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A big lover of all types of media, from Movies to Video Games, Books to Music, Television to Stage.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Late Oscars Review, And How To Fix Them

After yet another lovely bout of food poisoning, I'm here to say not a whole hell of a lot about the Oscars.

First off, I'm not going to list all the winners.  Either you watched the telecast or you didn't, and if you didn't then you had all day yesterday to scan through numerous media outlets to find out the results.  So if you are looking for a list of who won what race, go forth and hunt on a site that published the news yesterday.  I wasn't actually going to write the entire list out anyway; announcing the nominees is a news event, but listing the winners is something that airs on television for over three hours and as such is more a televisual event, and isn't much to do with movies apart from the basic subject matter.

Secondly, everyone is slamming James Franco and Anne Hathaway for their hosting duties being a range of negative things, from uninspired to boring.  I need to weigh in on this, so here's the skinny:  EVERY OSCAR SHOW IS BORING!  I can't remember when it hasn't been!  I don't care if it is Billy Crystal, Bob Hope, anyone...the show DRAGS!  The problem, however, has nothing to do with the hosts.  The problem is the awards that regular people don't give a damn about, combined with thank you speeches from people we've never heard of.  Don't get me wrong, it isn't that we ultimately don't care about who the guy holding the light steady on one side of Helen Mirrin's face for that one scene where she's talking to that one guy before they do that stuff; it is more that we appreciate that the shot was lit well subconsciously - we don't need to hear him thank his wife, a bunch of people who got him the job, the director for telling him what wattage bulb to use, and the guy who put the tape on the floor to make sure he stayed still while the camera was rolling in order to make that appreciation known.  The Academy gets copies of all the documentaries, all the foreign films, and all the shorts to view before they vote.  Tell me, how many of us saw any short this year other than the one from Pixar tied to "Toy Story 3?"  Exactly.  And that is why we don't really care very much which Animated Short got a little golden statue that closely resembled Aunt Jemima in the sense that in some shots it looked as though it was filled with syrup.

I don't have anything against the Oscar telecast, or awards shows in general, but lay the boring blame at the feet of the people who really deserve it:  Whoever chooses which awards to broadcast.  I don't know about anyone else, but I'd be fine with the show consisting of exactly these segments:  Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Movie, Best Documentary, Best Original Screenplay, Best Adapted Screenplay, a lifetime achievement award, the In Memoriam segment, and the performing and result of Best Song.  That's it.  That would cut the show down to about two hours.  Manageable for the talent in the theatre, as they have more time for parties and less time not drinking; better for the viewing audience since there isn't as much superfluous crap to sit through; better for advertisers as there will be less chance of people hating their ads due to repetition.  It's all good for everyone.  Oh, and the other awards that usually fill the time during the awards show?  Well, since they have no trouble showing just a quick clip of the technical awards, lump them in with them and broadcast that particular ceremony on a secondary station, like E!.  That way, if there really is someone who gives a damn about those awards, they can still see them - but you are no longer inflicting this joyless boredom on the rest of us who couldn't care less.

For my personal opinion, I thought Anne was great, both during the telecast and in the introductory short beforehand.  James Franco, however, did bother me due to what I determined to be an incredible lack of sleep.  He looked slightly drugged, and if he was perhaps he should have been.  I don't, however, think the show was poor as a result of the two of them hosting.  I really don't think they could have done much more than they did.  When they were required onstage, just as Billy Crystal would have been, they hit their marks, got their jokes off, and introduced the next presenters just fine.  That's all they are supposed to do, and there was nothing wrong with what they did, so lay off.  If you want to get pissed about something not handled well, why not slam the In Memoriam part of the evening.  It was one thing to have him snubbed by the Screen Actor's Guild award show, but to have the Oscars also forget to put Corey Haim in the memorial clips?  That to me is a huge problem, and I hope someone gets fired for it.  Not because I loved Corey Haim, not because I'm Canadian and so was he, not because I knew him in any way, shape or form.  No, I want someone fired because the In Memoriam tribute is meant to be that: a final tribute to those who made the films we love and are entertained by, and often a reminder of those the community has lost.  Leaving ANYONE out who has been on screen and made an impact should have been remembered.  The guy did "Silver Bullet," "Lucas," and "The Lost Boys" for crying out loud!  Old movies, yes, but did they have an impact?  Hell yes they did!  They must have, or a recent reality television show would never have been created (I'm not saying "The Two Coreys" was any good, but it does show that at least one other person thought Haim was worth more than being ignored after his passing).

So, let's take stock here.  Shorten the show by removing awards that bore the audience from being televised, remember EVERYONE who passed away in any given year (Haim was not the first forgotten celebrity), and don't hire a host who needs to get some rest.  That's it.  That is how you'd get glowing reviews from an Oscar telecast these days, and if that formula isn't followed then you get what you deserve.

As to the actual winners on Sunday night, I have to say I'm pleased as punch that "The King's Speech" took home Best Picture and Best Actor.  Out of all the movies up for the biggest prize that I haven't seen, it is by far the one I'm most interested in, and Colin Firth deserves the big recognition as well.  I just wish Geoffrey Rush had gotten Best Supporting Actor along with him.  As to the other winners, well, good for you.  I think Julianne Moore was robbed of a nomination for "The Kids Are Alright."  I also think "Inception" received exactly the awards it deserved, those being visual based.

So that's it for my review of the Academy Awards broadcast this year.  Until next time, keep the popcorn warm.


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