Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Repairing Uncle Oscar

Over at The Watchtower of Destruction, that amazing blogging machine known as "The Ferrett" offers his suggestions for improving the Academy Awards telecast. I agree with a couple of Ferrett's ideas, such as expanding the Best Film category to include subgenres such as Best Drama and Best Comedy (as the Golden Globes does), and eliminating the film clip montages except for the "In Memoriam" segment.

Herewith, a few suggestions of my own for the Academy:
  • Find a decent host, and stick with him/her. I know Bob Hopes and Johnny Carsons are in severely limited supply these days, but there has to be a talented comic with world-class master of ceremonies skills who can pull off the Oscars. Identify that person, and give him or her a long-term contract to become the public face of the Oscarcast. Jon Stewart might even be that guy, if the Academy and the network would take the shackles off him and let him do his thing.

  • Spend more time on the nominees, and less on meaningless filler. Since the majority of people watching the show haven't seen most of the nominated films and performances, make more of an effort to showcase representative clips. Invite Roger Ebert and other top-level critics to record brief segments explaining why these films are significant, and why these achievements in acting, writing, directing, and so on are worthy of recognition.

  • Streamline the acceptances. This shouldn't be so hard. Seat all of the nominees where they can reach the stage quickly. (You can still put the big stars in the center, but have the other nominees close to the stage on the wings.) Limit the acceptors to one representative per award. Limit the speeches to a drop-dead 30 seconds, after which the microphone goes dead, the stage lights go down, the camera shuts off, and the director cues the host to keep the show rolling.

  • Only invite presenters who can do the job. That is to say, no one who can't read a cue card smoothly gives an award away. No matter how famous he or she might be.

  • Dispense with the presenter shtick. The presenters shouldn't have to do anything more elaborate than read the list of nominees and say, "The Oscar goes to..." Don't try to turn actors into stand-up comedians or narrators.

  • Make more extensive use of captions. Anytime someone is on camera, the audience should be told who he or she is. Not everyone reads People magazine. Pop-Up Video-style captions could also be employed to convey interesting facts about the nominees. And no film clip should ever be shown without (at the very least) identifying the motion picture from which it came.

  • Only award Best Song when there is a song worthy of the award. Only the winning song gets a production number — prerecorded and cued up for playback when the announcement is read.

Labels: ,

1 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Blogger Sam offered these pearls of wisdom...

I like the idea of a Pop Up Oscars. You can mention all the bad movies the best actor did before he got all the way to the stage.

9:49 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home