my review yesterday – even the ones who disagreed with me (and left their names). So let me respond to your responses.
If you thought it was a good entertaining show – great. If you enjoyed Billy Crystal, thought he was affable and amusing – terrific. You’re clearly not alone. Even some reviewers agreed with you. But I was so bored I looked foreword to the GCB promos.
So I was looking forward to Billy returning as host. (Hell, after last year’s debacle with Anne Hathaway and James Franco, I would have welcomed Carson Daly.) But when Billy came out I did a double-take. He was unrecognizable. Someone had replaced his face with a rubber mask of Jackie Mason. And then his opening was a mere rehash of what he had done eight times before. I was disappointed. This was Lucille Ball in LIFE WITH LUCY.
People forget that when Billy first introduced that feature where he’s inserted into movies it was original and new. And fucking GREAT. Same with the song-and-dance. It was a revelation.
But that was twenty years ago. Aren’t there any NEW ideas for show openings? Or at least ATTEMPTS? You have a versatile performer in Billy Crystal. He can do skits or dance numbers or faux documentaries or whatever somebody dreams up. This puts him way ahead of James Franco, Whoopi Goldberg, John Stewart, Chris Rock, or David Letterman.
So I was expecting more from the opening. But that’s just me. Ray Kroc didn’t build an empire changing the menu at McDonald’s.
A number of you thought the problem with the show was the writers. I’ve never written for the Oscars, but from what I know it’s a Kamikaze mission. Unless you’re a writer who has creative say in the direction of the show you’re just a punching bag.
And after that, the actor can’t read a teleprompter or remember a line and what results is a trainwreck. Congratulations. You’re still the writer-of-record.
Going in, writers are usually handed guidelines – restrictions. This actor won’t broach this subject, that actor won’t do this type of joke. In other words -- all the areas you were considering Not to mention, some movie stars are so self-absorbed and take themselves so seriously that they couldn’t be funny if it ended world hunger. Good luck writing comedy for them.
Throw in last minute changes, cuts for time, and all of that is just the beginning. Once the show is actually on you’ve got to come up with jokes on the spot and adjust bits as a result of the results.
I would probably do it once for the experience. The year after I’m guessing I would fly back to Australia to be as far away from it as I could.
For the show to ultimately be better the Academy first must decide what they want the show to be. If you’re going to have Morgan Freeman introduce the show and set a tone of elegance and prestige then don’t do shit-in-the-sink and dick jokes. Go one way or the other.
Then find a new host. Use Billy Crystal as your model – someone who is multi-talented, accessible, and spontaneous. Who is that? I don’t know. Neal Patrick Harris? Patton Oswalt? Tina Fey? I’m assuming the Academy has scratched Sacha Baron Cohen off the list. But someone is out there. It might take a year or three to find him or her, but once you do you’re set.
Don’t give out all the Oscars on TV. Sorry but no one gives a shit about make-up, costumes, and short documentaries. I can hear you now – nobody gives a shit about writers either. Not true. A) Top-tiered screenwriters are well known, B) people have definite opinions about the scripts, and C) writers generally deliver entertaining speeches. What was the best moment of Sunday's show? Writer Jim Rash mocking Angelina Jolie. Use the time to either shorten the show, find entertaining performances, or both.
Cut the practice where actors speak directly to nominated actors and tell them how fucking brilliant they are. Natalie Portman might think you're a national treasure, but a billion viewers worldwide now hate you. Stop that practice and never ever do it again.
And then pass the baton to Hollywood. If the studios made some decent popular movies that were not comic books or Adam Sandler dreck the Oscar audience would increase because they have seen the movies and have a rooting interest. But Hollywood knows this. They don’t care. Ask Warner Brothers if they’d be willing to trade their upcoming Batman movie for THE ARTIST with all its Oscars. You can throw in SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE too. See what they say.
The Oscars still can be a terrific show. There will always be appalling presenters or production numbers that suck, but that's the fun of it. I look forward to the year that my readers are up in arms because my review was too nice.