A report by the Los Angeles released shortly before the 84th Academy Awards showed that the majority of Oscar voters were mainly white, old and male. The story was an eye-opener for cinema fans, and helped to explain why the Academy has generally sided with certain types of movies, typically war films, or historical biopics.
Though this year's host Billy Crystal was a popular choice when first announced, his performance on Sunday (26 February 2012) was criticized for being outdated and largely irrelevant. In his opening promo, the veteran comedian once again pulled out his Sammy Davis Jr "blackface", which drew laughs on Saturday Night Live in decades gone by, but fell flat at the 2012 Oscars. He also performed a lengthy singing routine, which left some celebrities in the audience visibly dumbfounded. Later in the evening, Crystal followed up Octavia Spencer's win in the Best Supporting Actress category by commenting, "After I saw The Help I just wanted to hug the first Black woman I saw, which from Beverly Hills is about a 45-minute drive". Looking ahead to 2013, Oscar organizers have somewhat of a dilemma. Figures show that the Crystal-helmed show delivered better ratings than last year's show, but lost a section of the 18-49 demographic. Show bosses attempted to lure that audience last year with James Franco and Anne Hathaway as hosts, but bad writing and a lack of any real humor meant the ceremony was a disaster. This year's original host Eddie Murphy may have done a better job than Crystal, though his link to Brett Ratner (who left his post as producer after making homophobic remarks) meant it was impossible for him to host. Though slammed for his aggressive approach at the Golden Globes, Ricky Gervais is being talked about for the 85th Academy Awards, while safe but contemporary acts such as Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon and Jerry Seinfeld could also find themselves in the running.
The major gongs at this year's Oscars were dominated by silent French movie 'The Artist' - though looking ahead to 2013, it could be a more wide-open race. Ridley Scott's sci-fi thriller Prometheus', starring Michael Fassbender, is being tipped as a possible Oscar nominee, while The Dark Knight Rises will surely be a contender. Elsewhere, Clint Eastwood's role as an ageing baseball scout in 'Trouble with the Curve' could see the veteran return to the Academy Awards with a Best Actor nomination, while Leonardo Dicaprio may finally take home the award for his role in 'The Great Gatsby'.