Sunday, March 13, 2011

EW Writes About Fixing the Oscars


It seems that one analysis of the 83rd Academy Awards will not suffice. I came to this conclusion after I read the article in the March 11th issue of Entertainment Weekly (EW). [#1145, March 11, 2011, “How to Fix the Oscars,” page 44]

Number one on their list was also my main suggestion in my previous post, which was to go back to five best picture nominees. Yes! See, Chewing the Oscars: Getting Down and Dirty.

Next, EW dealt with the hosts, and we are pretty much on the same wave length here. Franco and Hathaway were too young and inexperienced, and the material they were given was not up to the usual standard for hosts. It all showed, big time.

EW suggested that Tina Fey and Will Farrell host the show. Emphatically, I DO NOT agree. The Oscar broadcast should not be a circus joke fest, although the broadcast is listing in that direction.

I mentioned Billy Crystal as an example of a contemporary host of exemplary quality. They mention two others, which I should have but neglected to mention, Hugh Jackman and Steve Martin. All of them did an excellent job helming the Oscars.

In the suggestion “Stop Chasing Your Youth,” EW points out that people do not watch the Oscars to constantly be reminded as to how “hip” the Academy is with technology.  I took it much further in my post than they.

I think most viewers tune in to watch the Oscars because their favorite movie star and/or one of the movies they saw during the year is nominated for something. They enjoy the “horse race” and want to be a part of it. Heck, they probably have 25 bucks, or more, in the office pool riding on their choices to win. They want to root for their choices, and gloat when they have picked a winner.

I was giving "Oscar Parties" in Los Angeles long before the Academy ever designated their Oscar Night Parties. Someone passed it on to them, and I am happy they did. We can all still enjoy our private parties with our friends and families.

EW suggests something to wake up the audience in mid-show. I agree. As I pointed out, after 20-something acceptance speeches all of which could be given for any winner simply by changing the names, we need something stimulating.

They suggest something like Woody Allen’s salute to NYC after 9/11. I suggested in my previous post, and still do, a mini salute to the individual given the year’s Lifetime Achievement Oscar at the un-televised Governor’s Ball. I’m still smarting because that has been completely removed from the Oscar Broadcast.

I suggest, no statue, no speeches. The receiver is introduced by some hot star of today, reminding the audience how great this individual once was, and the honoree takes a spotlight bow to hearty applause.

I do agree, and I missed writing about this in the previous post, that all short films should be removed and honored elsewhere. I go to commercial movie theaters fairly regularly and in different places. It has been decades since I have seen a movie short of any kind run at a theater. Perhaps in city art houses they still have one evening when they show the nominated short films, but not in Peoria.

For those not in the know, many years ago when a movie project was pitched to producers or a studio head, they would ask, “But, will it play in Peoria?” 

Someone, I have forgotten who, determined that Peoria, Illinois, was the perfect example of middle-class America. I doubt short films are shown in Peoria. Perhaps they should be included in the evening when the student film awards are presented.

EW suggests some other things, too, such as moving the broadcast back to January, but then they admit that the logistics, in relation to the awards season in general, would be a nightmare. That it would. Why did they suggest it in the first place?

EW thinks there should be a rule that costars do not present. I agree. I would add, unless the costar won the Academy Award the year before in the category he/she is presenting.

They urge the Academy pay attention to the Grammy’s which gives only 10 awards. I agree. There are too many awards that are not relevant to today's viewers.

In days gone by during the Golden Age of Hollywood (1920’s to mid-1950s) the Academy gave the awards at and for the pleasure of the Academy members, which were broadcast by radio. With the advent of national television. they began to give the awards to pleasure the entire nation. Now, in this century, they are taking on the world, and that is a huge responsibility. Are they living up to the task?

Personally, I do not think so. If the awards are going to be for the world to enjoy, there is big room for improvement, and it would not necessarily involve whiz bang technology. However, that is another post for another year.

EW did not mention the revolving producers in the last five years, as I did, but this is the last I shall write about this year’s Oscars. Promise! The first words for next year’s Oscars? Think:
Kevin Spacey.

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