Time for an Oscars rethink?

I’m a big fan of both the Oscars and BAFTAs. I’ve watched them every year since I was young. When I was a kid it was mostly the highlights shown on TV but since the onset of satellite TV its been possible to watch the full event, starting with the red carpet arrivals which is one of my favourite parts.

Over the past few years though the Oscars has taken a hit on a number of fronts. Viewing figures have dropped, the ceremony itself has had a number of problematic incidents and the entertainment has been lacklustre at best. The show host, or lack thereof has also been a talking point.

A lack of diversity amongst nominees and the recent revelation by a number of anonymous academy members that they do not have time to watch all the potential entries so they end up voting for friends and colleagues has also called for a change in voting procedure.

I agree with both. The Academy does need to rethink its whole nominating and voting process as it’s obviously flawed but I’d like to take a closer look at the ceremony itself. Once again there were not enough women and people of colour nominated. How did Lupita N’yongo not get nominated and Greta Gerwig for her directing of Little Women?

Back in 1929 the ceremony was very short. Something like thirty minutes. This was due to the fact that there were only 3 or 4 awards to be given out. As the number of award categories increased, so did the length and spectacle of the ceremony.

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Up until recently the show was hosted by one or two big names who led the entire proceedings, introduced any in-show entertainment and introduced the presenters of each category. Probably the most famous, and highest number of shows hosted, was Bob Hope. Bob hosted 19 award ceremonies with his first taking place in 1940. My top two hosts would be Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg. They found the right balance of humour and most importantly the right kind of humour.

Since 2019, they haven’t had a host. Instead , they have had a variety of celebrities producing the different categories and segments. This hasn’t worked too well and personally I think they need to go back to one host to link it all together. Both the 2019 and 2020 ceremonies have lacked from this continuity and its very noticeable.

As for who it should be I really don’t know. It needs to be someone who isn’t controversial and doesn’t have an opinion on everything. They also don’t need to be all singing and dancing and joke telling. Choose either a comedian or a singer/dancer or an actor and give them backup for the in-show entertainment. I’d go with Chris Tucker, Paul Rudd or Kristen Stewart if it were my choice!

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One plea though- no Ricky Gervais!

Roasting the Academy and fellow artists is what it should be about. After all , it should be a celebration of film. Unfortunately, both the Oscars and BAFTAs have always had a political undertone to them. Remember Marlon Brando’s protest at the treatment of Native American’s by sending a Native American to accept his reward at the 1973 ceremony?

I’m not saying that actors, directors etc shouldn’t have a political voice because clearly they should. Many actors have done amazing things for a variety of causes by using their influence. I just don’t think that award ceremonies are the place for it. By all means call out the academy on their lack of diversity and representation but topics such as Presidential Elections, veganism and such like are topics for another time and place. After all, its all about celebrating and quite often political speeches put a downer on the nights’ event and puts people off watching. If I wanted to hear a political speech I’d go to a rally or watch the news. Don’t mix the two.

The past couple of years has looked like a very sombre event. There needs to be more moments like this selfie, taken by Ellen DeGeneres, where you can see that the guests are happy and that they are supporting and celebrating each other.

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Quite often of late the humour falls flat. At the 2020 ceremony it happened a few times. Steve Martin and Chris Rock’s section was a disaster, especially for Steve Martin. Then came James Corden and Rebel Wilson in full ‘Cats’ costume which, to be honest, went on just too damn long and made me cringe.

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Take a hint- when the audience stops laughing or the laughter becomes sympathetic, stop….please!

It’s my feeling that the in-show entertainment needs a revamp. Take a look back at what worked well in previous years and what’s popular now and go from there. It’s been a bit hit and miss in recent years. At the start of the 2020 show, Janelle Monae led an awesome song and dance routine which began with a tribute to Tom Hanks’ latest film ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood’ and highlighted many of the contending films for the year. It was however too long and could have been easily split over the evening which would have made it much more enjoyable.

On the topic of Tom Hanks, why hasn’t he been presented with a lifetime achievement award by The Academy? The man is an awesome actor, a humble and kind human being and most importantly he is a Trekkie! That should be enough!

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For me, the best part of the event was seeing these three beautiful women on stage together. Three strong women who play equally strong female characters on screen. Brie Larson (Captain Marvel), Sigourney Weaver (Ellen Ripley) and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman). It was a nice touch to see Brie and Gal paying homage to Sigourney as the first real female action hero.

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One final, thing that JUST came back to me. Why do The Academy not have a up-and-coming or rising star award? Its a missed opportunity to celebrate new and upcoming talent and give them a boost in their career.

Here’s a few suggestions:- Florence Pugh, Thomasin McKenzie, Roman Griffin Davis and Ella Balinska!

 

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