The Oscars May Go Down Fighting

Bill Kramer and Janet Yang
Academy C.E.O. Bill Kramer and president Janet Yang. Photo: JC Olivera/Getty Images
Matthew Belloni
September 18, 2022

Polling longtime film Academy members about the state of their organization has become a depressing endeavor. Many of the 10,669 actors, executives, producers and other movie professionals seem to be in a state of perpetual facepalm, and everyone knows why: The Oscars, once the Super Bowl of culture, is now better likened to, say, the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. 

A lot of that is endemic, of course. The fragmentation of audiences, the end of the monoculture, etc etc. But so much is self-inflicted: the refusal to evolve the show; the Academy’s singular focus on progressive politics to the exclusion of almost everything else; the leadership vacuum that led to the inept handling of the Will Smith debacle. We don’t need to rehash it all here.

It’s gotten to the point where, when I reached out to see what members thought of yesterday’s big presentation by new Academy C.E.O. Bill Kramer and president Janet Yang, most hadn’t even bothered to check out the rare all-member meeting. “You must have mistaken me for someone who cares,” one responded to my email. “Not for me, wish them well,” said a producer via text. “On a Saturday morning? Lecturing is for church,” said an exec. “Kids soccer!”