viewers at the charge that made the cup. It also robbed Oscars telecasting of a strength: It’s harder for a show to fall behind when you keep coming back to official trophy-distribution business. There was definitely some filler in last Sunday’s telecast (ahem, Little Mermaid promo), but the pace was noticeably faster than usual.

They cut the little things.

As Glen Weldon noted at the time in NPR’s Oscars Live Blog, this year’s Oscars cut down on intros, especially when it came to clips from the 10 films nominated for Best Picture. “Consider: They’re presenting tonight’s top nominees with an off-screen announcer,” Glen wrote. “In years past, this work has been done by presenters. Actors coming out, taking a break, indulging in stiff presenter banter, and then presenting the top nominees for the picture. It seems like a small adjustment but it shaves off easily, what, at least 10 minutes of this show?” It was a small adjustment with a legitimately huge payoff. Imagine if every time you drive for four hours, you have to park on the side of the road 10 times and waiting 60 seconds each time. Then imagine taking the same route without those stops. Streamlining the clip screening process didn’t seem like much on Oscar night, but it was a huge hidden improvement of the quality of life.

They showed clips! They showed clips! They showed clips!

On occasion in recent years, Oscar producers have tried to save time by skipping snippets of nominated performances — sometimes simply listing names, sometimes asking a presenter to talk about the greatness of each nominee. You’d think the Oscars would know the value of showing rather than telling, but that mistake comes to the surface every few years. The clip release reaffirms the value of the nominated work, gives unfamiliar audiences an idea of ​​what films they might still want to see and, perhaps most relevant to Oscar interests, celebrates the awesome power of the films. better than a million “A Salute To The Movies!” the fixtures could ever.

They killed the audience mics during the “In Memoriam” segment.

Every time a musician plays a song as the names of the recently deceased scroll, you run the risk of the event turning into a tasteless Applause-O-Meter workout. You could hear the occasional applause this year — presumably picked up by Lenny Kravitz’s mic — but it was easy to miss. Here is an avoidable catastrophe, successfully avoided!

Naturally, these Oscars still made other mistakes, including inconsistent uses of the orchestra to get people playing offstage and the Academy’s insistence on re-naming a Diane Warren song. But this year still looked like progress.

This piece first appeared in NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour newsletter. Register to receive the newsletter so you don’t miss the next one and receive weekly recommendations on what makes us happy.

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