Monday, February 28, 2011

THIS YEAR'S OSCAR SHOW WAS NOT A HIT

Well, the critical consensus seems to be that the 2011 Academy Awards show was a flop. It was a mess, it was boring, and people panned the hosts -- or rather, one of the hosts, James Franco, who apparently skipped his own after-party in embarrassment over the critical drubbing the show took. (Anne Hathaway, though, is a hot babe. If I were Kirk Douglas I'd drool over her, too. Enough said.)

Personally, I think people are simply looking for a scapegoat for this dull, overwrought production that we saw Sunday. Apart from Best Supporting Actress Melissa Leo swearing on worldwide television, it was a really boring night with utterly predictable winners and losers. It put me to sleep.

A lot of people think the show utterly failed in its attempt to bring in young people to the show, especially considering the period piece that was the night's big winner: The King's Speech. The TV ratings were down considerably. People are saying the Oscars are not relevant to young people compared to the Grammys, which at least appeals to the younger audience.

There is something to be said for that -- music has always been more relevant for young people. Even back in the Sixties, young people were more interested in music than the movies, with Hollywood seen as out of touch with the Vietnam generation and desperate to appeal to young people. Then again, a lot of the movies that actually are popular with young people these days are just plain bad to begin with.

This piece in the HuffPost suggests actively courting young viewers was a bad move and that the Oscars are supposed to be a grown-up show to begin with. I think there is something to be said for that as well. I don't think it makes sense for Oscar to try to be something it isn't, and it probably is too square a show to be hip. But if it cannot be hip, couldn't this show at least be less stuffy and full of itself? That's my main complaint -- that and the drooling over fashions during the red carpet shows. (I outlined the usual complaints I have about Oscar night in my cinema column that ran over the weekend. Basically, beyond the "Arnold Schwarzenegger" visual effects categories, there is not much else worthy of my interest on Oscar night.)

Honestly, there are no easy answers to the Academy except this: bring back a comedian to host the show, and not just any comedian. Bring in one that's funny.

Also, Oscar night was memorable for the memorable Melissa Leo F-bomb gaffe. Well, that one has to rank right up there with the time that the streaker ran onto the Oscar stage, or that time when Jack Palance did push-ups on stage. There's nothing like live television.

Oh, if you want my comments on Charlie Sheen's latest antics, those are coming -- soon. Needless to say, the guy has proven to be an endless source of material around here.

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