Just read your review of the ...
Just read your review
of the Oscars and thought it a bit harsh. This is, after all, an awards show, with the main event being the handing out of awards. Certainly the singing performances, funny montages and humorous turns by Jon Stewart
, Ben Stiller
, Will Ferrell
and Steve Carell
were attempts to liven up the evening. Some succeeded, some failed. But what would you recommend instead? Although I agree with you that there are many ways to reduce the lengthy event, that won't automatically make it any more interesting. So what will? Or do you concede that the Oscars are just one of those events that viewers and critics alike will always find fault with, no matter what happens or who hosts?Answer:
Gee, a critic being harsh? How did that happen? You're right, though. I've been reviewing Oscar shows since maybe the late '80s, and I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've had a mostly positive impression (usually the years with Billy Crystal
at the helm). As I noted, the Oscar show is a dinosaur that defeats most who try to tame it, and Jon Stewart certainly had his moments at the podium — though too few during his opening monologue, when it matters most. The Academy Awards show is a habit, but it's also a habit to deride it more often than not (the winners, the fashions and absolutely the show itself). While the Golden Globes don't pass muster as an awards institution, it makes for a much better and more enjoyable TV show, so there's no reason the Oscars can't try to fix things from within. Streamlining the show would help. But also, I'd like to see them recruit a host who is a showman (or -woman) and entertainer from the ranks of today's movie stars, such as they are. Maybe a Jim Carrey
or a Will Ferrell or even a Tom Hanks
. It might still be deadly, but it's worth a try. I wish one of these stars who've made a fortune in Hollywood would step up and give it a shot. Can't really blame them, though, for ducking what's pretty much a fool's errand.
On another Oscar front, this question from Karen: "Was Lauren Bacall simply having trouble reading the TelePrompTer at the Academy Awards? Or has she been ill recently?" Can't really comment on her health, although I've seen her out and about in New York City in the last few months, and she seemed fine from a respectful distance. (But she is in her eighties, so it's possible.) I think the problem was that she was ill-equipped to read from the prompter, and they should have given her a script to read from. Or even better, they should have just given her one of their honorary Oscars and not made her work. That would have been a lot more gracious.