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  • 24 February 2013, 8:36

Oscars: Still Top Of The Hollywood Heap?

Hollywood's awards season seems to get longer and longer - but industry experts insist the Oscars is the one that counts the most.

It kicks off with the Golden Globes, eases into the various guild honours and whips through the Baftas before finishing with the flourish of the Academy Awards.

But has that months-long procession of gowns and statuettes begun to take away from the glamour of Tinseltown's biggest night?

Quite the opposite, say industry experts.

"The cacophony of awards has only made Oscar bigger and brighter," Steven Gaydos, the executive editor of industry magazine Variety, told Sky News.

"It's the opposite of diminishing it. It's proven that it's the one that counts the most.

"You reach past the other awards for the Oscar, you don't reach past the Oscar for the other awards."

Ruth Hilton, the founder of the Hilton Media Group, agrees.

"The Oscars are the biggest event in the showbiz calendar hands down," she said.

What has changed in recent years has been the public's relationship with Hollywood as a whole.

Entertainment magazines and celebrity websites make people feel like insiders in a way they never did before, Mr Gaydos says.

Ten years ago, the Screen Actors Guild Awards would not have raised a blip on the entertainment radar. Now they are among the most-watched awards shows of the year.

This year's Golden Globes and Grammys grabbed the highest ratings they have had in years.

Perhaps as a result of this newfound competition, Oscars organisers have clearly stepped up their efforts to help keep their place at the top of the Hollywood heap.

This year's choice of host in Seth MacFarlane - the creator of the limit-pushing comedy Family Guy - will bring younger viewers who might have previously dismissed the Academies as their parents' type of broadcast.

"The presenter makes a big difference," Ms Hilton told Sky News. "Seth is kind of an interesting and brave choice for them."

She added: "(Organisers) are realising that people aren't just watching an awards show because it is what it is. They have to put some effort into it too and make it entertaining and make it successful."

MacFarlane himself seems up to the task of entertaining the masses.

He recently said: ''The Oscars does have a history of taking itself so deadly seriously. And while it obviously is a ceremony that's important to the people involved, you know we're not curing cancer here."

Any worries he might shock audiences, as Ricky Gervais famously did hosting the Golden Globes, were dismissed by Oscars producer Neil Meron.

"Seth is Seth and we love him," he said.

Co-producer Craig Zadan added: "We're not going to be surprised by anything. We're totally cool about it."

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