Friday, March 12, 2010

Mimi Wraps the Oscars® 2010

The ratings for the 82nd Academy Awards® telecast, 7 March 2010, went up this year by 14 percent, totaling nearly 41 million viewers in the U.S. for the entire event, the highest in five years. Seems as though other award shows are also up this year.

Last month’s Super Bowl delivered the largest audience for any program on record (106.5 million), the Grammy Awards hit a six-year high (25.9 million), the American Music Awards drew its largest audience in seven years (14.2 million), while the CMAs and Golden Globes were up as well.

There have been various speculations as to why the Oscars® broadcast was so improved: 1. The Avatar effect; 2. Adding five more best-film nominations, which allowed for more variety in nominations; 3. This year's hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin (good choice); 4. The awards were slightly later than last year, giving the public more of a chance to see the nominated movies; and 5. The economy is bad and people have been staying home watching TV and DVDs, or going to the local movie theater for a night out. What better free entertainment than watching this Hollywood night of nights?

How it went:

The show was about three and one-half hours long. About 30 minutes of that overage was due to presenters and recipients making their way onstage. The females were especially slow in hitting their marks. No wonder, most were walking in spike heels, wearing constricting dresses with those fluffy trains, making the long walk from the wings to the front of the stage to hit their mark very time consuming.

It could go much faster with strategic placements in the sets, and spotlighting the presenter(s). Then, they could make that long walk forward while the honoree is winding through the crowd, the cameras cutting between the presenters and the honorees. This is television, so put the stage, lighting and cameras to better use, please!

Continuity in past shows of having the previous year's winner present an award was broken as "buddies" presented various awards. I think this was a detriment. I don't know about others, but I enjoy seeing the previous winners again. Besides, they received the Oscar, and they have earned the right to present to the following year's winners.

There was one exception I, and others liked. That was Barbra Streisand's grand moment presenting the award to the first female to win best director, Kathryn Bigelow. That was a special history-making moment and Babs was denied the much-deserved Oscar as director of YENTL (1983), so the exception was a nice surprise and added to the pleasures of the evening.

The other presenters did not add much. Enough with the "palsywalsy" presenter thingy, already! It was amazing how little the supposed friends enlightened us about that friend.

The Memorial video presentation was only three and half minutes long, and the images flipped too fast. It had a false start and Patrick Swayze almost got cut out. These people gave their lives to the film industry and they got less than five seconds each?

The list included David Carradine, Howard Zieff, Dom DeLuise, Army Archerd, Ron Silver, Brittany Murphy, Lou Jacobi, Simon Channing-Williams, Betsy Blair, Joseph Wiseman, Kathryn Grayson, Arthur Canton, Nat Boxer (sound) Roy E. Disney (brother of Walt), Horton Foote (writer) Budd Schulberg (writer) Michael Jackson, Natasha Richardson, and Patrick Swayze.

Critic Roger Ebert was the first to note on Twitter that actress Farrah Fawcett was omitted. Shortly, it came to life that so was Bea Arthur and Ed McMahon. Someone mentioned to me that my late friend Ricardo Montalban was missing. No. He died on 14 January last year and was included in last year's memorial. The dates run from telecast to telecast.

I found this quote on E! (Entertainment News) as to why Fawcett was omitted: Academy spokeswoman Leslie Unger told E! News: "No matter how carefully and how conscientiously people address who is included, there are people who just simply can't be."

Asked by E! News why Fawcett was skipped, but Michael Jackson, known mainly for his music, was included, Unger replied: "In any given year there will always be some people that other people think should have been included and that there's more justification for one person versus another. ... It is impossible to include everybody."

Unger didn't help matters with her allusive answer that made it sound as though Fawcett was not worthy of the honors. Why did she not simply say, "Farrah Fawcett's acting was mainly in television, not in movies."

Fawcett was by all accounts a lovely lady and very popular with television audiences, where she did most of her work. She was nominated for many awards, but never won a major one. Almost all of McMahon's and Arthur's work was in television, too. So, anyone disgruntled about these three being overlooked, please take it up with the other academy. You know, the one for television arts and sciences.

I do have four points that I wish to point out:
1. As there has been an uproar over who was remembered in the Memorial and who was not, if there are certain qualification for appearing in the segment, why doesn't the Academy set forth clear guidelines and explain them to the audience?

2. What the heck was that Oscar tribute to John Hughes, anyway? Why was he singled out to get such a memorial salute, and I believe it was the first I have ever seen. Was it an excuse to put Molly Ringwald and Matthew Broderick on camera as an attraction for the "Pretty in Pink" generation?

3. What was with those fluffy, messy debilitating trains so many of the women were wearing? Ladies, the Academy Awards is not your wedding, or the coronation of a queen.

4. What was with most of the ladies wearing their hair in buns stacked somewhere on their heads? Were they auditioning for Jersey Shore 2?

In all fairness to first-time producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman, it was above average for a first attempt. If they stick around, they might want to evaluate the writers, and hire some new ones. I thought the writing over-all, except for the hosts, was weak. Play no favorites, put more snap in the monologues and in the production techniques, and cut out those awkward "group" lineups. Whalah. Next year's show might possibly be marvelous!

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