Gold Derby asked the ultimate authority — Robert Osborne — what he thought of the recent, highly controversial Oscars telecast. Robert not only wrote the official Oscars book, he's the academy's official greeter on the red carpet. Oh, yeah, he's also the host of Turner Classic Movies, of course. Here are his views:
The Oscar show looked good in the theater, but I hear many negatives about the way it played on television. I have several quibbles -- the salute to horror films and thrillers: uninteresting time-waster. Stars coming on en masse to talk about nominees: great idea, but shouldn't they be talking about the actor's nominated performance instead of how cute they are, what a swell fellow, etc.?
Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin: I wanted more of them. The memorial section: cut whatever needs to be cut out of the show (that dance number, the opening number, the explanation of sound editors) and make that a real tribute to the wide range of people who have died -- not just a select few.
Have fewer vague starlets presenting awards and get more genuine stars involved (Javier Bardem as a presenter, not just in the audience with Penelope Cruz; people like Michael Caine, Joan Fontaine, Eva Marie Saint, etc. etc.); there was a frightening lack of star power.
I think the Joan Rivers factor (even though she's no longer on the red carpet) is also becoming more and more of a factor. One major actress (who must go nameless) who entered the back door told me at the Governors' Ball afterward, "Oh, I'd never do the red carpet again. They're not legitimate people anymore. They're 'Extra' and 'Insider' and others of that ilk." She went on to further her complaint: "They try to get you to say something controversial -- you try to be nice and say something interesting, and the next day they go on the air and talk about how badly you're dressed. Who needs it?"
I did notice that except for the nominees, who all did the red carpet, many of those who did have big names who were on the telecast skipped the carpet and sneaked in through the back door -- a far cry from bygone years when everybody did the carpet -- and no one was so rude as to publicly criticize how someone was dressed. (I'm told at one recent event -- not the Oscars -- some "reporters," very young, were asking Robert De Niro that if he were in a "Twilight" movie which role would he want to play. That's the kind of questioning that leads to a lot of actors wanting to skip any red carpet and/or avoid the press altogether.