ABC Is Missing A Golden Opportunity By Not Streaming The 2023 Oscars On Hulu Or Disney+

Oscar statuettes
(Image credit: MPAA)

This Sunday is a red letter day for the 2023 TV schedule; or perhaps we should say a golden letter day. With the 95th Academy Awards going out to the world live, all of the victories, controversies and comedy of that anticipated night will be talked about pretty much in real time. It’s a communal event like this that usually draws as many eyes as possible, and it’s also an example of how ABC is missing a golden opportunity by not offering a livestream to Hulu subscribers or Disney+ subscribers. 

Tom Cruise's Maverick in Top Gun: Maverick

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

The Current Live Streaming Options For The Oscars Are A Bit Annoying

If you want to stream the 2023 Oscar nominees becoming winners, your options are limited to more conventional means. If you have cable TV, using the ABC app is your best option. Otherwise, viewers are being encouraged by those behind the Oscars to check the show out through streaming live TV subscription services, going as far as mentioning the fact that free trials are available. 

This feels like an odd move when you could push subscribers to either of your streaming subscription platforms in a move to generate an Oscars night boost. Anyone can sign up for one of those free trials and watch this year’s Academy Awards in real time. But, of course, if you forget to unsubscribe, you’re stuck with another subscription. 

What’s perhaps most annoying about having to sign up for a live TV streaming service is that Hulu and Disney+ have already proven they have the infrastructure to send this year’s show to either of Disney’s proprietary streaming platforms. If you're encouraging a free trial arrangement, why not encourage people to use Disney+ or Hulu?

Dancing With The Stars judges on Disney+

(Image credit: Disney+)

Dancing With The Stars Has Established Disney+ As Livestream Ready

Disney+ has already shown its ability to keep up with the livestream game thanks to the decision to make the ABC reality series Dancing with the Stars a streaming exclusive. Through a typical run of the dancing competition, weekly shows were airing on Disney+ as a live exclusive, and no additional subscription is necessary. With a whole season running that way, you'd think it was the ultimate road test for future events, and it seemed to look that way when Elton John's Farewell from Dodgers Stadium came out last November.

Those are two huge proofs that the 95th Academy Awards could be streamed with ease, should Disney want to make that happen. The capabilities are there for Disney+ to do the same for the Academy Awards, and frankly, the expectation is there as well. People might have been questioning whether or not this same sort of arrangement would have been made for the Oscars for some time, and as we've seen, it's just not in the cards for 2023.

It’d be easy to run the show through the same sort of process that brings Dancing with the Stars to the public on a more frequent basis. The only reason not to put the Oscars on Disney’s legacy streaming library is the content, lest any live television incidents like the Will Smith Oscars slap take place. Then again, that’s what Hulu’s for, which brings up another interesting point of discussion.

Cate Blanchett in TÁR.

(Image credit: Focus Features)

Hulu Has Oscars Livestreams In Place For Everything But The Main Event

Hulu doesn’t have the family friendly baggage that Disney+ tends to carry in the United States. As such, the potential for edgier content wouldn’t be that much of a stretch for the streaming platform that also already has live TV infrastructure in place. That’s about to be proven in greater detail thanks to the following three events from the 95th Academy Awards already on tap to be livestreamed:

  • Countdown to Oscars 95: The Red Carpet LIVE
  • On The Red Carpet After The Awards
  • On The Red Carpet After Dark

March’s additions to everything new on Hulu seem to have three facets of the Oscars already covered for livestreaming, two of which might not be as widely watched due to the relative lateness of the show. Also, the moments before and after the actual awards ceremony seem less interesting than those that take place during it, which makes the move even more puzzling. 

Somehow, the actual awards show itself seems to only be available on Hulu the day after it airs, but those moments bookending the show are going to be available in real time, no questions asked. It seems rather backwards, and only gets more confusing the more you think about it. Getting closer to the bullseye of missed opportunity is one final note that brings in competing awards shows and their own technological advances. 

Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All At Once

(Image credit: A24)

Other Awards Shows Have Streamed For The Fans Already

Both the Independent Spirit Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards have streamed their gala events through different platforms. In the case of the Independent Spirit Awards, a livestream through YouTube and social media platforms broadcast those proceedings, as opposed to previous years when those honors would be shown on IFC. For the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Netflix actually did something similar thanks to hosting that show on its YouTube channel. For those who watched, there were plenty of exciting and emotional moments at the 2023 SAG Awards.

These other awards shows may not be as big of a deal as the Academy Awards, but the world does tend to keep an eye on them to see if any precursors to Oscars night can be spotted. In fact, the audiences for those events may have grown because of the greater access. As the Oscars have continued to have a problem with nabbing ratings glories of the past, one would think that pivoting to one of ABC’s proprietary streaming services would have been considered. At the very least, this could have been a measure to keep up with the competition.

Maybe at some point Disney will consider moving its big awards show of the year to a more modern platform. As it stands, the 95th Academy Awards will be air on ABC this Sunday, starting at 8:30 PM ET. Though if you do want to catch up on the 2023 Best Picture nominees, you can see the full field through rentals and streaming. 

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.