Tuesday, February 26, 2008
I would find it totally amazing that millions of people around the world watch the Oscars every year, if I weren’t one of them. Every year, as I watch the same old red carpet parade, the same old endless pomp with so little circumstance, I wonder: What’s the point? For me, it’s all about nostalgia. What’s your excuse?
See, when I was a young girl – nine, ten, eleven – the Oscars were magical. My family would sit on the couch and watch with giddy reverence, consuming coffee Haagen Dazs by the pint. I would hold my breath and squint my eyes when the winner was announced, so that as soon as I heard the name I could focus on only the winner’s little on-screen box. I didn’t want to see the losers react to their loss. I remember every win being a surprise – I wasn’t old enough to pore over the critics’ picks, as I do today.
Even the musical numbers were better then, weren’t they? Back when they went totally over-the-top on purpose, and looked like insane spectacles rather than amateur regional theater. Remember when Billy Crystal would ride in on a horse, or drop from the ceiling? It used to be a show, man. What happened? This year, my favorite part of the show (apart from Jon Stewart, who I actually think did a good job) were the little montages of past winners that played right before each category was announced. The only problem was they just illuminated how much more poignant, funny, surprising, and downright kick-ass everything used to be.
I mean, don’t get me wrong – I’ll always watch. Maybe that’s what makes the Oscars such a worldwide phenomenon. Anyone old enough to remember when they used to be great hopes that this year might just be the year that they are great again. But I think the Oscars need to loosen up. Here’s what I would do, if I was in charge:
1. Ban critics from releasing their predictions. More often than not, they all overlap, which makes it near impossible not to know who’s going to win.
2. Similarly, ban release of results from critics awards until after the show. Spoilers are no fun!
3. Hey, why not just fix it so that any critic or media mouthpiece who says the word “Oscar” prior to January gets smacked with a cartoon mallet?
4. Install mild electric shock buttons on the winners’ seats (Price Waterhouse Cooper would have to do this, as they are the only ones who know who will win before the show). I bet the reactions would be much more exciting.
5. Make it mandatory for the host to make a dramatic entrance, preferably involving animals.
6. Hire Broadway choreographers to stage the musical numbers. Also, ban the picking of fucking lame songs (I would be in charge of this).
7. Force all stylists to take LSD and wear eye patches before dressing their celebrity clients.
8. Limit the running time of the show to 3 hours – cut out the following: all montages EXCEPT the Death-O-Meter (I love that one); anyone from the Academy talking at all; animated presenters; all clips of the acting performances (they always choose ridiculous ones anyway, and the actors always make faces as if to say ‘Wow, I sucked!’); gratuitous reaction shots of Mickey Rooney.
Hopefully, if anyone from the Academy is reading this, the Oscars might just earn back their reputation next year. You’re welcome, in advance.