Question: have you ever watched the Oscars? Followup: Have you ever watched them all the way through? Don't lie. Sure you might land on it, watched Hillary Swank cry onstage, but actually watched the whole thing? Well, I'm impressed. I too have successfully accomplished this, but barely... I'm on a hiatus from being a PA at the moment... so let me continue with why accomplishing this three hour task of willpower is such a pain in the ass for me and probably many others out there as well.
How many times have you watched an "Oscar Film" and went away scratching your head wondering: "What the hell is the big deal about that?" Now, having studied film and cinema, I could probably tell you or educate you as to "why" certain films and the people involved in them get chosen over others but even then I'll probably bore myself talking to you about it. And if that happens then I can assure you that you'll probably get bored long before I will.
Sure, Oscar buzz is one way to sell tickets and create hype over seeing movies, and I'm all about that, but it can just as easily backfire when you pay that extra dollar to see a movie you typically wouldn't see just because it's "oscar worthy" and then you see it and are like, "I could have spent that ten dollars on a cheap bottle of wine and had more fun." Well, you're not alone. So the next time someone tells you something is Oscar worthy, you'll probably roll your eyes and say, "I'll wait till it comes out on DVD."
Narrowing my irate rant, the biggest problem with the Academy Awards is the telecast. And here's why -- aside from the normal things we don't like about it, the same long speeches, the music that plays everyone on and off stage, the popular comedian host whose normal act always gets turned down a few notches for prime time viewers, and so on and so forth--but really the whole thing boils down to ratings and advertising, just like everything else on TV.
Producers of TV shows, any TV show, Oscars included, need good ratings. They need good ratings so they can sell larger ad-buys. What makes good ratings is determined by how many people tune in. So, next and obviously, a sure fire way to always get good rating is to have popular high grossing films going up against other popular high grossing films. The hope is that fans of those films will tune in to see if they're horse wins the race or goes home jilted. And in the meantime if you get persuaded to by Liberty Mutual Funds then that's pretty good too I suppose.
Now to combat complaints that the wrong movies get chosen for the wrong reasons in that ever prized "Best Picture" category, the Academy has changed the game by adding 5 more slots, making the total slots 10. This will mean that more films will have a chance to go home happy, but more importantly, it will mean more ratings. It's getting harder and harder to hit the mass market audience these days and adding a little diversity never hurt anyone.
So where will I be come January when the nominees get announced? Hopefully working, but aside from that, honestly I probably won't be paying attention. The only way I'll find out who gets the noms is when I'm looking myself up on IMDB to see what my "star meter" is currently at. The entertainment biz is very much broken and it needs a lot more than a group circle jerk on award night to fix it.
I would be a terrible complainer if I didn't offer any solutions, so here's my solution: mix award night with nickelodeon "GUTS" style competition or American Gladiators throw in a little Fear Factor and you've got a hit show. What the hell? Yeah, think about it, you get your five noms for best actress on stage, you give them boxing gloves, and padded whacking sticks, then you dangle them on platforms above a tank of Brazilian water slugs. May the Best actress win. And then, with hair and gowns completely messed up, lip bleeding, let them give a thank you speech. They've at least earned that much. Could you imagine Angelina Jolie, Hillary Swank, Glen Close, Meryl Streep, and Nicole Kidman fighting it out? Or Johnny Deep swash-buckling onstage against Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney? Better yet, have you always wanted to see Steven Spielburg and George Lucas climb to the top of the GUTS Mountain while avoiding avalanches, slime, and water spouts? Yes, you know you would tune in to watch that. In the meantime, you'll have to be satisfied with another year of same-ole-same.
Tune in next week for my new reality show pitch -- disabled convicts in wheelchairs fighting each other to death inside a cage.
It's going to absolutely blow the roof off the networks!