OPINION: Mistrust of Oscars decreases value of awards


Photo courtesy of Jose Manuel Mazintosh (CC BY-SA 2.0.)

Now that viewers are beginning to mistrust Oscar nominations, the awards don’t mean as much as they used to.

During awards season, social media feeds are filled with pictures of fan-favorite actors on the red carpet and quick captions that summarize the whole awards show in just a few sentences. If a favorite artist hasn’t won in their category, the comments section is filled with accusations that the awards are rigged. As long as the general public agrees with this, winning an Oscar doesn’t hold as much value. 

The award shows, specifically the Oscars, have been painted in a negative light by social media. People are constantly posting that the awards are fake and controlled by the Hollywood elite, especially when decisions are made that appear political. In 2013, both Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow were not nominated for Best Director after producing movies about controversial social topics. The movies were widely acclaimed in other categories, but the directors who took a political stance failed to be recognized. This obvious snub led to much social media discourse concerning the validity of the awards in the first place. The loss of trust in the Academy to make decisions based solely on the quality of the acting, directing, etc. means that the awards as a whole have less importance. 

Because of this decline in trust, viewership for the Academy Awards has reached an all-time low in recent years. Only about 10.4 million Americans tuned into the show in 2021, a stark contrast to the 23.6 million people who watched in 2020. Since 2018, viewership has been at a steady decline, hitting the lowest viewership ever for an award show in 2021. The 2022 Oscars brought drama, with the violent altercation between Chris Rock and Will Smith. This increased viewership to around 16 million, but was still abysmal compared to the 40 million Americans who watched the 2014 Oscars. The dispute between the two A-list actors also led to more negative press about the awards as a whole. 

This negative press came from conspiracies that the Academy was looking for a way to regain members of their audience through causing a scandal. This has instilled even more distrust in the awards as a whole and thus, less credibility for selecting the top movies and actors of the year. In the 2022 Oscars, star of “House of Gucci” Lady Gaga was forgotten in the Best Actress section after massive praise from reviewers. The decision was a questionable one that left many wondering how the Academy made this conclusion. As social media repeatedly points out movies that have been left off the nominations, the importance of an Oscar will continue to decline.

Photo credit: “Oscars” by Jose Manuel Mazintosh is licensed under (CC BY-SA 2.0).