The year the Academy Awards went to The Oscars
Gold-fingered: Seth MacFarlane is the Oscar ringmaster
Almost unnoticed (until now), this weekend’s Oscars have undergone a degree of sly rebranding. Last year, posters and official notifications referred to the ceremony as the “84th Academy Awards”. That formula appeared on this year’s promotional material until about three weeks ago, when the number “85” was shuffled away with the gongs’ official title. It seems that we are now looking forward to “The Oscars”.
Earlier this week, Neil Meron, co-producer of the telecast, confirmed the suspected remarketing. “We’re rebranding it,” he told The Wrap. “We’re not calling it ‘the 85th annual Academy Awards’, which keeps it mired somewhat in a musty way. It’s called ‘The Oscars’.”
Sure enough, the latest poster features Seth MacFarlane, Sunday’s host, clutching an award beneath those two words. Press releases now use the phrase “Oscars for outstanding film achievements of 2012”, rather than “the 85th Academy Awards”.
It’s hardly a massive break with history, but it does look as little as if the Academy is trying to echo the language of noisier awards such as the stupid Grammies.
As we move into the final furlong, Ben Affleck’s Argo – despite not securing a best director nomination – now looks close to unbeatable. It is hard to see anyone other than Steven Spielberg or Ang Lee taking home the director’s statuette.
If Argo does triumph, then we should see one of those two film-makers repeat the unwelcome feat of winning best director for a film that doesn’t take the top prize. Neither Lee’s Brokeback Mountain nor Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan converted the megaphone statuette into a best film ornament.