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How to fix the Oscars: No more rented TV clowns from NYC!

February 27, 2008 |  3:45 pm

While I enjoyed reading Patrick Goldstein's terrific tirade against the Oscarcast, I think a certain concession must be made to the fact that Hollywood's annual high holy event is a lot like church. Sometimes the priest changes, but it's basically the same dull show all the time. But that's what church is supposed to be. Painful. It's good for the soul. And I can't think of a group of people more needing punishment and redemption than those rascally Hollywooders.

Patrick urges: "The show could add star appeal by doing interviews with stars preparing for the big show the following night, playing fun clips from the Independent Spirit Awards or having a live remote from an industry Saturday-night party."


No! There's already enough of that silly babble from airhead celebs on the red-carpet pre-shows. I say let's lock the door and keep that outside, please. Inside, there's a real awards show going on. Is it too much to ask that the most important award show of all take itself seriously and not turn itself into a Vegas act like the Grammys and MTV awards, which Patrick recommends?

"The technical awards — sound editing, sound mixing, visual effects, makeup and costume design — have to go," he adds. "No one outside of the academy wants to hear acceptance speeches from people they've never heard of, no matter how heartfelt."

Actually, many do. If the others don't like it, tough beeswax. They can do what Patrick did: TiVo the whole thing and just skip over the parts they don't want to watch. I think it's great that the academy dares to put the spotlight on the deserving, unseen heroes behind the tinsel.

As for Patrick's suggestion to hand over the telecast's production to ESPN hipsters: wrong! About 20 years ago the Emmys gave the ceremony to those hip producers of "Saturday Night Live," who delivered a few fun moments, but otherwise turned it into a variety show of ho-hum skits. It was hard to find the Emmys in the mix.

Yes, the Oscars need to add more edgy comedy, lots of it, but they know that and have done so in the past. This time they had eight days to toss a show together.

The most urgent thing they need to do is to stop bringing in those rented TV clowns from New York to host the show. What do Jon Stewart, Chris Rock or David Letterman have to do with serious Hollywood moviemaking? Why not let esteemed, quick-witted and warm-hearted members of the clan preside over their family reunion, like Will Smith, Steve Carell, Tom Hanks, Jim Carrey, Jack Black, Will Ferrell or George Clooney? The whole world would be back tuning in the Oscarcast, cheering, if everybody knew that Will Smith would be goosing the show!