Monday, February 25, 2008

No viewers for old Oscar

I would like to tell you how enthusiastically I enjoyed last night's telecast of the 80th Academy Awards.

I would also like to tell you how closely I resemble Denzel Washington, and how my fiscal holdings almost exactly mirror those of Warren Buffett.

All of the above would be equally true.

Oscar really has turned into a snoozefest — tepid, tedious, and annoyingly time-wasting. You'd think that after 80 years, the Academy would have cooked up a formula that worked. But they haven't.

To be fair, one of the key problems with this year's show was out of the Academy's hands, as well as those of the producers of the Oscarcast. There was little, if any, suspense inherent in any of the major awards, largely because many of the films nominated weren't popular blockbusters with a built-in rooting interest, and quite a few of the actors up for the big prizes weren't household names in any households other than their own. I'll be honest, I had to hit Wikipedia and IMDB more than once to find out what other film projects a nominee had done. Embarrassing admission for a pop culture maniac such as myself, but we're all about the honesty here at SSTOL.

Jon Stewart's return as host didn't help much. In his own realm on The Daily Show, Stewart's a sharp, funny guy. But in his two stints as Oscar MC, he's seemed off his "A" game. As Chris Rock discovered a few years back, it's tough to strike that delicate balance between edgy and off-putting. Stewart appears to be taking the path of least resistance here, but that isn't really what people who enjoy his incisive brand of topical humor want to see or hear. He's certainly better than the terminally laid-back Steve Martin or the uncomfortably frenetic Ellen Degeneres, but not an awful lot better.

As I've noted in past years, I still believe that the best hosting Oscar has had in recent seasons was served up by Whoopi Goldberg in her four outings. Whoopi — who, to be frank, I prefer in small doses — exhibits all the right tools for award night success: a quick wit; a brilliant sense of timing; a willingness to push the envelope but sense enough not to push it too far; and best of all, her own personal Oscar cred as a two-time nominee and winner of one gold statue (Best Supporting Actress, 1990, Ghost). It's clear, though, that Whoopi has somehow landed on the Academy's blacklist (no pun intended) — when clips of former Oscarcast hosts appeared on last night's show, the Whoopster was mysteriously absent.

Anyway, I'd continue talking about the broadcast, but just thinking about it is hitting me like a double dose of Ambien. So let's just hope Little Gold Guy finds a little more action next year.

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2 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Blogger Mr. Fabulous offered these pearls of wisdom...

It's time to give my man Dave another shot at hosting!

8:34 AM  
Blogger SwanShadow offered these pearls of wisdom...

Mr. Fab: I can't imagine how having Dave Coulier host the Oscars could possibly make the show better.

9:18 AM  

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