Here’s Everything the New Academy CEO Can Say About the 2023 Oscars

Just over a month into his new role as the CEO of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Bill Kramer is already looking ahead to the 2023 Oscars—and even has some early details to share.

“We want to return to a show that has reverence for film and 95 years of the Oscars,” said Kramer of the telecast, scheduled for March 12. Kramer, who previously served as director and president of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, hosted a media call this week to answer questions about his plans for his tenure, including the future of the Oscars.

Kramer said he’s been talking to Oscar broadcast partner ABC “from the minute I started” about what the upcoming show might look like. “It’s a moment to really reflect on our membership, all craft areas, our changing industry, our fans,” he said. “There are ways to do that that are entertaining and authentic, and that are tied to our mission to honor excellence in moviemaking.”

One of the first steps in the process of creating the telecast is hiring the producers; in recent years, film producers such as Will Packer and Steven Soderbergh have taken on the role, with each producing the show for a single year. Kramer suggested that the Academy may be pursuing a new strategy, seeking out a producer who has experience with live-television production and would sign a multiyear contract.

An increasingly difficult position to fill has been that of a host, to the point that the 2019, 2020, and 2021 ceremonies had no host at all. Kramer said that’s not the plan for 2023. “A host is very important to us, and we are committed to having a host on the show this year, and we are already looking at some key partners on that,” he said. Overall, it seems as if talks for this season’s show have begun earlier than most years, and Kramer said a producer announcement is imminent. “We’re very happy to be having these conversations with ABC in the early summer weeks—it’s been very helpful for us to do that,” he said. “And my hope for the future is that we will always start these conversations almost immediately after the Oscars, for the next year’s show.”

though Will Smith‘s infamous slap dominated the headlines, the 2022 ceremony started controversially too, cutting eight categories from the live broadcast. While Kramer wouldn’t commit to any strategy for next year, he suggested that’s one tactic he’s not eager to repeat. “We want to see all disciplines equitably acknowledged on the show—that is our goal,” he said. “There are many ways to do that, and we’re working that through with ABC right now.”

The 2022 Oscars did, despite everything, provide a much-needed uptick in ratings—the ceremony drew 16.6 million viewers, up 58% from the pandemic-altered 2021 ceremony’s record low. Like everything else on ABC, however, the Oscars catch viewers on Hulu in the days after they air live, and Kramer said that it offers a different way to think about ratings. “It’s more blended now,” he said. “Ratings are always important to us. Our ratings compared to other award shows are still healthy, and we want it to remain healthy. We also want the extensions of the show to be excellent and to allow people to engage with our members in the awards in a lot of different ways.”

But even with the added boost from streaming, Kramer admitted that it’s “critical” to grow the Oscar fan base while acknowledging the ceremony’s 95-year history. Though he did insist that some things—like the Academy’s reinstated requirement that all films be released theatrically for eligibility—would remain the same. And speaking of history: When asked a question about “the slap,” Kramer very much wanted to keep his eyes on the future. “We want to move forward and to have an Oscars that celebrates cinema, and that’s our focus right now,” Kramer said. “It’s really about moving forward.”

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