Last night a bunch of my girlfriends got together for an Oscar party and my friend N's new basement is divine. We're all wondering why we can't just move in because it's better than any hotel we've ever stayed at together. It was a swell time, laced with sugar, wine and color commentary. (Pink's unfortunate boob sag! Holy Botox, Batman! Let's Google how old ____ is! Love Jen's dress! Hate Cate's earrings! Jared's mom is beautiful! Julia's boobs are resting against her belly button--yikes! Get some support, girlfriend! So that's "Let It Go." Hm. Never heard it before--should've voted for it. How many did you get right on your ballot?)
Those Oscars--I faithfully watch every year. I survived those years with the crazy dance numbers choreographed by Debbie Allen. I cringed through Letterman, applauded Crystal, winced at Hathaway/Franco and grinned at Martin. This year was okay. Ellen is likeable and sincere and not mean in her funny, but I think it's time to rethink this monstrosity of an awards show. Academy, here's my bullet list of ideas:
* Do ONE big movie montage at the beginning to get everyone excited about movies and what they've seen and what great memories they have. Make it awesome and a little long.
* Cut the opening monologue by a third and present an award before the first commercial break. And then? Keep handing out awards at a rate of three before each commercial break. If you managed that pace, the show would be under 2 1/2 hours long.
* I liked how the orchestra didn't cut anybody off this year, good job.
* More back story about the nominees and their categories--this human interest stuff would make watching the Oscars more like watching the Olympics. Present it like "pop-up video" fun facts or voice over while showing the video clips for the nominees.
* Less presenting of the presenters. We know who John Travolta is. *yawn* Unless they're nominated, I don't really care to hear about them. One sentence tops.
* More diversity in the presenters. They don't all have to be movie stars, y'know. They could be directors or producers or other movie people sometimes. It feels like the same seventeen people present every year, which is BOR-ing.
* More interaction with the audience is GOOD (nice work, Ellen).
* No singing during or after the memorial portion of the evening. A tasteful cut to commercial after the final name would have been better than that weirdly joyful rendition of "Wind Beneath My Wings." Just...ugh. Play some somber and recognizable movie soundtrack.
* Also, those people who were listed as "inventor" should have had a picture of their contribution with their name and face. Kind of like you do with images of the actors in their most famous roles or directors doing director-y stuff like standing behind a camera on a mountaintop.
* I like lifetime achievement awards, it's good to honor the history of movies as well as the present.
* Incorporate more appreciation of the viewers--movies wouldn't matter without an audience. This particular Oscars ceremony had me feeling under-appreciated. More talk about what made these nominees special, why they are contenders, how they resonated with viewers. Maybe even post some on the street or in the movie theater accolades given by actual viewers.
* Cut the majestic swell of Oscar soundtrack/wide shot of stage and audience/zoom to presenter on stage. This is a professional production, you can be more efficient and creative in and out of commercial breaks while editing about 10 minutes off this show's running time.
* Finally, a few words about Best Picture. This award should be about more than the performances--the Best Picture should have awesome EVERYTHING--costumes, cinematography, script, effects. I didn't see all of this year's nominated films, but many of them struck me as nominated strictly based on the acting and not much else. There are already categories for that--"Best Actor" and "Best Actress" and "Best Supporting Actress." Capiche?
Spill it, reader. Your Oscar rants, raves, accolades and suggestions. My staff will compile the list and mail it to the Academy of Motion Pictures.