Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy

Commentary: The Oscars have lost their majesty

Re. “Miller: Not much to be disappointed about on Oscar Sunday,” (March 3): I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, when watching the Oscars was truly a suspenseful event.

Although the Writers Guild, Producers Guild and the Directors Guild were holding award dinners during the years mentioned, they were little known to the general public. Nor did we have those ridiculously self-serving shows such as “Entertainment Tonight” and “Access Hollywood.”

One could read about the winners in the Hollywood Reporter, Variety and a handful of major newspapers. The Screen Actors Guild was decades away from holding an awards ceremony. Although the Golden Globes were taking place, they were pretty much thought of as a joke until the late 1980s, when the broadcasts drew minor national attention on cable stations.

Here’s my point. By the time the Oscar ceremony takes place in late February, we pretty much know who the major winners are going to be because of the publicity generated. The only suspense, if you can call it that, might be the winner of Best Picture.


I think that the only way to really bring back the excitement surrounding the ceremony would be to hold it at the end of the year, or before the other award dinners. The Academy would be wise to wake up and smell reality.

The show runs as long as it does (almost four hours) because of the money machine created by the excessive number of commercials. That will never change. However, removing quite a few of the technical awards and presenting them at a separate dinner ceremony could shorten the show.

The Hersholt award, for instance, has been taken off the main Oscar show, and we now see small clips from the dinner ceremony that took place weeks before. The Oscar show is in desperate need of a trimming of the fat. The show should run two hours, maximum.

A few words about writer Michael Miller’s take on the montages: This year’s were pointless and frankly had absolutely nothing to do with the supposed theme of heroes and heroines. The very best montages shown on the show in years past were produced and edited by Chuck Workman, an absolute master at his craft.


As for Ellen DeGeneres, she just doesn’t do it for me. She’s about as interesting and funny to watch as dry white toast on a paper plate. I am fortunate to have seen the likes of Bob Hope and Johnny Carson as hosts. They were funny, cutting and totally entertaining. For my money, Billy Crystal should be made the permanent host.

As the show went off the air this year, I vowed that next year I would DVR it. Then I can see the major awards in about 45 minutes or less.

HOWARD GEORGE lives in Huntington Beach.