The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Welcome to the Blah-scars: An Academy Award Debate

            Were you there?  Did you care?  Sure, I watched it again this year like I do almost every year.  It's an excuse to sit in front of the TV and while away some time-- as though I have nothing else to do.  And as Peggy Lee once so famously sang so many years ago, "Is That All There Is?".

           With me, I suppose it's just a tradition that started when I was a kid.  It's part of our cultural fabric and in some perverse way it's considered to be relevant--to whom I might ask.  Gone are the days of Bob Hope and a night of a thousand stars, now replaced by a build up that last for days and hours of watching celebrities walk the red carpet. And then it all culminates in one big glitzy snooze-fest that leaves one feeling a shruggy so-what moment when it's all over. 

          This is how it all seems to me and now I want to pose the question to you:

Have the Oscar ceremonies become formulaic, trite, and boring and do they need something to put new zing into them?

           The ratings were way up over the past few years.  It could have been the adding of ten films to the best picture roster, some of which were actually popular, or maybe it's because more people have less money and have nothing better to do than to stay home and watch a show that is ultimately meaningless to them.

           Thankfully, there was little in the way of socio-political statements and the biggest one, coming from Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow, was pro-American service personnel.  Maybe because there was no Bush to bash or maybe Hollywood is starting to get the message that many Americans don't appreciate getting their country spat upon.  There was no really outstanding controversy present and I was glad of that.

          Everything was pretty smooth.  The presentations were paced as quickly as an awards show can offer.  There was a wide array of star presenters.  But on the whole, the show lacked pizzazz.  The Academy Award show was just another award show.  I think the shows in the future need something to make them more special.

         For one thing, I miss the best song presentations. For that matter I miss good songs being nominated.  Song choices for the past many years have been pretty weak--not many classics here.  When's the last time you went around singing those Slumdog Millionaire songs.  The productions for those songs last year were colorful and entertaining, but these are not Oscar worthy songs.  Or "It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp"--heard any recent covers of that classic tune.  Oscar songs should be songs for the ages; songs that are universally accepted as classics.  Before nominating a song maybe they should see how many people can actually sing it. Best Song from a  motion picture should be based on the song and not the performance or political relevance.

           They should reinstate good motion picture song nominee performances by decent performers. Maybe they could even have them sung by American Idol winners or contestants. Or how about as they build up to Oscar time they hold a highly visible televised talent competition similar to Idol to find exciting new talent who will perform the best song nominations? Let the Academy members choose the award winners, but let the American public choose the performers,. If the viewers are also stakeholders in the process, it might increase ratings.
             And what was the dance number all about?  They used to have fine Hollywood productions, and this year it was like a hip-hop Cirque d'Soleil.  There were some fantastic dancers on the stage, but it was some of the most chaotic choreography I have ever seen.  The production numbers should be far better than that.

            Then there was James Taylor.  I really like Taylor's singing, but the whole episode with the montage of dead personalities was just not right.  Personally, I prefer the montage backed by lush sentimental Hollywood movie music.  James Taylor should have sang a best song pick and not been a lugubrious soundtrack to a slideshow of people who have died.

             I could have done without the best actor and actress eulogies.  Save that for another time and place or wait until they've died. It sounded like a series of job recommendations and I'm not hiring.  Here again, they might get the American public involved.  Hold a lottery or a contest and pick a couple of regular people to give those awards.  Forget about a testimonial for each actor from a different star.  I don't need to hear Oprah gushing over what's-her-name from Precious.

           I have plenty of gripes about the show and I'll bet some of you do as well.  Did you love the Academy Awards show?  What do you think it needs to make it better?  Did the Academy pick the right winners?  Who were your favorites this year?



  1. A good review of the Oscars, I am not into films.......the last time I went to the cinema was when I was pregnant with my second child and he is 42 this year. I have watched films on TV but music and concerts are more my forte. I did however when I visited Hollywood 2 yrs ago stand outside the Kodak Theatre where I believe the Oscars did /or still do take place.
    I also saw on Tv some of the winners but I am not up on the stars of today.

    Excellent post,Lee. most interesting to read.

  2. I'm never glued to the tube (wow it's not a tube anymore is it?) during any of the award shows. I do like to know what and who wins.

    I love James Taylor. Saw him in concert once. The AW was not a good segment at all with him. He was excellent but the whole thing was awkward. Oh and didn't they leave out Farrah? How could they forget her of all people?

  3. I was glad no one got on their political soap box, too.

    However, the best song presentations I did NOT miss. Those put me to sleep. I didn't like the dancing, either. What on earth was that?
    The songs were lame this year. I don't even like country music, but the one that won was really the best of the lot by far.

  4. The eulogies were interesting, but we can thank them for making the Oscars run too long, as usual.

    I was just bummed Avatar didn't win more...

  5. I missed the Oscars this year and it doesn't sound like I'm sorry.
    Mostly anymore I just want to know the results so I know where Hollywood stands these days. Like you, I'm relieved to know that they didn't do any weird political messages.
    Thanks for the round up!

  6. Nice thoughts! I agree with much of what you said. The Oscars seem so exclusive, so untouchable. Maybe that's part of its draw, I don't know. But I felt like an outsider, peering through a window to the crowd I'm not comfortable around.

    Thanks for visiting my blog! :)

  7. It's pretty ironic that I, a guy who at one time declared he must have a Best Performance Oscar by the age of 26, couldn't possibly care any less about the Academy Awards than I currently do.

    I was angry when 'The Black Stallion' wasn't nominated - not even NOMINATED - for a Best Cinematography award in 1979. To this day, that movie still takes my breath away with some of the most beautiful photography to be found in a motion picture!

    And then when that maudlin soap opera 'Terms Of Endearment' won the Best Picture award in 1983, I was so disgusted that I swore I would never accept a Best Performance Oscar if one was ever offered to me and I swore off the Academy Awards forever. Haven't watched so much as one minute of the presentations since then.

    Of course, it doesn't help matters that Hollywood turns out 98% crap nowadays. But the Academy Awards never were anything more than a fancy dog and pony show.

    Or, as my now deceased friend and fellow thespian, Marty, said of the Academy Awards back in the very early 1980s: "It's just a bunch of a##h###s patting themselves on the back." (I can't argue with that.)

    ~ Stephen

  8. I agree with much of what you say here, Arlee. I was pretty bored with the show. I know there were raves about Alex and Steve, but they left me feeling flat. Bring back Whoopi or Billy Crystal!
    The production numbers were terrible, especially the opening one with Neil Patrick Harris. Why didn't they pick someone who could sing? I was happy Jeff Bridges one, but the rest, I didn't care about.


  9. gone are the days of glamor...old hollywood...

    i don't watch the oscars, emmys or other award shows...seem too political or worse yet too LOVE ME, LOVE ME...

    for me there is so much more in life to do :)

  10. Omigosh, this post could have been written by me -- word for word. I think Hollywood is trying to pretend it isn't glamorous anymore, so watching the Oscars is more like attending a business meeting. It's right up there with the "Dundies" on "The Office",except the "Dundies" is more entertaining.

    I'm a movie buff, but I thought both "Slumdog Millionaire" and "The Hurt Locker" were two of the worst movies I have ever seen. They were both so obviously manipulative. Is everyone else but me drinking the Kool-Aid?

    We sit out here in the dark waiting to be entertained -- by both the movies and the Academy Awards. Why is it so difficult for the folks in Hollywood to understand that??

    Great post!

  11. By the way, I just signed up to follow your blog. Do you have any idea how refreshing it is to find an intelligent, well-written blog!?

  12. In answer to your big question ~ YES!

    So predictable, it was boring. Flashing to bored faces in the audience was tedious. You are right about James Taylor and you are right about the nominated songs ... I want to see them performed!

    Now ... on to the caramels. The beauty of these caramels is in their incredible softness. I have a mouth full of crowns!

  13. Thanks for your visit and your comment, too!
    I wrote two Posts about The Oscars--one with my predictions and then the post about the winners and the show---So, I won't go over all of that here.
    I will say that since most of the songs now are NOT that memorable, it was fine with me how they did them this year. They truly are NOT writing songs like they used's fine this way.
    As to that second dance number...It made no sense to me and had nothing to do with The Best Scores, at all. No Context doesn't do it for me.'
    Frankly, I love the Academy Awards and it IS about The Awards. To me? Ratings should not be what this show is aqbout. I nderstand the "commerce" part but, The Academy Awards should be scarosanct. It is NOT American Idol and I hope it never is....
    Just my opinion.
    I agree with you about the "In Memoriom" Segment...Just Honor those that have died with some lovely Movie Music...

  14. No gripes out of me.

    Sandra Bullock was the only reason I watched
    it at all. And I Thank God she won!

  15. Thanks to all for their comments.

    Yes, Farrah Fawcett and Bea Arthur both left out of the memoriam while maybe 15 or 20 people most of us have never heard of were included. Pretty drastic oversight I think.

    Hurt Locker over Avatar probably had some political message in the decision, but I didn't care much.
    I was glad to see Sandra Bullock recognized in a film that one might have thought Hollywood would have snubbed.

    I have not see THE BLACK STALLION but I guess it will have to go in my Netflix queue. I think an even bigger Best Picture outrage was KRAMER VS KRAMER picked over APOCALYPSE NOW or even ALL THAT JAZZ.

    Actually I missed the opening dance number but I guesss that's no big deal--who's Neal Patrick Harris?

    Jo--I signed up to follow your blog as well. Flattery will get you everywhere.

    Muse and Helen-- thanks for stopping by and I hope you'll be back.

    Lady of the Hills (you can't be that old)-- thank you as well.

  16. I'm with you Geez. I haven't seen Blind Side yet but I was rooting for Sandra.

  17. >>[I think an even bigger Best Picture outrage was KRAMER VS KRAMER picked over APOCALYPSE NOW or even ALL THAT JAZZ.]<<

    Didn't like a-one a-them. Lotsa wasted celluloid there. But 'Terms Of Endearment'? Sheesh! Why not just give an Oscar to 'The Young And The Restless' or 'As The World Turns'?

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McMe

  18. I didn't watch the Oscars this year. Not sure why as I usually do. I guess life caught up to me as I've been pretty busy then became ill. I'm actually catching up on 2009 films on DVD. Just watched Up in the Air last night. Very good movie. I can see why it was nominated for best film.

    Stephen Tremp

  19. I had some of the Oscars on while I marked this year. I can never just watch it - it drives me nuts. I look up once in a while, but it never really captures my interest.

  20. Oscars? What Oscars?
    I guess I missed it. I guess I don't care. It makes no difference to me.

    I don't watch that many movies, so I probably wouldnt know what they were talking about.

    My nose is too deep in my work


  21. And it looks like the ballots are in. Not much debate here. Most of us watched them and didn't care that much or didn't care that much to even bother watching them. Well there's always next year, that is if we remember to watch them.

  22. Ooops guess I'm late on the debate...

    But honestly, maybe it's always been this way but since when have the Oscars because a fashion show more than anything else?

    And who doesn't think that half the celebrities in the audience looked bored to DEATH?

  23. Nobody's ever too late to comment on my blog-- thanks for joining the post-oscar party-- it lasts until the last guest leaves.

    Fashion at the awards show has always been big, but before the last few years I don't recall the several hour red carpet thing with the intense fashion analysis.

    Bored? Did you see George Clooney mugging for the camera everytime it focused on him-- It was like he was saying "isn't this a ridiculous spectacle!"

    Come back, Ginny!


Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.