An Rx for Oscar

Suppose they held the Oscars and nobody came? While that isn’t likely to happen anytime soon, if the show carries on being such an anti-climactic snoozefest people will continue to tune out and I’d rather not see that happen. We need to have common cultural experiences and film is a powerful medium to rally around, especially as the Academy Awards are opening up to more international filmmakers and stories. Hollywood has been exporting to the world for decades and we’re now seeing the results.

But even while Oscar is opening its golden arms to a diverse range of movies, the telecast itself is falling behind the times. As an industry that is geared towards entertaining and getting big bang for the buck, how is it that the telecast is so tedious? Sure, the show is self-congratulatory, but I expect that. As an award show put on by the some of the most privileged, navel-gazers on earth, it’s bound to be.

What needs to go are some of the technical categories – sound editing and mixing, art direction and makeup. The typical movie fan can judge the rest of the categories, but those four should be moved to the technical awards. They will still get Oscars for them, just not in the televised part. I’d also like to see the original song category dropped altogether – so often these songs are played over the closing credits and add nothing to the film. They are also pure torture in the middle of a show that is already too long.

The Academy should also move up the date of the show again to try and cut the legs out of all the other shows that have cropped up over the years. Something needs to be done to make the awards not seem like a foregone conclusion. Other than Alan Arkin taking the best supporting actor Oscar, the other five top categories were locked in weeks — if not months — ago. It hardly makes for compelling TV.

Despite all that, there were still some things to love about the show. Forest Whitaker’s heartfelt love of the craft; Jack Black threatening to beat Peter O’ Toole with his Nickelodeon award; host Ellen DeGeneres getting Steven Spielberg to take her photo with Clint Eastwood using her point ‘n’ shoot digital. And, of course, it was great to see Martin Scorsese finally get the Oscar that he so desperately wanted, even if it wasn’t for his best work – but that’s a whole other rant.


  1. Well, I think I'd keep sound editing and mixing, art direction and makeup as part of the televised ceremony. And I think I'd keep Best Song, I just wouldn't have the songs performed during the telecast. As to what I'd so away with, well, there'd be no more interpretative dance and certainly no more Celine Dion... (-:

  2. It was so dull, but the Oscars has been pretty much like that for several years now. Even the red carpet parade was meh, uneventful. All the women dress so tastefully now. I miss Cher.

    I was hoping Pan's Labrynth would win best flick though.

  3. Mercurie - sorry for the slow response here. The reason I would drop those categories is because I don't believe the average film fan has any idea how to judge those crafts. I watch a lot of films, but I couldn't tell you how sound editing or mixing or makeup effects the overall quality of the film. You only notice them when they are terrible.

    It's not to say that they are't valuable, just not something that they need to air as public entertainment. Plenty of other Oscars get handed out at an earlier ceremony and perhaps these should move to that night too.

    Oaty, you're so right. Publicists have sucked all the fun out of the stars. This is supposed to be a celebration and instead it is becoming staid. For a group of professional clowns, it feels more like a funeral.