The 2023 Academy Awards succeeded absolutely at studying from the errors of the previous. Jimmy Kimmel saved the tone usually mild however respectful (with just a few exceptions). Nobody did any cartwheels in the course of the In Memoriam section. And the winners have been by and huge given time and house to totally categorical their pleasure and gratitude for his or her Oscars, after a very lengthy awards cycle. (All the things All over the place All at As soon as debuted at SXSW actually one yr and in the future in the past. If anybody deserves a day without work tomorrow, it’s the A24 publicity group.)
Sure, the present went lengthy — one thing Kimmel ready the viewer for from the start… whereas noting that it wasn’t his fault that everybody wished all 23 awards introduced in the course of the reside present. However what he didn’t put together us for was the award for Most Shameless Promotion of an Upcoming Stay-Motion Adaptation of an Animated Movie.
That is to say that when Melissa McCarthy and Halle Bailey took the stage in the course of the awards, it initially made sense to see them paired up collectively: Airing on ABC signifies that the Oscars are Disney’s residence turf, and so it’s pure for the studio to make use of the ceremony as a possibility to name-drop its upcoming releases, through the introduction of the presenters.
It’s additionally pure to see upcoming releases debut new promos in the course of the ceremony’s advert breaks. For instance, tonight additionally included the debut of a brand new trailer teasing the subsequent season of Hulu’s Solely Murders within the Constructing, which put the highlight on new forged member and three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep.
As befitting an enormous evening in reside leisure, loads of different adverts for upcoming movies and TV reveals have been proven over the course of the night. Nevertheless, that’s not what occurred with The Little Mermaid. When McCarthy and Bailey have been introduced as much as the stage, the pure assumption was that they have been there to current one of many evening’s awards. As a substitute, the only real goal of their look on stage was to speak about The Little Mermaid for just a few treasured minutes of the present, earlier than the debut of the trailer.
This wasn’t the one “Whaaaa?” of the evening: Feeling equally random within the second was Morgan Freeman and Margot Robbie teaming as much as speak about Warner Bros. turning 100 this yr, and the legacy of that superb studio (while additionally selling upcoming Warner Bros. releases just like the Robbie-starring Barbie). Nevertheless, there was at the least a contact of movie historical past in that sequence, which is at all times appreciated throughout a night spent in tribute to the artwork type.
In the meantime, let’s be clear about this. Casting judgment on a film simply off the trailer… is a really regular and human factor to do, however regardless of the place you land on the upcoming Little Mermaid, it’s secure to say that its odds of being a significant a part of Oscars future aren’t nice. That is primarily based on precedent: Going again to the early days of Disney bringing its animated classics into the live-action (or within the case of 2019’s The Lion King, “live-action”) realm, the movies which have been Oscar-nominated have been nominated solely in technical classes: Costume Design, Artwork Route, Visible Results, Make-up and Hairstyling, and Manufacturing Design.
The Little Mermaid may break into a brand new class in 2024, as legendary composer/Galavant government producer Alan Menkin has written 4 unique songs for the movie. But it’s hardly set to be a contender on the extent of, say, Oppenheimer or the brand new Scorsese, making the selection to carry this yr’s Oscars to a grinding halt for the trailer’s debut really feel wildly discordant with the main focus and wit that the present had demonstrated up till that time.
Over the course of the evening, there actually wasn’t loads of filler with which to take situation — a number of the comedy bits labored higher than others, and for the primary (and certain final) time in human historical past, somebody mentioned out loud the phrases “Cocaine Bear, go away Malala alone!” Additionally, the evening’s closing reference to “The Slap” — Kimmel flipping the counter on an Oscars With out Incident signal to at least one — performed rather well.
So maybe it’s a bit unfair to spotlight this one little bit of crass commercialization in the course of a fairly strong three-and-a-half-hour celebration of movies, one which ended within the yr’s most unique nominee taking residence seven wins.
However whereas Kimmel can put the blame for the present’s size on critics of final yr’s “bump the boring awards to the preshow” technique all he desires, a tearful and triumphant acceptance speech for Finest Stay-Motion Brief is much extra preferable to blunt power synergy in motion. The producers appeared to concentrate to criticisms of final yr, so right here’s a word for the subsequent: At any time when doable, save the commercials for the precise business breaks.