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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."

Will_smith

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!

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Comments

If you want to see how the Oscars are perceived overseas then go view the French 'Le Grand Journal' website. This is an entertainment program ( much like our E channel) on France's largest cable channel, Canal+. They view the Oscars as a BIG deal. Winning an Oscar to them is like winning an Olympic Gold medal. It is a source of national pride and joy. Even members of the governments weigh in on the results !! And this is true in all European and Asian countries. It is only here that we have become jaded. Why? Because we are tired of seeing the Oscars being used as a poltical soapbox. The public does not want to see highly paid celebs trashing our country. By the way, you will never see that happen in a European awards ceremony, least of all in France.
We want to see enthusiasm. The joy of victory. Go look at pictures of the enthusiastic Oscar winners like Day-Lewis and Cottiard. Notice the smiles on the faces of the people standing in the background. They are beaming because the winners are beaming. That makes us all happy. Do we want to see frowns ?? It has nothing to do with celebs being out of touch with the needs of the 'common man'. These are entertainers. I dont require them to be in touch with my needs. If I want someone to 'feel my pain' Ill write my Congressman. During the Great Depression ( not unlike now), the people flocked to the Oscar ceremonies in movie theatres. This was our escape. The celebs back then were just as rich, just as well dressed and made up as now. We didnt hold that against them. On the contrary it gave us hope. The enthusiasm made us happy and was contagious. It helped drive away the fear. But if instead they had behaved the way celebs do today and turned the Oscars into just another forum for political expositions then how would it have been any different than anything else? No one would have paid attention to the Oscars.
So, lets do what the Europeans do. Make the Oscars a BIG deal with all the splash and glamour and prestige it should have. The more the better. Keep the Oscars the world benchmark ( and the award that all countries aspire to win) of film awards.

I'm not saying duds should be nominated. I think well-made movies should.

I'm just asserting that the ratings are directly tied to the movies the people have seen. Either the Academy needs to recognize quality movies and face low ratings, or they need to recognize crap movies and get high ratings.

It goes back to Tom's point about why not move the Oscars to April when the writer's strike threatened. Is the awards show about the industry or about making good tv??? If it is about the industry, ratings should not matter!

If the Academy's 5 Best Pics this year lined up with the public's favorite five, it would be...

Juno (good choice, I agree)
and 4 really stupid movies!

Why can't little-seen movies be nominated? Their cast and crews put in as much effort as those behind such box-office duds as NORBIT and I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY

It doesn't matter who hosts or what clips they show or anything.

Ratings only go up when interesting movies that people have actually seen are nominated.

If "Ratatouille" and "Bourne Ultimatum" had been nominated for best pic, there would have been more people watching. The public did not connect with any of the nominated movies.

The biggest year was "Titanic". I don't even remember who hosted...because it doesn't matter. It is the movies that matter...and the Academy needs to desperately get in line with the viewing public and not the critics.

"This time they had eight days to toss a show together. "

Yes, after almost two months of pronouncements from Ganis and Cates that AMPAS had a business-as-usual "Plan A" ready to run the minute the strike ended, assertions that the telecast hardly supported. For something tossed together in 8 days, it was okay, Stewart had his moments, but, given prior assurances from on high, considering that it was the 80th anniversary show, with the exception of some recipient speeches and a few bits (the troops presenting, the "Once" duet, Stewart bringing Markéta back), Sunday night was average when it wasn't feeble.

Patrick Goldstein's suggestions couldn't save the Oscars any more than Britney could save her own career (oh my, she has a career?)...Yes, Oscars need some overhaul, but behind the scenes crap in no way is the way to go. It's time for the Academy do some experimenting like presenting the technical awards (i.e. art direction, costume, sound mixing, editing, sound editing, visual effects, make-up) at the Scientific Awards held the previous weekend before Oscars. I know the tech people want their time in front of the TV but face it, we the viewing public don't really care to watch these tech people on TV. Like with Scientific awards, an announcement can be made of the winners, applause, applause and on with the show. The Grammys, Tonys and Emmys do this because there's too many categories to cover and there's not enough TV time to present all awards. If the Academy goes this route, it can reduce the show down to 2-2 1/2 hours. Also, do we really need the president of the Academy to say a few words..how about if he appears first at the beginning just to greet everyone and nothing more.."Good evening, I'm president Sid Ganis and welcome to the annual Academy Awards. Is a 10 minute opening monologue really necessary? How about cutting it down to 2-3 minutes? Lifetime Achievement Awards should only take 5 minutes flat and includes the recipient's speech. Some of these recipients can go on and on about themselves...it's not pretty. No Commercials--do it like KTLA does for the Rose Parade..announce the sponsors at the beginning and no commercials throughout the program. The Academy can try all the hipness and trendiness it could muster but its not always going to produce a ratings winning production. I think AMPAS needs to examine past Oscars and see which ones worked and why...If the Oscars is one big party, then the Academy should make it feel like one and invite everyone in...just like the Golden Globes which is a much looser affair. And one more thing also the latest "it" girl a la Miley Cyrus or Diablo Cody can't save Oscar...so stop having the "it" person from presenting as a cheap ratings ploy...Also it would help if these winners were more animated or excited about winning...some spontaneous ranting or "profanity" slip-ups would add life to this stuffy party....

didi,

The Oscarcast is dull and drab as it is. You need a comedian to keep it from becoming the Daytime Emmys.

Imagine that 2hour block of tech categories, without a comedian in between breaks. It'd be unwatchable.

Do they always have to be comedians? Is there a decree in the Academy that has that in blood?


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