An Oscar Intervention
For years it’s seemed that the Oscar show, once the Golden Boy of the Hollywood calendar, has lost his shine. Like a washed up star, no longer exciting or relevant, there has been little reason to buy a ticket to this performance. Which is sad. I love the Oscars; the montages, the musical numbers—when they work—and the gowns. Yes, the gowns can almost be reason enough to watch.
The producers of the Oscars know they are in trouble. In a season that’s become bloated with a number of other award shows (Golden Globe, Grammys, Golden Collar, Peoples Choice & Spirit), they are no longer the only gig in town. And last night’s pandering to the experience of going to the movies didn’t call back the joys of the theatre so much as left a whole bunch of those under 30 wondering, huh? What’s a theatre? It’s sad. A show devoted to excellent stories that show, not tell, and they spent the entire night telling.
Here’s my quick and dirty list of 10 ideas for making the Oscars more entertaining, educational and more of an experience.
1-No Hosts: Unlike the Grammys, the demographic spreads far and wide for the Oscars. No host can do justice to every type of entertainment that must be done. And pandering to one extreme or the other (Anne Hathaway for the young, Billy Crystal for the old?) is lame! Why not kill the idea of a host and just have people come up doing what they do best. Want a splashy musical number at the front? Hire Hugh Jackman or Daniel Radcliff to tap their way across the stage. Want gravitas, add Morgan Freeman. Want to go balls out wild? Get Sacha Baron Cohen up there and find out who he channels: Borat, Bruno or the Dictator when it’s time to get the energy up.
2-Let the fans take part: Take a note from a great You Tubea great You Tube project where fans signed up to remake 15 seconds of Star Wars in any way they saw fit, whether animated, with sock puppets or with dogs wearing earmuffs and stitched it together to see the powers of the internet and technology blend together into a certain form of genius. Why not let people send in acceptance speeches for movies that didn’t get nominated or remake a Hollywood classic and see where it goes?
3-Go Global: I could see this great video montage where you see a dozen villagers in a small dusty town in India gathered around a worn out TV watching Titanic, then a young Japanese student on the bullet train watching Fargo on his phone and then a retired couple watching The Artist on a laptop on a boat, and finally a young teenage girl who lives in a trailer park in Oklahoma. She’s in front of a mirror in the bathroom, the Oscars are playing in the background and she’s practicing her Oscar speech and the she morphs into Hillary Swank, who presents an award. Not only do we see how movies are viewed today, but we get to see the dreams they inspire.
4-Educate: If you’re going to give awards for things that nobody understands (like sound mixing), then show us what a movie looks like without it. Oops, they’ve done that, and it only makes the show longer. Scratch that.
5-Create Two Best Categories: Since it looks like it is impossible that a comedy will ever win Best Picture, create a comedy category. Then pictures that people really liked and actually went to the theatres to see, like Bridesmaids, will get the recognition they deserve.
6-More dogs and puppets. The best moments of last night’s show were seeing Kermit and Miss Piggy and Uggie the dog from The Artist. Enough said.
7-Dead Man Watching: Seein the stars who've recently passed is always a bit poignant, a bit surprising (“really, he’s gone?”) and a weird popularity contest where the audience often starts off hard clapping or getting emotional about someone huge and then it tapers off after the first twenty or so. I’m just wondering how it is that Steve Jobs garnered a mention last night. Is he a member of the academy? Not sure if this needs changed or just sped up.
8-Take a Commercial Break: Steal a trick from the Super Bowl and give us some commercials worth watching. For those who never get out to movies, give them a tasty 30 second moment to savor. Isn’t it ironic that a movie awards show has no great mini-movies to watch during the commercials? I thought of this last night when watching the commercial for the Nissan Leaf which was more compelling than most of the show.
9-Shorter, please. For God’s sake, can’t they make the show shorter? Just charge a lot more for the commercials, like they do for the Super Bowl and have fewer commercials. Fewer commercials=shorter air time.
10--Bring back Cher.
There were going to be all sorts of pictures and hyperlinks but blogger and my internet connection here in the Netherlands are in a pissing match for worst behaved, which is leaving my post to suffer.