This year’s broadcast is on record as one of the lowest-rated telecasts of the Academy Awards in recent memory. People have debated the reason behind this. Was it the overlong broadcast, the host, or the general disorder? As a cinephile, I can firmly state that it is all three and more. But the Oscars isn’t completely hopeless. I feel with a few tweaks and revisions, it can be a first-rate production again. Here are five ways to drastically improve the Oscars…
5. Change the date- Each year it feels like like the Oscar ceremony is the culmination of award shows and it is more like a belated round of applause. Late February is pretty far down the line to still be considering last year. At this point, people have already moved on to this year’s slate of releases. Late January would be a good timeframe. Then most of the releases nominated will have been released wide and they will still be fresh in the public’s mind.
4. Hire better writers- The monologue and banter that Neil Patrick Harris had to spout this year was largely toothless and witless. He dazzled as the emcee of the Tony’s but he floundered in his tux at the Academy Awards. Why? According to the credits, a litany of writers couldn’t even assemble any stellar jokes for him to repeat. I say either hire a host who will riff amusingly with an edge (ala Ricky Gervais or Daniel Tosh) or get a cadre of solid joke writers and ditch the overrated bloat of someone like Seth Graham Green and Bruce Vilanch.
3. Drop the endless tributes/filler- Just because it’s the anniversary of an Oscar-nominated movie doesn’t mean that people need to sit through another interminable song-and-dance number. The opening monologue has belabored the singing tribute to the year’s nominees and another one later in the broadcast is just baiting the audience to shut off the television. The in memoriam is honorable and can remain intact. However, a glimpse at the technical awards should only be available for those who are interested on the Oscar’s official website. Additionally the contest for future Oscar hopefuls is just an overproduced gesture to expand the show’s length. Dropping these will shorten the runtime considerably and make the viewers much like drowsy.
2. Lessen the number of best picture nominees- It was a decent experiment when the show tinkered with having a number between 5 and 10 best picture nominees but it also decreased interest. Most people hardly see all the nominees and they don’t want to see a ceremony celebrating movies they either haven’t had time to see or no intention of seeing. Also I agree that increasing the number somewhat impacts the “prestige” of being nominated. Some movies are nominated merely to bulk up the category. It’s unnecessary.
1. Bring levity to the show- Do you know what the key difference between the Oscars and the Golden Globes is? Not the intermingling of TV and Film or the number of categories. The Oscars are lumbering, slow and predominantly self-serious. On the other hand, The Golden Globes are sleek, lean and above all, infectiously fun. The Globes serve alcohol during the night which causes some hysterical unscripted moments. The nominees and winners are more relaxed and don’t feel pressure to wrap up immediately. The hosts are usually sublime and really skewer the room with their rapier wit. On the whole, the Globes might not receive the veneration of the Oscars but they are eminently more watchable.