Connecticut Post (Sunday)

Oscars vs. ‘The Last of Us’: What are you watching Sunday?


Will Joel and Ellie finally reach the doctors in “The Last of Us”? Will Michelle Yeoh take home the Oscar for best actress?

Both questions will be answered this Sunday, but viewers will have to make a choice about which answer they want in real time. The season finale of the HBO hit is up against the live telecast of the Oscars on ABC.

Of course, there’s an opportunit­y to see both. The Oscars begin at 8 p.m. Eastern; “The Last of Us “airs at 9 p.m. Viewers could begin their night watching the Oscars, click over to “The Last of Us,” and return for the ceremony’s last hour. That’s when the biggest categories are usually handed out, but that plan comes with the risk of missing any buzzy, unscripted moments. And if you choose to stick with the Oscars throughout? You risk spoilers on the fate of Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal’s characters.

The debate essentiall­y boils down to zeitgeist, says Robert Thompson, a professor at Syracuse University specializi­ng in media and director for the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture.

“Watching television isn’t just about watching a show . ... It’s about talking about it and putting your two cents in,” Thompson said. “I suspect a lot of people are going to want to talk about ‘The Last of Us,’ and get on their keyboards and talk to others, and all of that kind of thing.”

Thompson says the Oscars have “more to lose” in the match up against the apocalypti­c, mushroom infected zombie video game adaptation.

Last year’s telecast reached an estimated 15.36 million viewers, an improvemen­t from the record low 9.85 million who tuned in to watch in 2021. The Oscars have advertisin­g dollars at stake, which is not something that the premium cable channel HBO has to worry about (although “The Last of Us” did attract a series high of 8.1 million viewers for its penultimat­e episode).

“The Oscars really is a live event, which you really need to watch live to register the ratings for the broadcast. That’s the audience that they’re counting,” Thompson said.

Interestin­gly, HBO did concede to the ratings behemoth that is the Super Bowl, dropping the fifth episode of “The Last of Us” on HBO Max and HBO On Demand early last month, on the Friday before the big game.

The channel aired the episode as the Philadelph­ia Eagles played against the Kansas City Chiefs (for the record: The Chiefs were victorious and that Super Bowl was the third mostwatche­d TV show in history, with an average of 113.1 million people watching, per Nielsen).

The network has no official explanatio­n for that programmin­g move and a publicist for the network said they have “nothing to contribute” on their decision to keep the schedule as is during the Oscars.

So which channel will you watch the internet’s favorite dad on? ABC or HBO?

 ?? Associated Press ?? The 95th Academy Awards, beginning at 8 p.m. Sunday on ABC, left, and the HBO series “The Last of Us,” airing at 9 p.m. Sunday on HBO.
Associated Press The 95th Academy Awards, beginning at 8 p.m. Sunday on ABC, left, and the HBO series “The Last of Us,” airing at 9 p.m. Sunday on HBO.

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