The Fast Five: The Oscars® Are Over With Surprising Results, While ‘Hamilton’ Breaks Another Record and Disney Flies Under the Radar
February 10, 2020
Awards season is finally over! Now we get seven months of peace—until the Emmy® Awards pull us right back in. On the plus side, the ending was not the anti-climactic one everybody expected. Turns out Parasite wasn't the only movie making history this week. Hamilton just broke a record for the most amount of money paid to acquire a completed film—and the movie won’t even be released for another twenty months.
PARASITE UPSETS 1917 TO TAKE HOME BEST PICTURE
If you’ve been following awards season, it looked like it was going to be a boring night. Week after week, the same movies kept winning the same awards, and it started to look like history repeating as the Academy® handed out acting awards to favorites Joaquin Phoenix for Joker, Renée Zellweger for Judy, Laura Dern for Marriage Story, and Brad Pitt for Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. But then, something interesting happened. Bong Joon Ho won Best Director for Parasite. While it’s become increasingly common for this award to not correspond with Best Picture, people hoping for an upset had their fingers crossed—and they weren’t disappointed when Parasite won the top award, becoming the first foreign language film to do so. Many have been nominated, but as was the case with betting favorite Roma last year, they tend to win Best International Picture and are then excluded from the main category. It’s been five years in a row that the betting favorite has failed to win Best Picture, until now. This could be because it's the only category where the winner is chosen by using preferential ballot, with voters ranking the movies from one to ten and votes distributed down the list as movies are eliminated. Therefore, Parasite’s win brought some much-needed excitement to this year's Oscars, it’s just a shame it took three and a half hours for it to happen.
DISNEY IS PUTTING CLASSIC FOX FILMS INTO THE DISNEY VAULT
When Disney purchased 20th Century Fox, we all knew there would be huge ramifications for the industry. But one impacted section that flew completely the radar last year was when Disney started informing cinemas that they could no longer show classic Fox films. Theatrical presentations of older movies became more popular with the roll-out of digital projectors. When 35mm prints of a film were no longer required to be shipped in, it made it a lot easier for independent cinemas and smaller chains to start giving people a chance to experience their favorite movies on the big screen. Unfortunately, these vendors have been shown the door by Disney, who will no longer allow them to screen movies by Fox. Cult classics like Alien, Fight Club, The Princess Bride, and Moulin Rouge can no longer be screened by any for-profit cinema. This puts a huge hole in guides for classic film festivals. There’s nothing like seeing a classic film in front of a large audience to see their reaction; proof that a solid story and great characters are timeless and will resonate with viewers in any era.
AN INCREASE IN DISABLED ACTORS HELPS AUTHENTIC STORYTELLING
The Ruderman Family Foundation, which helps hold the industry accountable for accurate representation of people with disabilities, has some good news. A 2016 survey found that only 5% of disabled characters were played by an actor who shared that disability. Last year, that number jumped up to 22% on network television, and 20% on streaming services. Inclusion is important. If people aren’t exposed to somebody from a different religion, race, sexual orientation, or even physical ability, their entire interpretation of that group will be formed by the way they are presented in the media. And while it’s commendable that roles were being written for people with disabilities, the authenticity that comes from somebody who actually has that disability is impossible to replicate. Writers should always strive to make their stories as authentic as possible and no amount of research can replace the experiences that are second nature to the people who have lived them. Having a performer involved who can point out small inaccuracies and help correct them is an invaluable tool that can only be achieved by hiring a disabled performer. Thankfully, the numbers show that disabled performers are finally being given an opportunity to audition for the roles—and are being taken seriously in the industry.
One of the most popular Broadway musicals of all time has just added another record to its long list of accomplishments. Back in 2016, a live recording was made of the original cast of Hamilton performing its breakthrough hit. Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda wanted to record it before the cast all took their newfound fame and went their separate ways. Now, he’s ready to release it to the world. Unfortunately, Disney, who bought the movie for a record breaking $75 million dollars, has other ideas and it won’t hit theaters until October of 2021. So, if you want to see Hamilton before that, you’re going to have to hope you can afford to drop a couple hundred dollars on a ticket to a live performance. This is also the most amount of money ever paid for the rights to a completed film, much higher than the $40 million Paramount Pictures spent in 2003 for the rights to Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. But Hamilton doesn't have Angelina Jolie wearing an eye patch, so Paramount may have gotten the better deal.
THE END OF AN ERA AT SHOWTIME
With the announcement that the current season of Ray Donovan will be its last, Showtime is saying goodbye to its three highest-rated series this year. Even though lineal viewing is quickly becoming a murky way of determining a show’s popularity, especially considering Showtime's stand-alone app has anywhere from zero to eight million subscribers (ViacomCBS only releases combined subscriber numbers for Showtime Now and CBS All Access), the end of Ray Donovan, Shameless and Homeland leaves Billions as the only show to average higher than a 0.15 rating in the 18-49 demographic. Buzzy shows like Kidding, Twin Peaks, and On Becoming a God in Central Florida have failed to find an audience, and in 2015 Starz overtook Showtime to become the second most subscribed premium channel behind HBO. But the network is swinging big with its upcoming shows to try and win back that audience. Halo, based on the video game franchise, and Ripley, based on The Talented Mr. Ripley books, should both launch in the next year and the network just gave a straight-to-series order to a new show about Michelle Obama starring Viola Davis.
Written by: Conrad SylviaConrad Sylvia is the creator of the The Week in Television, a private industry newsletter that recaps the week's television news in a humorous and unique manner. Throughout the years he has developed projects for studios and production companies and continues to provide freelance research on the current television landscape and international marketplace. He is also a fan of drinking in the bathtub. A full tub if he's happy, an empty tub if he's sad.