Oscars/Academy Awards: The Fixing Debate


Pic taken from hive.slate.com

Pic taken from hive.slate.com

People have all sorts of ideas for how they want to make the Oscars less boring, but let’s face it: we’re going to argue over every new aspect that makes the cut. Something, of course, should be done with the program. It could have entertained spectators, say in the ‘70s, but our attention span has diminished considerably over the years. What’s more, the ceremony is supposed to be a celebration of movies, not a means for power and influence in the industry. And sadly, it is. Ideally, the Academy would let all that go and accept the fact that it isn’t what it should be today. Other than it being boring, it is also politically motivated. Frustrating, I know.

Poor Leo

This guy will probably never win an Oscar. A damn shame.

There are two ways this can go down. The Academy could take radical measures by completely changing the format, or they can attempt a more subtle approach. Whatever the case, not everyone will be on board with the changes made.

Case in point: Mallika Rao wrote an article in the Huffington Post, where she gives her ideas for spicing up the Oscars. But, I’ve got to disagree with her on some of her points. What she finds boring, others (re: me) actually find entertaining.

2013-02-06-photo

Her breakdown:

THE HOST

Reduce his—or her (but let’s be real here, it’s Hollywood)—screen time OR have the host serve more as a master of ceremony instead of a comedian telling jokes.

I kind of like the idea of thinking of the host in a new way. They don’t always have to be funny (a few quips here and there wouldn’t hurt though). But just like in a wedding, the host has to keep us engaged. Charisma is what’s needed. And funny. Yeah, we need a funny host. Keep that in.

THE SPEECHES

Keep the thank you’s to a minimum.

Mallika references Jeremy Boxer’s idea of having the thank you list pre-recorded and heard as the filmmaker or actor walks up to the stage. Um. That’s weird. Plus, people will always forget somebody. “I’d like to add my assistant to the list.” OR “I want to say thank you again to Mom and Dad because…” No one wins in that case. Plus, films are made up of so many elements and so many people who help in every department, that it’s unfair to cut out the awardees’ gratitude to the people involved. Isn’t that the whole point? In fact, they should just suck it up and not play the music so early on. It doesn’t take one person to make a film, it takes dozens—or in Hollywood’s case, hundreds. So thanks are definitely in order.

Mallika also talks about a scorecard idea from journalist Henry Alford, which I still don’t get. “Run tiny icons of Harvey Weinstein, Sam Mendes, all the dialects coaches, etc. on a banner; each time someone thanks, say, Harvey, the Harvey icon’s head would swell with volume.” Nope, sorry. I don’t want tacky icons on the screen as I’m watching the show.

THE PRESENTERS

Cut down on presenters’ time by filming them in advance.

Here, the author wants to give way with presenters reading off of cue cards, or well, prompters. I agree that filming them in advance could create a more dynamic presentation of the nominees. (Let’s not use Alford’s suggestion, though, of Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry presenting Best Sound from the womens’ bathroom at Grand Central. I think having them somehow illustrate the complexities of sound design and sound mixing–say, talking over a race car and then “fixing” the sound so that the person could eventually be heard–could prove more effective.) But, then there’s the issue of showing the nominees and/or the award they’re going up for (e.g., the scene that shows off an actor’s chops for the Best Actor category). It could work if they replace the rambling in the beginning (the jokes before they name the nominees) with a prerecording. Then, they could just follow the same format, all while  showing off their fancy tux and dress.

IN MEMORIAMS

Cut out the In Memoriams completely.

Is she mad?! It’s one of the highlights of the show. Do I really have to get into why this should stay?

 MUSICAL NUMBERS

Cut out the musical numbers completely.

Well, that’s bold. I disagree completely. Just make them better. How, you say? Adele performing “Skyfall,” for one. But that’s rare, and it has been years since the Oscars have given us something to look forward to with the musical numbers. Other ideas? I don’t have them. But, I’m pretty sure we can come up with better ways to spice up the musical numbers than eliminating them for good.

OTHER GEMS

BEST PICTURE: Reduce from 10 (this year it’s only 9) to 5.

I agree, but what I don’t agree with is critic Sasha Stone’s choice of the ‘real’ five (Lincoln, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook, and Amour) and the ‘faux’ four (Argo, Les Miserables, Zero Dark Thirty, and Django Unchained).

Umm… What?

AUDIENCE CHOICE: Have a category for audience’s choice, specifically on something like Best Dressed.

Is this a fashion awards show? No. Didn’t think so. The only fashion award given out that night should deal with Best Costume Design and Makeup & Hairstyling. Save the fashion trophy for E!

TIMING: Cut the show in half by cutting out the first few awards

Well, then. First, who’s to say which ones are not “important” or “cool” enough to be broadcasted.

Second of all, you try making a movie without a production designer. Or a sound mixer. Or a cinematographer. Good luck with that.

And they shouldn’t be honored on national television because….why exactly?

Worst. Idea. Ever.

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