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80th Academy Awards

I have to think the "Awards Show" format is simply broken and needs a complete overhaul in order to be worth viewing. I mean, I know that the Oscar is the "most important" entertainment award in the world, and people from everywhere either tune in the telecast live or at least want to know the winners of the various categories, but a show like this, with the greatest living film stars in attendance (and clips of all the rest) should not ever lag.

Jon Stewart and his WGA staff did ok with most of the jokes. There were some lowbrow bits, like the "Baby" award segment with Jessica Alba, double nominee Cate Blanchett and the obligatory still photo of Nicole Kidman, for a cheap laugh. And most of the one liners worked. The opening animation with a UPS looking delivery truck driving through the Hollywood landscape with various characters and elements from the last 79 years of film was fun, and those are the sorts of things I like seeing on a show of this sort.

LA needs to build waterproof buildings, though. No fewer than three celebrities slipped on a wet spot at a podium, Stage Left at the Kodak, which reminded me that the LA Lakers had a RAIN delay during a game a couple of weeks ago!

But still... For me, I so want to reinvent the whole concept of the Award show. They did do a little bit of that, by having some troops stationed in Iraq present the Best Documentary Short (how did they manage to do that without the typical several second delay as the signal gets beamed up to the satellite and then back down to the control booth, I wonder?) Things like that help break the format up a bit and demonstrate the global reach of Oscar. That's especially true this year, with all four acting awards going to four foreign born actors!

I guess I'm asking what is an awards show all about? To me, you want to honor the people who are nominated, give those that win a chance to say something (trying to make them look as good as possible in the process) and make sure the program itself is entertaining to watch, since it is, after all, a television show.

The problem is the format is tired and everyone knows how it works, the people who win are hustled on and off so quickly they usually don't remember what they said in their speeches, and there doesn't seem to be an overriding focus for the show itself, which I think would instantly tighten things up.

I mean, it is film, so there should be more filmed bits throughout the show... and no, I don't mean those montage things... I'm talking about actual segments filmed by some of the directors and starring some of the nominated or winning actors. I know I suggested this last year, but I still like the idea, so I'm placeholdering it.

Ultimately, there should be a sense of fun for everyone... it is a great thing to be nominated, and can be a good thing to win.

Speaking of, I think I selected maybe one or two correct as far as Oscar predictions went and I believe they were the two writing awards, so I feel pretty good about that, at least. I should have remembered that the Academy Awards no longer seems to honor someone for their "body of work" or because this will be the last likely time they'll be nominated.

Eh. Maybe I should start by directing the Independent Spirit Awards. Work my way up to the SAGs and Emmys and top it off with the Golden Globes before trying to attack this monster.

Pipe dreamer. Oscar Screener. Yeah. It'll never happen.

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
mary_wroth
Feb. 25th, 2008 02:09 pm (UTC)
I think the main problem is? Awards shows are inherently boring. I mean, the bulk of the show is reciting lists of names, announcing a winner, time spent giving speeches (most of which aren't good), and waiting for people to arrive on stage. I just think it is hard to capture on television what might actually be an exciting event for those present (or maybe not because again...boring).

SO...I think changes could be made, but at least for me personally, it would be a tall order to produce an awards show that I cared to watch.
penpusher
Feb. 26th, 2008 01:56 am (UTC)
The way awards shows have been working makes it boring. It is lists of names in categories, A winner who then has to make an impromptu speech, which could be amusing, cringeworthy, inspired, but usually forgettable.

Rule change 1: EVERYONE WRITES A SPEECH. I've mentioned this before, but it needs to happen now. None of this "superstition" stuff about "oh, I don't want to write a speech because I'll be jinxed." If everyone writes one, there is no jinx. Do it. Hand those speeches in to the producer of the show and when your name is called, your speech will be loaded into the teleprompter so you'll have something intelligent to say. If you need a bit of help with some humor, we can have a writer punch it up for you.

Rule Change 2: Know the film history. How can the storied history of Oscar be given such short shrift? I'm not saying we have to go to the archives 20 times or so, but working from the past makes a richer present.

Rule Change 3: Make it Global. Bring in presenters from all over the globe! Go on location at some film shoot somewhere in Vancouver, New York, Prague, Sydney, let's get a glimpse at that.

Rule Change 4: Weave a little plot. I know that the show can't really be written until the nominees are known, but maybe let's extend the voting time again, and piece together some filmed segments with last year's Oscar winners starring together, and directed by last year's best director! Fun!

I have more. A lot more.
ninjaguydan
Feb. 25th, 2008 02:31 pm (UTC)
technological wonders
So, I saw the oscars in High Def for the first time, it is not a format that is kind to them...you could see just how hideous Helen Mirren looks and that a man named Tilda Swinton won best supporting actress..

..on the good side, It was also the first time I saw the show with TiVO...I just sped through all the BS watched Simpsons in between and caught all the awards...when you cut out the dance numbers, boring old people and speeches the show is about a half hour long.

-)
penpusher
Feb. 26th, 2008 01:59 am (UTC)
Re: technological wonders
Yeah... HD may kill many television stars' careers, much like the talkies ruined a lot of silent film actors' opportunities.

Ultimately, the show could be shorter, or at least make it worth our time! Don't just present some really bad production numbers. How about filming all of the best song nominees and doing something really unique with them? At least then we'd have something that was a little more worthwhile. Why do we need to have a "staged" performance? This ain't the Tonys!

twopiearr
Feb. 25th, 2008 04:07 pm (UTC)
I think the whole thing needs to be taken off of television.

Part of the problem it's become so staid is that it has to serve as a promotional opportunity for the sponsors in order to pay for itself. If the whole thing was moved to a podcast, with a 30 minute cutdown for broadcast, a 6-12 minute highlight reel available for late night, and a taggable 90-120 second package available for local news, it'd force the producers to make it watchable again.
penpusher
Feb. 26th, 2008 02:04 am (UTC)
I can't imagine the Oscars not having a television outlet. Although, the way the ratings are slipping, it's possible.

Face it. Nobody watches, because why? You'll find out who won, and if anything cool happens, you can youtube it, or the entertainment shows will show it over and over.

To me, the show needs a sense of "you had to be there to see it" feeling. Although, movies aren't the same "events" that they used to be. You can torrent or DVD most everything.

Off topic, but I was thinking that if there was ever an Academy Award that was going to get used as a dildo... Diablo Cody's likely did already! Now, THAT'S Entertainment!
twopiearr
Feb. 26th, 2008 02:07 am (UTC)
i'm not saying no television outlet, i'm just saying don't make an entire freaking day of it - give us the highlights and make the rest available for those who care.

(off topic...huh? where the heck did you come up with THAT one?)
penpusher
Feb. 26th, 2008 02:32 am (UTC)
In that case, we could have an "all day" version... with 12 hours of coverage!

The only question would be how to present the results. Maybe they could have a schedule: best cinematography at 8:12pm EST. And you could program your TiVo to return to the channel when the next award came up.

As for the Diablo Cody thing, well, much like Everest, it was just there!
twopiearr
Feb. 26th, 2008 02:41 am (UTC)
see, my belief is that TV is going to evolve in the opposite direction - everything prerecorded and on demand, with "live" events being a thing of special rarity. i think things like awards shows are what can benefit most from that model, though it will require a rethinking from what we're currently doing.

so let me get this straight...because she spent a year stripping (and wrote a particularly thoughtful book about it) she's automatically such a slut that she'd use her Oscar for sexual gratification? or is there something else you're basing this on that i'm not aware of?
penpusher
Feb. 26th, 2008 02:51 am (UTC)
I think you're analyzing all the fun out of this. But, that's how it goes!

Let's just forget I said anything about this and move on.
(Deleted comment)
penpusher
Feb. 26th, 2008 02:06 am (UTC)
The problem with the Spirits is they want to be an "ironic" version of an awards show. So, the joke would be in trying to stay serious even as you poke fun at the various award show traditions.

Maybe the MTV Movie Awards?
cinematograph
Feb. 26th, 2008 01:29 am (UTC)
Shouldn't there have been more than a passing reference to the death of Antonioni, Bergman, and Sembene?

Edited at 2008-02-26 01:30 am (UTC)
penpusher
Feb. 26th, 2008 02:10 am (UTC)
This is what I mean about history and context at the Oscars. Where was it? We had that 79 best picture reel, but aside from seeing about five seconds of each film (and clearly not the best five seconds in most cases), what did we have? I kinda felt empty, like someone just force fed me bubble gum for dinner.

It might have been better to split it into decades, throughout the night, have a bit longer with each title and try to put it into a context.... like what was going on in the world at the time? That would have actually been cool! Plus, when did Oscar really shy away from getting political?
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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