Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Seriously, Oscars?

Oscar nominees told to prepare two speeches. Producers are suggesting that people use their 45 seconds on stage to talk about what winning means to them and save their specific "thank you"s for backstage, where they can record another speech on the Academy's Thank-You Cam, videos from which will go up on the Oscars website.

First of all, it's a bit presumptuous to tell people what they can and can't do with their time on stage. I say as long as they don't streak like Robert Opal in '73, they should be able to do whatever the hell they want. It's THEIR NIGHT, for crying out loud!

The second thing that's wrong with that is that the whole point of thanking individuals in your speech is THAT IT'S GOING OUT TO A WORLDWIDE AUDIENCE. No one cares about the clips on the website, unless they're clips of something you missed that actually happened on the broadcast. When Meryl Streep won in 1983 for Sophie's Choice, she said "I have a lot of people to thank, and I'm going to be one of those people who mentions a lot of names. Because I know that two seconds ago my mother and father went completely berserk, and I'd like to give some other mothers and fathers that opportunity." I don't care if it's boring. I would MUCH rather hear someone speak genuinely to at least some of the people who are responsible for them being up there than to blather on about themselves as if it's all their doing.

They give a similar admonition about laundry lists of names most years, and I'm pretty sure it's been several years since anyone - aside from the tech people who are not writers or actors and should not be expected to burst forth rhapsodic up there in front of Jack Nicholson and everybody - actually did one of those. I hope at least one of the winners this year, though, draws attention to how wrong it is to ask someone to cater their speech to the damned television audience.

Look, I think anyone who has watched the Oscars more than once knows that the ceremony is going to be four hours long. It just is. Sometimes you get a three-and-a-halfer, but that's lucky. So stop acting like the world's most self-congratulatory award show is really about all those shlubs watching at home with their box of wine. That's disingenuous, to say the least. And it's a slippery slope when you only allow certain people to be recognized on television. I fear that by the time I get to go to the Oscars, the writing awards will be relegated to the non-televised portion because they're boring.

Speaking of "boring," though ... who needs all these silly suggestions when you can just bring out Will Ferrell and Jack Black to drown out the droners? ;-)

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