After my latest article about the significance of the Academy Awards, I feel I was too romantic. How do I reconcile this issue? Harass, abuse and corner its downfalls…like any good lover would do. I wish I could say that I’ve researched these ideas tirelessly and ran multiple regressions on this topic, but I haven’t. This is just me winging it. So please, take this all with a grain of salt. Well, maybe more than a grain. I feel I’m quite worth it.
Streamline the Event:
An inherent problem with the Academy Awards is that it’s about Hollywood blowing itself. I enjoy the telecast, but the slurping and sucking can become tedious. How do you effectively counter this issue? Eliminate the presentation of a few awards. I’m a huge supporter of having every winner give a speech, but the Academy knows that most of the television audience are itching for their stars. Under this pretense I recommend that we eradicate the following categories from the televised part of the show:
- Best Sound Editing
- Best Sound Effects
- Best Live Action Short
- Best Animated Short
- Best Art Direction
- Best Costume Design
- Best Film Editing
- Best Original Song (possibly)
These are the technical and niche categories that are insignificant from a mainstream point of view. For example, the average person wouldn’t give two shits about trying to distinguish between the two separate sound categories. The producers behind the show must think the same way. Without question, these technical categories are criminally expedited. If we personify the tech categories as being a man, then the Academy would play the nice girl that delivers a pity fuck with a fake moan in tow. This notion gains even more traction when one compares the runtime of an actor’s winning speech with the run time of a tech speech. One is given eons to explore their emotions. The other, well, they’re booted off the stage with hasty music. Guess who gets the extra time? It’s a shame this is the way it is. Even though it bugs me to say it, I’d rather just bypass the hollowness. Of course, I would at least suggest an on air mention of who won these categories.
Find a Host that Matters
I like Billy Crystal, but he isn’t convincing younger viewers to watch the telecast. Unless you’re a Princess Bride fan or have an astonishing and questionable love for City Slickers 2, Crystal is the equivalent to going to an authentic Italian restaurant and merely ordering spaghetti. He’s safe, but hasn’t been a prominent figure in the film landscape for some time. If only the Academy Awards was a game show titled “Guess the Clippers Fan”. In any event, the Academy and their ceremony producer need to select a host that has the gumption to stand in front of a mass amount of people and a level of social relevance. My suggestion for next year: Louis C.K. All right, Louis probably doesn’t have the cultural following as other hosts in the past, but with a successful TV show in tow, impeccable delivery and an everyman appeal, Louis C.K. is a guy who can easily resonate with the crowd at home. Will he necessarily click with the audience of superstars and legends at the ceremony? Maybe, who knows? One thing is for sure, he wouldn’t be the snarky, spiteful (but funny) presenter Ricky Gervais is. Nor would he entirely blend into the Academy’s stuffy opinion of themselves.
Create a Level of Unpredictability
When Eddie Murphy was the host this year, I was actually excited for the potential he could bring. Mind you, Eddie Murphy hasn’t been the same since Pluto Nash, a film that you and everyone else didn’t see. Nonetheless, considering his energy and interest in pushing the envelope in regards to taste (this was clearly demonstrated in his masterpiece Norbit), Eddie was a wild card. The Academy Awards don’t have that this year. Hell, they haven’t had it since Chris Rock held the reigns over half a decade ago. The problem is that the Academy is too safe. Here’s something for you, grow a pair of balls and let a host lose themselves in the ebb and flow of the show. You don’t have to let them off the leash, but at least lend them a few inches. Case and point: this bit by Ellen Degeneres in 2007. With a little more leeway, not only do you rope in an older generation clutching to a quasi-tradition, but you also have a show grasping tweets and status updates from the 4G Nation. Unpredictability allows for car crash TV: entertainment that you can’t help but look and talk about. #GetThisShitDone
Make it Interactive
I really don’t want to suggest this at all, but it’s the way the world is moving. Tweeting during televised events is becoming a more viable option. From the NBA on TNT to NBC’s The Voice, tweeting has found a way for viewers to not only sound off on what they’re seeing, but it also gives them a celebratory moment when their tweet scrolls across the screen. I’m not willing to go as far to say that we need a bottom ticker (a la ESPN), but why not flash a few viewer comments on the screen while transitioning to a commercial? It’d be a harmless way to entice a variety of people to partake in the show. Admittedly, this sounds a bit desperate, but could be a worthwhile venture for the Academy.
Bring Back the Presenters Who Give A Shit
There are a small number of presenters who actually look interested in being present. Celebrities gaining this distinction are but not limited to: Ben Stiller, Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Steve Carrell and Steve Martin. The gusto these performers exude is irresistible. Sure, it’s fun seeing actors awkwardly stand at a podium and deliver a string of cheesy jokes, but I’d much rather be amidst a group of people who efficiently spend their few minutes wringing out every possible laugh on purpose. If it was between Tina Fey and Steve Martin wisecracking for a few minutes and seeing Scarlett Johansson’s bodacious body hugging tightly to her dress, I’m all for the former.
One Off: For the Love of God, Please Don’t Incorporate a Shameless Promotional Tie In with an Homage Montage
Otherwise, if we really want to improve the show and drive up ratings, we should give into our lust for blood and have each nominee battle it out Gladiator style. Or, if we’re feeling lazy and are in need of a quiet night, Chutes and Ladders can make for fine competition.