This past weekend, celebrities, actors and actresses attended the 94th annual Academy Awards held in Hollywood, California. Judging by the amount of social media posts everywhere, the highlight of the event was Will Smith and Chris Rock’s confrontation. However, other nominees broke records and achieved new heights that the media isn’t reporting.
The Guinness World Records reported that the Oscars created new records and nominees for this year’s Oscars broke previous records. According to the Guinness World Records, in the Best Director category, Steven Spielberg received a nomination making this the sixth consecutive decade with a nomination in this category, Denzel Washington was the most nominated Black actor of all time and Kenneth Bragh, most commonly known for his role as Gilderoy Lockhart in the Harry Potter series, became the first person nominated for Oscars in seven different categories. Those are only a few records from the 2022 Oscars.
Other notable records include Troy Kotsur becoming the first deaf male to win an Oscar. Troy Kotsur won Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Frank Rossi in “CODA.” CODA is a common abbreviation within the deaf and hard-of-hearing community that stands for Children of Deaf Adults. The Guinness World Records said that this is only the second deaf actor to receive an Oscar, with the first recipient being Marlee Matlin in 1989. Another first was the nomination of the Japanese film “Drive My Car” directed by Hamaguchi Ryusuke, which is the first Japanese film to receive an Oscar nomination in Best Picture.
That’s already five of the world records broken this year at the Oscars. Few of them are featured on the current news cycle, but nearly everyone knows about what happened between Smith and Rock.
When anyone searches the 2022 Oscars on Google, the top stories listed are all centered around Smith and Rock. Only after 6 suggestions for that topic do we reach different news stories about what the attendees wore and other reactions to speeches at the event.
The AP News coverage of the Oscars even includes a feature photo of the moment that Smith struck Rock, but then begins the article noting Kotsur’s award. Using this photo as the first feature photo of the piece immediately brings the idea of clickbait into the conversation. To be completely transparent, the idea of clickbait alludes to an even larger issue of misrepresenting stories with careful word choice and inaccurate descriptions.
Choosing the most shocking part of the Oscars as the next news piece is predictable. This is not the first instance of the media dictating what people are informed about and it certainly won’t be the last. But as consumers of media, we have a voice in what subject matter is covered.
The news can quickly become a vicious cycle of negative story after negative story. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems like the news became a place about mass amounts of lives lost, little hope to be found and solutions that could be excellent, if only they were to be found.
The drive of media outlets in choosing content to cover is the viewership of that content. The number of views or hits on an article dictates how successful a news story is. Choosing to click on content that is more positive and not simply just shocking or unbelievable will change the media’s news cycle.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health awareness has become increasingly more prevalent, and one of the small ways that we can impact our own mental health, and improve it, would be choosing more uplifting and positive content to consume.
To change the media that we are presented with, we must recognize that we have the capability to change it. So look on the bright side. One easy way to do this is as simple as signing up for an email newsletter called the GoodNewsletter. Each week, the newsletter features multiple stories highlighting positive and encouraging news stories to break the negative news stories presented online and on television.