We're 13 days away from the
But why wait?
Let's be clear: We're not wishing failure on this year's Oscar telecast or predicting that host
But it's going to be different on March 2, right? Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are back on the job, as is DeGeneres, returning as host seven years after her first turn. We're sure they're going to put all that experience to good use. But, you know, juuust in case, here are a few ideas for a more perfect night, both for this year and the future.
Ramp up the energy, Ellen. We enjoyed your low-key charm back in '07. Asking
Pick a host. Then stay the course. We've gone from the "OMG! Oscars heart young people" Anne Hathaway/James Franco debacle to nostalgic, Old Hollywood
So, if DeGeneres kills it this year, bring her back. If not, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences needs to find the 21st century equivalent of Crystal, Johnny Carson and Bob Hope — hosts who skillfully presided over the Oscars for years. Since
Change the venue. "The Oscars used to be a good time," says
So why not move it back to a ballroom? Scaling back on the starchiness of a theater setting would do wonders for the vibe in the room and, by extension, the show itself. If, as Tina Fey tells The Times, "high levels of stress are shooting out of just about everyone" at the Oscars, a cocktail — or a plate of Wolfgang Puck appetizers — might help.
Keep it at three hours. The Oscars used to clock in under three hours regularly. Then, beginning in 1974, the show began to stretch, immune to the plight of East Coast viewers and sentient life forms unsympathetic to canned banter. Osborne attributes the bloat to added performance numbers and actors who believe that time limits for speeches "apply to everyone else but them."
So how do you trim the fat?
Move the shorts categories. They exist to honor up-and-comers — and to screw up everyone's Oscar pools. But how about a separate ceremony where the work can be celebrated at greater length and mentorships can be established?
Not all songs are created equal. And songwriters would be the first to tell you this. Some songs fit nicely within the context of a film but aren't exactly performance show-stoppers. Others, like
Streamline the best picture introductions. Or eliminate them altogether. How about just a clip reel ping-ponging between great moments from all the nominated movies?
Do keep the "In memoriam" tribute, though it can celebrate without being so somber. May we suggest that someone (Karen O?) sing "We'll Meet Again"? It's sentimental without being maudlin, and