Oscars 2013: US/UK TV Coverage Comparison

4 Jul


The Oscars – that time, which comes once a year, when UK based film students, graduates and plain old movie-geeks get together with nachos and chocolate biscuits and gather around an illegal stream of the calendar’s most glamorous event. Or, if you close your eyes, the world’s most prestigious meeting of cannibals and psychopaths – “who are you wearing,” indeed!

Being, as I am, a law-abiding citizen, I wasn’t tuned into this promenade of flesh-garbed movie stars via any online stream. In fact, for the longest portion of it I wasn’t tuned into the red carpet show at all. This is largely because I know my internet connection could never manage the stream without interruption (not because I morally object), but mainly I missed most of the red carpet show because Sky’s red carpet coverage wasn’t showing any of it. Their programme consisted mainly of Alex Zane and guests chatting about the nominations from a UK based studio and occasional commentary from correspondent, Lucy Cotter, who was on the red carpet but must’ve really been trying hard to avoid the celebrities – they were nowhere to be seen in Sky’s own footage.

In stark contrast, Twitter was alive with discussion of the E! red-carpet show being viewed by – apparently – most of the world. And tweeters were describing a nauseatingly detailed programme. E! were pushing the art of despicably shallow, invasive entertainment journalism to new levels with their ‘mani cam’ – a camera on the withered talons of the stars, answering the question, “could she claw my eyes out?” (“No, could she PLEASE claw my eyes out – is this what has become of entertainment?”)

Eventually, Sky abandoned their own correspondent and coverage of the red carpet, and instead began running ABC’s attempts. Though, evidently, there was a delay in the footage and Sky did fumble before finally managing to blur out a clock counting down to the ceremony. Albeit little breaks back to Zane in the UK studio for some inane commentary, the rest of the night – ceremony and all – was ABC’s own footage, syndicated by Sky.

And it was almost faultless. The occasional hiccup in timing after returning from an ad break to the programme was no great issue. Nothing was missed but the odd musical cue before the return to Seth MacFarlane’s hosting. And it was a great show. A weak start, in my opinion, but MacFarlane really recovered with some big, surprising developments. The show went on long, and the orchestra threatened to incite shark attacks against some of the winners, but one couldn’t complain too much about Sky’s coverage of the ceremony itself… largely because it was ABC’s coverage. That is, one couldn’t complain until the ending.

While American audiences and those watching the online stream were treated to a big closing number, Sky remained in the studio with Alex Zane and guests as they discussed how their predictions had held up. Barely a droplet of insight had come out of this panel all night and this segment was no different. But Sky’s biggest blunder was letting Zane end on a dreary “Argo…” pun instead of showing us MacFarlane’s final song and dance. “Argo make yourself some breakfast!” – Shut up, Alex Zane. Shut up and find something you’re good it. You’ve clearly tried this hosting thing and it isn’t working – why not take up knitting or something? Your “Argo…” joke is the final insult in a long night of my finding your presence offensive.

The UK coverage of the Oscars very almost wasn’t a shambles. At least, unlike our own BAFTAs, it was shown live. At least Sky were able to admit their faults and borrow ABC’s red carpet footage. At least they damn well tried to make the show work… and it very almost did. But where was our show-closer? Why did you let Alex Zane present over it? And for the sake of that joke? What is wrong with our nation? Why we can’t we do live coverage of anything but sport and the queen’s boat trips? Award season is done for another year, UK. Do try harder next time!

The post Oscars 2013: US/UK TV Coverage Comparison appeared first on WhatCulture!.

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