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How To Fix The Oscars Ceremony- For Real.

 photo courtesy blogzap2it


photo courtesy blogzap2it

 

Seth MacFarlane- le pauvre.  (Of course, he’s not- at all.)  But he bravely stepped up to the plate to take the best job nobody wants:  Oscar host.

Despite his bad reviews, I think he did a decent job.  His ideas were original, and the most offensive joke of the night wasn’t even his, it was a tweet from “The Onion”.  Perhaps being reminded of the great comedy duos Alec Baldwin & Steve Martin and Anne Hathaway & James Franco will remind the critics that it could have been much worse.

I thought the opening was strong and original.  (I wished all the Best Picture nominees had sock puppet interpretations!)  Then I realized the show was becoming a chore to watch as it does every year; it started to sag like an old mattress in the middle.

But as I was doing ma toilette way past my bedtime, it hit me how to fix the show.

The fault is not in the host (excepting those aforementioned), it’s in the structure of the show.

The Academy needs to realize that this is an event for the movie-going public, not an insider party they graciously let us watch.

Remember the segment where the beautiful young actress highlights the technical awards ceremony they hosted the week earlier?  Why did they do that?  Because the audience doesn’t care about technical awards.  They didn’t even include this segment this year.

Many of the categories included in the broadcast should be relegated to this non-broadcast ceremony.

I mean no disrespect to those creative, exceptional talents that do the real work behind the scenes.  They are essential parts of the entire filmmaking process and deserve the awards and recognition they receive from their peers.  But one billion people are not watching around the world to see who will win for best sound editing.

Some of the technical winners this year looked like they traveled to the ceremony from Middle Earth.  Their speeches are long because they have so many people to thank; it takes more than a village to do their jobs.  Big time-suck.  This is why the show runs four hours every year.

I suggest they award only the following categories:  Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Screenplay (original and adapted) Best Foreign Film, Best Documentary, Best Animated Film, and Best Original Song.

That’s it.

Cut the shorts, the score, the editors ,the mixers, the costumes and essentially every category that doesn’t have a potential celebrity nominee.  Those awards can be part of the non-broadcast ceremony.

Ultimately, the Oscars broadcast is not about the awards, but entertainment.  We like the comedy bits that open the show- there should be more of that.  The In Memoriam segment should be longer and not include behind the scenes executives and technicians who aren’t recognized by those outside of the industry.  By all means these people should be honored, but not during the broadcast.  This segment should include actors. directors, producers, and screenwriters we know by name like Andy Griffith, and maybe by face like Lupe Ontiveros, or maybe by work like Zalman King (producer of 9½ Weeks) all of whom were omitted.  Those remembered should be limited to those who have to do with movies, not musicians, journalists, or TV stars.

For those who enjoy seeing the Best Song nominees being performed, make it a medley.

Presenters should be past winners, not actors with projects to promote .  Why else would Jennifer Aniston be presenting?

Winners should be relieved of the obligation of having to thank their agents, managers, lawyers, etc. Those people enjoy and expect to have their names announced, but in truth it only matters to a small subset of people in the industry, the number of whom is minuscule compared to the billion people who don’t care.  Let the winners give the kind of heartfelt speeches we always hope for.  I can still remember being moved as a kid by Dustin Hoffman’s acceptance speech for winning Best Actor for Kramer vs. Kramer.

The Academy can create special gold stationery with which they can write thank you notes.  Wouldn’t that mean more in the long run?

As far as finding the right host, think host, not comedian or actor.  Bruce Vilanch and his team can take care of the funny.

 

 

 

About 

This site was borne of my passion for movies, particularly French films. I have spent time in France and am fluent in the language, hence the “le”. The “snob” part, while of French origin, is not meant to intimidate, but rather an effort to reclaim the word from the pretentious, just as the gay community has done with the word “queer.” We’re all snobs; we all like what we like.

4 comments

  1. Ok Barbie–I do agree with you on just about everything in connection with trying to make the Oscars better. However, the host is one area that could really use improvement. MacFarland, in my opinion, just didn’t cut it. He was like a little kid trying to hard to be part of the cool clique. In all honesty, I haven’t seen anyone laugh at their own jokes since the days of Red Skelton and his TV show. Some of the stuff was ok–the boob song was cute–but everything else just fell short. I truly think a lot of the failure is the horrific writing. We, the audience sitting at home, look forward to Oscar night–we love the fashions–who looks like crap? Who looks great. She’s wearing WHAT?????? It always gives me pleasure to look at a botoxed face that doesn’t move and a celebrity with a worse hair day than mine. I get giddy every time Anne Hathaway opens her mouth because she is so socially inept–I love it!
    That being said. Get rid of the “actorrrrrs” speeches. I would love for any actor to come up to receive their award and NOT thank their family..or god…or their paperboy. I would have a ton of respect for any actor who thanked themselves for the hard work and sacrifices they, themselves made. Your kids didn’t act, and neither did your spouse/better half. YOU did. Take credit for it and thank the damn academy and exit the stage gracefully.
    In addition, I remember being a kid and loving Bob Hope as a host. His jokes poked fun at his fellow actors, but in a classy way. Neither sophmoric nor damning–just funny. THAT is what is needed. A funny and classy host. Personally, I think Crystal and Goldberg should come back as hosts—or Midler–or Martin..or yes–even Gervais.
    I’m glad you touched upon this subject. Keep up the great work!!!
    Cathe

    • Merci Catherine. I’m so grateful to have you as a fellow Movie Snob. I remember reading that Marlene Dietrich hoped one day an actor would accept their award and only say “Thank you.” While I’m over Ricky Gervais (I think his great night at the Golden Globes was a one-off), just when I saw you type Martin, I got it. How about Martin Short, non?

      • Catherine Wynne

        Barbie: Martin Short–Huge “Oui”. My son works on the crew of SNL and said he was one of THE nicest guests hosts ever. I do think he would be funny and a tad snarky but in a non-offensive way!

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