Monday, February 25, 2008

A few more Oscar thoughts

According to the overnight ratings, this was the lowest rated Oscarcast in history. When AMERICAN IDOL has Barry Manilow night they almost beat it.

So now comes the blame game. I don’t want to hear the producers say the show was never promoted. Or the problem was the absence of Joan Rivers.

Or the Writers Strike. It doesn't take four months to write, "He's an internationally known actor or a auto dealership, here's Harrison Ford."

Jon Stewart will doubtless take a hit. But it’s not entirely his fault. You’d think Hollywood would know. You get a big star to fill a big starring role. Rainn Wilson is very talented but I wouldn’t cast him as Michael Clayton.

I say get Martin Scorsese to host. He’s a God in the industry, reveres movies, the camera just loves him, and he talks so fast the show might actually get off on time for once. You can’t claim this is Hollywood’s most prestigious event and expect a late night cable pundit or daytime talk show host to carry it off. Get Scorsese. Promise a recount on RAGING BULL if you have to.

And people want to see stars. Real stars. Not Disney Channel stars. Not World Federation Wrestling stars. Not reality show stars. When they start showing faces in the crowd and you have to go “Who is that?” more than twice – CLICK!

And whoever the host is, play to us, the audience, not Jack Nicholson. We can turn you off. He can’t.

Then there’s the tiny matter of Hollywood’s total disconnect to the movie going public. All five nominees were art films – four that can only be viewed on Lexapro. NORBIT actually made more money last year than NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. Hollywood needs to start making mainstream movies again. There’s no middle ground. It’s either THERE WILL BE BLOOD or ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS.

Considering there were no Golden Globes and much curiosity following the Writers Strike (Would the show come off? What would it look like? Would Cate Blanchett deliver during the Price-Waterhouse tribute?), you would expect a boost in the ratings. Instead it was just the opposite.

There's a clear message here. You’re losing more audience every year. Do something now or soon there will be such a lack of interest you can rename the show The Emmys.

***

When contacted about the Brad Renfro oversight in the "In Memoriam" piece, a spokesman for the AMPAS said it was an "editorial decision made because not everyone could be included." Oh really? But it's okay to show a couple of agents.

***

Whoopi Goldberg was in tears on THE VIEW because in the montage of Oscar hosts she had been omitted. She does have a point. She was the first woman emcee, first Oscar winner emcee, and first to wear a Big Bird suit, but did she have to actually cry? Come on. You're a former Oscar host. Show some dignity. It's not like there was a pet adoption snafu.

***

When Michael Caine won an Oscar for HANNAH AND HER SISTERS he was unable to attend the ceremony because he was in the Bahamas filming JAWS 4.

***

And I will leave you with this – for my money, the line of the Oscars comes from writer Allan Katz:

Jessica Alba; a perfect color dress to go with her present shape -- eggplant.

50 comments:

A. Buck Short said...

Other than that Mrs. Lincoln....

Personally I think the Oscars started their downhill slide when Price and Waterhouse added that Coopers hump. And incidentally, why wasn't Lybrand included in the In Memoriam tribute?

Also please don’t begrudge the Academy’s bumping Renfro for an agent. Freddy Fields was included as a make good to the late David Begelman, who, I believe also may have gone unrecognized due to not quite having gotten in under the gun.

Death, death, death. How many times to we have to hear about it? Answer: three times (homage to the late Avery Schreiber). Y’know what might be a nice produced alternate segment next year, a tribute to all the babies born to Hollywood starlets over the coming 12 months. We got at least 4, right? I’d go on, but wouldn’t want to get into anything that might be considered in poor taste.

maven said...

I think you are right on with your Oscar thoughts. Scorsese would make a great host. I just think Jon (whom I love on The Daily Show)is just not in his comfort zone. I, for one, have not seen any on the nominated Best Pictures...very content waiting for Netflix. There are very few movies that will get me out of my "media room" into a theater. Movie viewing habits are changing rapidly.

Bitter Animator said...

Do the Oscars people care?

I mean, I don't watch it and haven't in years and the reason I don't is that it is exactly what I guess it was meant to be - an awards ceremony for Hollywood people in the business.

There are awards ceremonies all over for all kinds of different jobs - ad awards, egg-selling awards, biscuit-eating awards and so on and they don't all get broadcast. And you can be damn sure they wouldn't be interesting.

The Oscars, in my opinion, is long and hideously dull but it is what it is and what it is is not a show for an audience. It found an audience because people like movies and recognise the faces and there was little else to compete.

But now? The MTV awards or ones like that, they put on a show. That's entertainment. They actually seem to care about the people watching. In these days of actual entertaining awards shows, I'm pretty stunned anyone still watches the Oscars.

But it still seems to be just what it is - no better or worse than the annual biscuit-eater awards. Which I also don't watch.

William C Bonner said...

I scheduled it for my TiVo when I realized that it was on in less than an hour.

I've looked forward to watching the oscars in the past, but this year I wasn't excited about it at all.

In a normal year they spend from late December up to the actual event building the buzz for it. This year, they tried to pull it off in less than a week and there was no anticipation.

Not being in the industry, I don't understand why they couldn't give awards even if the writers were still on strike. All of the shows they'd be awarding would have been fully produced before the strike even started.

I just want to see the award list, perhaps with clips that will either introduce me to each contestant movie, or remind me of it.

Christina said...

I thought the Oscars were okay considering that they only had like 10 days to write stuff.

Buy you know what I'm really looking forward to? An Oscar night emceed by Steve Carell or Will Ferrell. Don't you think that's around the corner? Imagine the possibilities...

D. McEwan said...

I think Steve Carell hosting The Oscars might well be good, but please NOT WILL FERRELL!!!!!

WHAT do people see in him? I'm serious. I just don't get his appeal at all. When he shows up in something, as he did in THE PRODUCERS, I grit my teeth, hunker down, and wait for him to leave. You couldn't pay me to see one of his starring vehicles.

Bring back Steve Martin. His hosting was the best since Billy Crystal. That said, I loved Jon Stewart all evening. Me love him long time.

Did Whoopi not notice that she WAS seen in a montage, winning her Oscar. As for her hostessing, well, that was just a nightmare few want to revisit.

Anonymous said...

All valid points, but I think without question the biggest reason for the ratings decline is the nomination of four films no one wanted to see and Juno (coincidentally the name of a Canadian Music Award)

Maybe there should be a requirement that in order for a film to be eligible for nomination at least a 100 paying customers must have seen it in a theater. However well deserved the nominees may have been, the movie going public doesn't want to see "No Country For Blood Atonement".

Also I suspect the saturation of meaningless award shows has diluted interest in all of them. Let's face it, more people are interested in Paris Hilton than Kate Blanchett. It's only a matter of time before The Academy Awards are relegated to the Turner Classic Movies channel.

Karen Scott said...

An Oscar night emceed by Steve Carell or Will Ferrell. Don't you think that's around the corner? Imagine the possibilities...

Will Ferrell? Are you high? God that man is so dull, he puts me to sleep. I don't want him anywhere near the Oscars.

As for the actual watching of the show, I'm content with seeing a list of the winning films, and then doing my best to avoid them in the future.

The Red Carpet coverage is always the best bit, but as you mention earlier, where the hell were the stars?

Were Brangelina there, because I missed them if they were. I'd have been even grateful to see Tomkat.

To see Miley Cyrus and her pushy mother on the Red Carpet was enough to make me wheeze uncontrollably.

Thank God for Tilda Swinton's frock and her speech.

Anonymous said...

The Oscars sucked because movies today suck. And the so-called stars are mostly boring and as Ken said, there is no longer any appeal in seeing them, nothing special about it anymore.

Also, let me just say that Juno was a self-indulgent piece-o-crap. Best screenplay? No one talks like that and the writer clearly hates all men except her father. Who voted this a winner - the high-school crowd?

And I did like Something Something County, except for the horrid cop-out ending. I suppose I'm old school - when they take an entire movie to set up a big confrontation ending, I would kind of like to see it. Not come in on it after whatever happened happened.

Like the whole 24-hour media thing has done to pretty much everything, it has reduced our "movie stars" to just another collection of boring humans. Can I go back to the 70s?

Adam said...

If Scorsese hosted the show would be half over 6 hours into it...

I like his movies, but he does not stop talking. And what's the last best picture oscar winner that was almost a scene-for-scene remake, anyway?

benson said...

Joe Gillis: You used to be big.
Norma Desmond: I *am* big. It's the *pictures* that got small.

There it is in a nutshell. And Ken, you nailed it. There were no big pictures nominated. And more than that, how many true movie stars were there? Nicholson, Clooney and... What you had up there are TV actors. That's a big drop from Star. Tom Cruise was at the NASCAR race on Fox. You've got four winners nobody had ever heard from a year ago. And like that Italian guy a few years ago, nobody will probably hear from again.

A. Buck Short said...

Hey, there’s still some glamour and romance in these things. Let’s not forget, that Roberto Benigni fella went on to marry Sally Field. They had so much in common, like being off the same medication.

Just one devil’s advocate position – are we saying we love awards shows so much, the more like a traditional awards show the better it is? Oh I forgot, we’re not talking about us; where talking about what the movie-going publicwants. Screw the public. They’re the ones who have been ruining most of the rest of television for me. That’s why I like PBS. I want stunt casting, the Academy Awards hosted by Charlie Rose where all the presenters are penguins. Or midgets -- so finally all the little people can thank somebody back?

And really, let’s be honest, who had anything that much better to do Sunday night? OK perhaps I’ve revealed too much. And actually, I guess most of the potential viewing public actually did.

DrBear said...

"Hollywood needs to start making mainstream movies again. There’s no middle ground. It’s either THERE WILL BE BLOOD or ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS."
I mentioned this to someone, and he asked "where does JUNO fit into this?"

Michael Bell said...

My vote would be for Tom Hanks to host.

As for the show itself, yes - they need to put on a show for all the people watching at home (or on the big screen at Elton's party).

When I was working for Pat O'Day in Seattle (name drop for Ken), he had a philosophy about doing radio station remote broadcasts - make them entertaining for the 99.999% of your audience that won't be showing up. Otherwise don't bother.

I've always said just televise the "big" awards. Do the tech awards prior, show a clips from the movies with best song nominations and dump the production numbers.

Either that or insist everybody get scnockered like they do at the Globes.

Drunk is always more entertaining that pompous. And pompously drunk is even better.

Anonymous said...

I think the essence of the problem is that there's a serious disconnect between the Oscars and the general public's perception of celebrity. 25+ years ago a celebrity was the star of the big screen or a break-out tv show and people would tune in to the Oscars to watch them. Now, a celebrity is pretty much anyone who's gotten their 15 minutes of fame in any walk of life. We're inundated with celebrity to the extent that the Oscars don't represent anything particularly special. It's just one celebrity award show out of dozens.

Vermonter 17032 said...

I can't believe the host really makes that much difference. Jon Stewart was more than adequate. Would more people tune in if Billy Crystal did it again? Maybe if they reanimated Johnny Carson!

No, I think the main problems are that the top movies are just not ones that anyone cares about. Michael Clayton was a great movie, but it's not one that I'll be renting to watch again. And I have no interest in the depressing There Will Be Blood or No Country for Old Men. Also, most of the nominated actors are not household names. People want to have a rooting interest in who wins... that just wasn't there.

Also, there's no controversy around the Oscars anymore. No actors refuse the award. The last time anyone made a real politcal statement (Michael Moore), he was booed.

Jay said...

In the 3rd hour, have Sarah Silverman come out and sing "I'm Fucking Matt Damon."

Then, in the 8th hour, Kimmel can come out and do "I'm Fucking Ben Affleck."

Gerard said...

"Then there’s the tiny matter of Hollywood’s total disconnect to the movie going public. All five nominees were art films – four that can only be viewed on Lexapro. NORBIT actually made more money last year than NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. Hollywood needs to start making mainstream movies again. There’s no middle ground. It’s either THERE WILL BE BLOOD or ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS."

I've read and heard so many pieces that said the same thing this year, but not one has had a suggestion as to which films should have been nominated instead, or proven that the overwhelming number of nominees in the past have been feel-good hits that did well with critics and made a lot of money, which makes it a meaningless argument to me. Show your work and provide examples.

Of course Hollywood should make more mainstream movies, but they won't, because they've figured out the formula: Arty wins you awards and prestige, crap makes money hand over fist. It's been true for a long time, and it's only ossifying as time goes on as every executive needs to show a quarterly growth in profits and no one in the parent company or its board of directors cares how. Maybe things will change if the American moviegoing public stopped handing over its money so willingly for crap, but I'm not going to hold my breath on that one.

The Minstrel Boy said...

When Michael Caine won an Oscar for HANNAH AND HER SISTERS he was unable to attend the ceremony because he was in the Bahamas filming JAWS 4.

that, says it all.

Слінк Ядранко said...

I can wholeheartedly agree with your point about mainstream movies, if that point is that we need to start making *good* mainstream movies again. I don't see any problem with awarding films like No Country or There Will be Blood, both of which are phenomenal works. I think Assassination of Jesse James was missing from the list, but I don't think we should dumb down who the awards go to, for fear that studios will go even further from making good films.

Yes, Norbit may have made money, but are you really saying it deserves encouragement!?

John said...

Forget Scorsese -- hire John Moschitta as show host and run the Oscars like one of those 1980s Federal Express commercials.

Alto2 said...

No, no, no! The best line about Oscar fashion came from yesterday's New York Times (2/25/08). Eric Wilson wrote of Tilda Swinton, "leading the charge in a shapeless black bolt of fabric that appeared to be designed by the House of Hefty. ... Ms. Swinton, bless her Dobby the House Elf-loving heart, will most likely wake up with a few bruises tomorrow for her dress...."

Bwahahaha, too funny.

Great Big Radio Guy said...

This may have been said by someone else here, but I have serious ADD today.

The Oscars desperately need another Bob Hope as their go-to host. During his hosting streak, he essentially knew he wasn't going to win the Best Actor award, so he never had a dog in the fight - yet he was big enough and lovable enough to be a draw for the viewers. Same with Carson. Neither were rebellious, neither were "edgy," but both were dignified, funny and knew their job was to navigate the show, not BE it.

I think Stewart really made an effort to do that, but he's dwarfed by the event. Hope and Carson rose to the occasion.

Anonymous said...

I care about the Oscar results. The Oscar event, not so much.

With the strike over I knew it was going to happen, but I didn't know until I saw Ken's blog on Monday that I missed it.

I tune out the award shows. It seems like a bunch of needy people patting themselves on the back, over and over again.

I understand why they do it. It's why Coke and Pepsi still advertise. Keep the names of the projects, directors and actors in front of the buying audience.

There are too many of them for me to care about. I didn't read Ken's last blog entry yet and I still don't know who won best picture.

Then again maybe they are targeting people who notice when the handbag, shoes and earings don't match.

Rich Shealer

Tim W. said...

"Also, let me just say that Juno was a self-indulgent piece-o-crap. Best screenplay? No one talks like that and the writer clearly hates all men except her father."

I'm pretty sure that they didn't speak in iambic pentameter during Shakespeare's times, but that is never the point of dialogue, is it? I have to say this is the most annoying criticism. Have you ever actually LISTENED to how people speak? It's boring, full of ums and ahs, half sentences. I don't want realistic dialogue. I want entertaining dialogue.

"Of course Hollywood should make more mainstream movies, but they won't, because they've figured out the formula: Arty wins you awards and prestige, crap makes money hand over fist."

I think they THINK they've figured it out, but every year a few of their tentpoles bomb and they have to rethink everything again. And remember, the top two grossing films of all times were also Best Picture winners.

RAC said...

At least Harrison Ford was actually there, to remind us that he has never won an Oscar and Indiana Jones IV might be the second most fun thing to do with a whip this summer.

Paul said...

Hollywood should start making mainstream movies again? Have you been living under a rock? Go rent Transformers, Ken. Intelligent movies always get nominated for Best Picture, and for good reason.

And to refer to Jon Stewart as merely a "late night cable pundit"? Obviously you're a bit out of touch. That AARP card arrive in the mail yet? The man is more popular than anyone on network TV.

Anonymous said...

do they honestly care about the ratings? I wouldn't. It's supposed to be about patting themselves on the back (or "recognising the great art" or whatever they want to call it), and they have the "muscle" to do it and shove it down america's throat every year. I think they should go the opposite way. Let people walk down the aisle of the theater and give a speech for as long as they want. Who cares if the show goes longer and they have to end at 12:35 instead of 12:00 sharp? This is the "best director" or "best makeup artist" or "best dolly grip" of the year, they're better than everone else, let them do what they want. Who gives a fuck if it'll get enough audience to sell some cheetos?

you might argue that it's going downhill, and that it has to sustain its ratings to retain that "muscle", but I saw it's a pretty tall hill, just look at the Grammys.

Anonymous said...

You want to help the show? Don't televise the short film winners. No short animation, documentary or live-actions short awards need to be on TV as NOBODY has seen those movies. Not even the majority of the academy members, as you have to go to a special screening to see them so you can vote on them. Maybe a few film critics have taken them in at festivals, but that is it. And let's be honest, many TV pilots (especially the unaired, quirky ones) are better than those short live actions films. Why waste 20 minutes with people we've never seen getting awards for movies we could never have seen? I'd much rather give the other winner an extra 30 seconds each (so they have, and this is crazy, a full minute) for their acceptance speeches. That way they can get though the laundry list of thank yous and say something heartfelt or funny-- you know the whole point people tune in for.

Martha in Cali said...

Unless the host is embarrassingly awful, which Jon Stewart is not (far from it), that is not the problem with the show IMO.

Jon Stewart was charming! He was classy, somewhat subtle, yet hilarious without ever being annoying, silly, pretentious, or degrading. He should be welcomed back every year. I love him. Tom Hanks would be a great choice as a top celebrity host who also has the ability to be funny as hell.

Average people like me watch the Oscars for different reasons: for the grand spectacle of it; to see who looks fabulous and who looks like a train wreck and to judge them all for it; for the competitive aspect of it, regardless of the types of films nominated, etc. I think that those average people mostly couldn't give a crap about anything but the major awards. The show is seen as boring because the suburban soccer moms and dads who watch don't give a shit about Sound Mixing and Documentary Shorts (please, NO offense is meant to the people whose careers are in those areas, but the broadcast could be shortened without that kind of stuff).

I know, I know, the Oscars are basically an egotistical orgy for those in the industry, but then they wonder why folks like me stop watching and find it boring. Well, that's why.....for me, at least.

jbryant said...

To generate the most viewers, the Oscars would have to restrict their nominations to the most commercially successful Hollywood product. And since such films usually lack artistic quality, this would negate the entire stated purpose of the awards, which is to honor the highest artistic achievements of the year. They rarely fulfill that purpose, but without it they'd just be the People's Choice Awards.

The only reason for the Academy to cater to mass taste at award time would be to boost ratings. I'm sure the network would love that, but wouldn't that be the tail wagging the dog?

And the bitching over length gets boring. Make some food, watch with friends, chat during the parts that bore you. If you have no friends, channel surf. I don't watch football, but are people riveted to the screen every second of the Super Bowl?

If you hate the show but care about who wins, go about your business and check the results periodically online. I'm amazed that folks go on about this every year as if they have a stake in the Neilsen results.

Courtney Suzanne said...

I have a complaint with everyone who complains about the Oscars. Actually, I have two. #1 - The Oscar ceremony has been "boring" for years. Everyone keeps expecting it to be some entertainment spectacular, but it never is, because they keep interrupting the entertainment with those darn award presentations!

That brings me to #2 - It's an awards show. Why does it have to be entertaining? I've been to a lot of awards dinners where I work, and they're boring as hell. The reason the shows are so long is because of all the "entertainment" stuffed into them between acceptance speeches.

Don't get me wrong. I love film. I spent thousands of dollars (which I'm still paying off) getting my degree in film. The Oscars is still my equivalent of the Super Bowl, regardless of the presentation. I like to see who wins and who they thank...and who they're wearing. :)

Once people accept that the Oscars are probably going to be long and boring, they'll enjoy it more.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Ken, for amplifying my feelings. I'm a non-biz guy who is a movie goer. I did see Something, Something Blood last week just to know what all the hoopla was all about.

Kee-rect, Sir. Don't hire a cable TV comedian as MC and recruit real MOVIE stars to attend. I don't consider Josh Rogain and his look-alike as worthy candidates.

I surprised you didn't mention the Gary Bussey whacko moment during Metrosexual Ryan's interview with Mrs. Affleck.

Michael Bell said...

One other thing....

Does anyone else find it odd that the Oscar telecast always gets nominated for an Emmy?

If someone made a really compelling documentary about the Emmys, do you think they'd nominate it for an Oscar?

And if so, would the world as we know it suddenly and violently come to an end?

It is something to ponder.

Finally...the most overlooked performance of the year? The pit bull that chased Josh Brolin across the river in "No Country For Old Men."

Megalion said...

I agree that Ratatouille should have had a Best Picture nomination. I also think that Into the Wild should have had a nomination as well.

War & Drug movies are just so overdone right now.

Anonymous said...

Uh..is it meant to be a show or an honoring of talented and accomplished people, with the rest of us allowed to watch?

Ken Levine said...

Thanks for all the comments.

I think some of you are missing my point (which I'm sure is my fault for not expressing it clearly). I'm not suggesting the Academy lowers their standards. I am suggesting movies can be made that have some substance and gravity and still be a boxoffice hit. FORREST GUMP for example.

What I wouldn't give for an ANNIE HALL or THE STING.

Oscarcasts are far more interesting and enjoyable if you have a stake in what wins.

jbryant said...

FWIW, my remarks have been directed more at the replies here than at Ken's original post.

The studios do seem to have lost interest in developing anything that lacks a merchandising hook. The adult audience is an afterthought at best. An earlier generation got From Here to Eternity; this one got Pearl Harbor.

Tim W. said...

Ken, I didn't miss your point. In fact, I was pretty sure you stole your point from me. Oh, well.

Jack said...

And your idea of boffo mainstream moviemaking would be...? "Braveheart" "Gladiator", "Forrest Gump", "Titanic"? Pleeeeaaase do we really need to resurrect drivel and call it art. We finally get a year loaded with interesting, thoughtful, original films and everyone wants Doomsday back.

And No Country's ending was McCarthy's ending and no he was not writing a made for hollywood screenplay. Can you say allegory for chrissake? When evil this way comes in this world it does not always have a happy hollywood ending. You can't sit with that? Wait till they make "Blood Meridian"!

Tim W. said...

Hey, I liked all the Best Picture nominees, but I didn't feel any of them were one for the ages. Excellent, well made, artistic films? Sure. Films I can see becoming classics, heads and shoulders above the rest? No.

Anonymous said...

I've always thought Christopher Walken would be the greatest host the Oscars have ever seen. The man can dance.

Yohan said...

Hollywood needs better MARKETING of great films and better awards production. But as Courtney said, it is an awards show. Even the VMAs are boring. And people watch that to see the performances of popular singers. Do you think they remember who won what in what year? No. It's Britney or Amy Winehouse.

Just because YOU chose to watch tentpole crap instead or YOU didn't get a movie, doesn't mean 5 Norbits need to be nominated in every category every year. If you really think box office equals quality, then Shrek the Third, Spider-Man 3, and I Am Legend should have gotten awards. Transformers, The Golden Compass, and Pirates WERE nominated in the "boring categories."

Some of the Oscar critics need to unclench the stick.

Not you, Ken.

The Crutnacker said...

Want proof that Ken is 100% correct?

Just look at the list of nominees and winners for best picture here.

Scanning down the list from the 70s, 80s, and 90s (sorry, gotta go with when I was alive), you see that almost every year contains two or three crowd pleasers. The 00's don't seem to have as many, and this year and last year have a couple of small sleepers, but nothing that reaches the status of a Titanic, Sting, Star Wars, or even a Pulp Fiction.

You picked a good year with Forest Gump. In 1994, that crapfest beat out Shawshank Redemption, Pulp Fiction, Quiz Show, and Four Weddings and a Funeral. Every movie but Quiz Show is one that has/had a wide following, and Quiz Show was still a pretty good movie.

But ugh, Forest Gump. It's where Robert Zemeckis let his love of effects overcome his ability to tell an enjoyable story.

David O'Hara said...

Why DUMB DOWN the award for "Best Picture" by requiring it to be seen by the millions of mouth-breathers required to make a movie a financial hit?

Ken, you knock reality shows because they are stupid. No Country and There Will be Blood are BETTER QUALITY movies than the ten best box office winners this year. Or is "quality" now determined by the lowest common denominator - the mayor's targeted audience???

Juno made tons of money - the script sucked. I couldn't believe the dialog the writer put in the mouths of those kids.

Paul Atkinson said...

Wasn't there one year where the best costume nominees basically put on a fashion show on stage? They should do stuff like that again.

And say what you want about the song or movie, but Celine Dion singing "My Heart Will Go On" was HUGE. Same with the old Disney movie songs (Lion King, Aladdin, etc.) Where did those HUGE movie songs go?

I really think that's what the Oscars needs. For costume design, put on a show. For visual effects, show a 30-second clip showing awesome visual effects for each movie. For songs, have HUGE musical numbers.

Another thing: Where did the "movie recap" thing go? Don't you think they needed it more this year than ever? They used to show a minute-long clip or so detailing each of the Best Picture nominees. Why'd they do away with that?

And you're right, the presenters need to be big-time stars, not teen choice awards nominees.

Honestly, the Oscars can be long if they're entertaining.

Paul Atkinson said...

One more thing:

Braveheart, Gladiator, Forrest Gump, and Titanic are all movies that remind me why I love watching movies. I've never understood the hate movies like that get when they win. They're fantastic movies that I'll still be watching 20 years from now. They're timeless classics.

grapeshot said...

More mainstream movies doesn't necessarily mean dumber movies. I remember the years when The Crying Game won, or when American Beauty won Best Picture awards. Nobody sees those movies anymore, let alone taking the time to rewatch them. But how come there doesn't seem to be any Casablancas, or It Happened One Nights, or One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nests being made? Why can't anyone in Hollywood tell stories that are both profound and accessible? While such movies aren't made every year, they used to be made with more frequency in the decades previous to this one. The movies nominated this year were probably the best of this year, and in any objective sense, were good movies, but their lack of commercial success is not necessarily an indictment of audiences. I don't think any one of these will stand the test of time.

To be sure, every example that I can think of movies that were both good and popular, also had a Genuine Honest-to-Goodness Hollywood Star in them -- at least one, and sometimes several. Whether the charisma and talent of the Genuine Hollywood Star elevated or energized the material, or vice-versa, could be argued. Nonetheless, there's seems to be a symbiotic relationship between the Star and the "great story" which I don't think is a coincidence. I think the recent parade of movies peopled by earnest and good but more or less anonymous actors -- both in these arty independant movies and in the tentpole movies, is one factor ensuring that Oscar nominated movies are unpopular and popular movies aren't Oscar worthy. And that's why there's a real lack of interest on the part of the general public.

Consider the two large blockbuster franchises, the revived Batman one and the Spiderman one. Despite the mass numbers of people that saw these movies, most people still would think Christian Who?? and Toby Who?? Both are fine actors, and will likely have long careers, yet I doubt they'll have more name recognition than they currently have, and no one's going to come home from work on a Friday night and say "gee, I think I'll go see Christian Bale's latest." To put it another way, if you have trouble remembering what they look like, then they're not Genuine Honest-to-Goodness Hollywood Stars. To put it yet another way, I've seen every movie that George Clooney, or Jack Nicholson ever made, both good and bad. I will never want to say that about Christian Who? or Toby Who? When people here say that in order for the Oscars to draw a larger audience, they need to feel they have an interest in it, that's what they mean.

Finally, I totally agree with the observation that there were only two stars at the Oscars that night: Nicholson and Clooney. Even Harrison Ford didn't seem much like a star. Also, while I've never minded the Academy Awards Show's producer giving a nod (and the exposure) to up-and-coming young faces in the presenters' lineup, this year seemed to have a large number of anonymous wannabes who's talent and "star"-like powers are not terribly evident.

I don't know. Perhaps the era of The Movie Star is truly dead. Perhaps the pictures will only get smaller and smaller. Somehow, that's a depressing thought.

VP81955 said...

Hollywood needs to start making mainstream movies again. There’s no middle ground.

I wish one of the winners had pointed this out in his or her acceptance speech, and ended it by saying, "Hey, adults -- take back the multiplexes!"

Get rid of the beancounters, get rid of the franchises, get rid of the marketing tie-ins. Focus on movies. Movies with a heart. Movies with a brain. Movies with genuine humor.

The movie industry is now geared towards the sensibilities of 19-year-old frat boy males. For it to survive, it needs to get past that, and soon.

Mike Barer said...

Times change and people have other things to do.