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Oscars 2022: Natalie Barr criticised for 'awkward' red carpet reporting


Sunrise presenter Natalie Barr has been criticised by media insiders for her coverage of the Oscars, with some labelling her performance ‘awkward’.

The journalist, 54, was flown over to Los Angeles to cover the A-list arrivals for Hollywood’s night of nights after Seven secured exclusive live coverage of the event.

The feedback on online forum Media Spy, where TV professionals like to share their unfiltered opinions on industry matters, was generally negative, with several insiders saying the news veteran was out of her depth on the red carpet.

However, some defended Barr, saying she did her best in difficult circumstances and pointing out that red carpets can be notoriously tricky for foreign media.

Mixed reception: Sunrise presenter Natalie Barr has been criticised by media insiders for her coverage of the Oscars, with some labelling her performance 'awkward'

Mixed reception: Sunrise presenter Natalie Barr has been criticised by media insiders for her coverage of the Oscars, with some labelling her performance ‘awkward’ 

One forum user said it was obvious from her reporting for Sunrise and The Morning Show ‘she’s not a die-hard movie fan’.

The same insider suggested Sunrise’s NYC-based showbiz reporter Nelson Aspen should have been centre stage with Barr anchoring the show from Sydney.

‘If they must have her there, she should be co-hosting with Nelson Aspen. Nelson has better relationships with celebs,’ they said. 

Divided: The feedback on Media Spy, a forum where TV professionals share their unfiltered opinions on industry matters, was generally negative. Some users suggested Seven's NYC-based showbiz reporter Nelson Aspen (left) should have been centre stage with Barr anchoring the show from Sydney. (Right: Seven's U.S. bureau chief Ashlee Mullany)

Divided: The feedback on Media Spy, a forum where TV professionals share their unfiltered opinions on industry matters, was generally negative. Some users suggested Seven’s NYC-based showbiz reporter Nelson Aspen (left) should have been centre stage with Barr anchoring the show from Sydney. (Right: Seven’s U.S. bureau chief Ashlee Mullany)

Another user added: ‘Her segments this morning really gave off the “fish out of water” vibes. She just seemed really awkward and didn’t know how to handle presenting in a red carpet situation.’

One critic questioned the decision by Seven management to send Barr to the Academy Awards in the first place, asking: ‘Do we really need to have an anchor of any shows go to LA for the Oscars?’

Another added: ‘It just feels weird having their main host (a journalist who’s known for major breaking news coverage) to cover fluffy entertainment stuff.

‘Surely they could’ve let Ashlee Mullany [Seven’s U.S. bureau chief] cover it or just let Nelson Aspen do it all?’

That's awkward! Perhaps the most toe-curlingly awkward moment for Barr came when she tried to grab an interview with tennis player Venus Williams

That’s awkward! Perhaps the most toe-curlingly awkward moment for Barr came when she tried to grab an interview with tennis player Venus Williams

However, she also had plenty of supporters, with several noting how difficult red carpets can be, even for seasoned journalists like Barr.

‘I don’t doubt she’s a quality broadcaster and interviewer but on this occasion for whatever reason, it just looked like she wasn’t in her best form,’ one said.

‘Perhaps it’s her first time at the Oscars and they usually send Eddy [Edwina Bartholomew] over so I guess it’s fair that she might not be accustomed to everything right from the get go.’

Another agreed, writing: ‘Those red carpet slots would be a bloody nightmare I reckon – squished in and still early in the day LA time as well…’

Cringe: After Venus arrived at the star-studded event, Barr repeatedly yelled her name out and said she was from Australia in a bid to get her attention

Cringe: After Venus arrived at the star-studded event, Barr repeatedly yelled her name out and said she was from Australia in a bid to get her attention

Perhaps the most toe-curlingly awkward moment for Barr came when she tried to grab an interview with tennis player Venus Williams.

After Venus arrived at the star-studded event, Barr repeatedly yelled her name out and said she was from Australia in a bid to get her attention.

Following several failed attempts, she held out a packet of Tim Tams and offered the athlete a chocolate biscuit as an inducement to speak to her.

But Venus walked off before eventually returning to chat to the Entertainment Tonight hosts, who were standing right next to Barr.

Trying hard! Barr desperately held out a packet of Tim Tams and offered Venus a biscuit as an inducement to speak to her. (Left: The Morning Show hosts Larry Emdur and Kylie Gillies)

Trying hard! Barr desperately held out a packet of Tim Tams and offered Venus a biscuit as an inducement to speak to her. (Left: The Morning Show hosts Larry Emdur and Kylie Gillies)

Embarrassing! Venus walked off before eventually returning to chat to the Entertainment Tonight hosts, who were standing right next to Natalie

Embarrassing! Venus walked off before eventually returning to chat to the Entertainment Tonight hosts, who were standing right next to Natalie

This is the first time Barr has hosted the Oscars.

She described herself on air as a ‘rookie’ but said covering the Oscars red carpet was something she’d ‘always wanted to do’.

Last week, she said she was excited to report on the star-studded event.

Opportunity: This is the first time Barr has hosted the Oscars. She described herself on air as a 'rookie' but said covering the Oscars red carpet was something she'd 'always wanted to do'

Opportunity: This is the first time Barr has hosted the Oscars. She described herself on air as a ‘rookie’ but said covering the Oscars red carpet was something she’d ‘always wanted to do’

‘I’ve covered floods, fires, elections and terror attacks,’ she said.

‘So to frock up and head to the biggest red carpet of them all is going to be different, exciting and a whole lot of fun!’

Ratings have been steadily worsening for the Oscar TV broadcast over the last 10 years, with 2021 hitting an all-time low of just 10.4 million viewers globally.

Oscars glamour: Nicole Kidman and husband Keith Urban attended the Oscars in Los Angeles

Oscars glamour: Nicole Kidman and husband Keith Urban attended the Oscars in Los Angeles

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