Our modest proposals for the Oscars telecast

Oscars logo

Oscars logo

“It’s just an awards show,” Oscars telecast host Jimmy Kimmel said (as quoted by Deadline: Hollywood and other outlets) about the annual telecast by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

He’s right. With that in mind, here are some modest proposals to make the telecast better. It’s just an awards show, not rocket science or God’s work.

Cut back the lame jokes: A little humor goes a long way. Did we need “mean tweets” (a bit from Kimmel’s ABC late night show)? Did we need the tour bus skit, a bit that went on for what seemed like a long time.

And do we need any skits once it hits 11 p.m. in the Eastern time zone? By that point, the show had been going on for two-and-a-half hours. Yes, the show is being done in California where it’s three hours earlier. But people in the eastern time zone are starting to hit the sack (if they haven’t done so already) by 11 p.m. Time to cut to the chase and get the major awards made.

Maybe lengthen In Memoriam by a whole two minutes: It’s really hard to present all the major actors, directors, writers, etc. in less than three minutes. This year’s edition squeezed in 45 in 2:48.

If the segment were, say, five minutes, you’d still get fans upset about a favorite performer or director being left off. But the audience — it’s just an awards show, remember — really are invested emotionally. Maybe you should throw them a bone.

You remember the audience, don’t you academy? In case you forgot, they are the ones who buy the movie tickets and home video releases that keep your members employed.

With all of the montages and skits, this year’s telecast could easily have filled up five minutes for In Memoriam. If it had been five minutes, you might have been able to note, say, the passing of the director of Goldfinger, or the last surviving star of The Magnificent Seven.

Keep the envelopes with the winners organized: That’s a Mr. Obvious observation but on Monday morning the show — sorry, the “just an awards show” — was mostly being discussed for announcing the wrong Best Picture. Not the kind of publicity one wants, right PricewaterhouseCoopers?

Drop the claim that 1 billion people worldwide watch the Oscars: One, it’s not true. Two, it comes across as particularly silly with all the news accounts about the show’s declining ratings.

8 Responses

  1. AND drop the political editorializing. Actors do not have special training in political science. In fact, on average, they have far less formal education than employees of other professions. We tune in because we love movies. If we want political lectures, there are plenty of sites that offer that. Be professionals. Stick to business!

  2. Your observations/recommendations are spot on. Has anyone noticed lately, the Oscars (and Award Shows) seem to be more about the “people” (as individuals) instead of their art? Meaning more about themselves (including personal opinions) than about the creative pieces being honored. Just seems to me, that Awards Shows of the past (except for rare exceptions) were conducted by dignified and respectful celebrities. They certainly accepted with genuine humility and graciousness, mot entitlement. Perhaps it’s called, in deference to the audience. Including the entire audience, not just a preferred segment of it. And yes, on a Classic TV Network website, at least 52 celebrities were honored in memorial. How did the Oscars pick and choose among those featured, or not? If they couldn’t do them all, they shouldn’t have done any.

  3. re: politicizing. Americans like to be ‘entertained’…. okay fine. BUT, the ARTS, which is what theatre is, and movies ARE part of the theatre realm, and books, and television… all ART FORMS, are NOT and NEVER WERE merely entertainment. The ARTS are where social commentary took place, from the plays of Plato to probably the drawings of the cave dwellers. Art records, reflects, pokes sticks and fun at, the social issues of the day. Artists are THE conscience of a society. They’ve routinely been hated and jailed, stoned and vilified far more often than they’ve been praised, because ART IS the original social media. So instead of bitching how you weren’t titillated and entertained, open your mind and LISTEN, and for God’s sake, for America’s sake, THINK.

  4. Joyce, these people only go by what is fashionable. They don’t care about the truth and they don’t care to hear an opposing view point. They think that Hitler’s successor is the Oval Office. When you are that out of touch with reality, you don’t deserve to be heard.

  5. Disagree, the purpose of Art is not the conscience of a society. How presumptive. To believe that political disagreement (in a free country) “requires” both defense and attack. Guess what? Doing so cancels itself out. An “Art Form” is a creative piece. Like a movie, book, or even a monologue (that one has paid to hear), etc.. The creative thinking is WITHIN that piece, because it is a translation of the artist’s thought. Art is also a “product” because an investment and requires compensation. Individuals (at Awards ceremonies) who happen to be “employed” by an Industry, are treating their every “thought” (viewpoint) as sacred ground. And use a “free” platform to attract attention. Otherwise, why not purchase media time, like any other point of persuasion? Particular people behave as if they are the ones who “need” to be the conscience of society. How untrue. Is crazy thinking. So people have different points of view, fine. Deal with it. Respectfully and succinctly, while moving on. Everybody can draw information from all around them, and form a personal conclusion. Art is NOT the original social media. Social media is exactly what it is today. A “device” (a software program) used to exchange communication. To the degree that everyone has original thoughts, then it can be assumed that everyone is also an artist.

  6. You’re not posting my comments. It there’s a rule about something, it should be clarified.

  7. @Kelley: Your initial comment went, mistakenly, into the spam folder. I found it and posted it.

  8. Thank you, I was just worried that you had a rule about using only real names.

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