And The Loser Is…

They really need to do something with these Academy Awards shows to make them more interesting to watch.

I was looking forward to watching last night because this is the first year in I don’t know how long I saw some of the movies that were up for awards and I wanted to see how my first-hand opinions stacked up against the commanding gospel votes of the Academy. Some of my choices matched, most didn’t, but like anything else, it’s all subjective; the one man’s meat theory and all that. So, who cares, really?

The presentation was obviously scaled down; no huge production numbers, no montages in tribute to one genre or another, even the stage seemed smaller. And speaking of the stage, it was a hideous set; I guess it was a digital mock up of the Hollywood Bowl. But rather than being grand, for such a grand occasion as the Academy Awards, it only seemed cavernous.

Anne Hathaway and James Franco were the hosts of the broadcast which even they mocked was aimed at a younger demographic. Of the two, she did a fine job while he, more often than not looked bored and had an expression on his face like he was doing us all a favor by just being there.

One point that seemed to be self-contradictory was that while still keeping the show ‘politically correct’–in that there are no losers–they went back to saying “And the Oscar goes to…”. I believe last year they dipped their toe into the waters of impropriety by announcing “And the winner is…” But if political correctness is their goal, with the award going to… then the statement I heard several times during the show about how recipients will henceforth forever remembered as Academy Award winner So and So. In that case, So and So should be forever referred to as Academy Award recipient….

Also, get rid of some of those smaller awards. Okay, sorry, I guess there are no small awards; everyone who makes a contribution to a movie wants recognition, but we don’t really need to sit through them all. They have a dinner a week or so prior where “lesser” awards are presented. Do them all there and if necessary, recap those winners on the major broadcast like they used to. Otherwise, why not give awards to best towel boy in the men’s room? Then maybe they can allow time for either something entertaining or cut the show by an hour. And one last note about timing–make everyone’s acceptance speech time the same length. Some winners went on forever before the “get off the stage” music came up while others barely made it to the stage when they were already being told to wrap it up.

And I have one last jab about the show last night. But first, how great was Kirk Douglas coming out to present the Best Supporting Actress award? He was sharp and witty and deservedly received with a standing ovation. And no one seemed to care that he was playfully prolonging making the announcement (interrupting his own announcement with a playful “you know”, as though a second thought had just come to him). It was charming and it was endearing; one of the few remaining nuggets of Hollywood’s Golden age was on stage.

But then… Justin Timberlake came out to present whatever it was with whomever it was, he had the pomposity to emulate the Hollywood icon, blurting out one of Douglas’ “you know”’s before he opened the envelope. I found it audacious and distasteful.  How dare he insinuate himself to such stature?

I don’t know if it was planned (it had to have been, I’m sure) but I like the way the show opened and closed to backdrops from Hollywood’s definitive year–1939. First with the orchestra swelling into Tara’s Theme from Gone With The Wind as Tom Hanks came out to present the first award to the finale with P.S. 22 from Staten Island singing Over The Rainbow with a backdrop of the yellow brick road leading to the Emerald City, so emblematic for the crowd of winners who also took the stage behind the singers.

All in all, I thought the show was a snoozefest, except for when my choices for whichever awards ended up winning.

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