Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Hostless Oscars

It's less than two months until the Academy Awards, and the show still doesn't have a host.  That leaves two excellent options...

1. Hire me!

2. Just don't have a host, since a host is pointless.

The Academy was widely criticized a few months ago for its quickly-abandoned "most popular film" idea, though the other aspect of that story that went somewhat under-reported was how AMPAS wanted to ensure that the Oscar telecast was kept to a tight three hours, even if it meant relegating some of the non-headline categories to the technical awards ceremony a few days' earlier.  Rather than screw over hard-working movie crafts people by robbing them of their rare moment of public acknowledgement, I propose that simply cutting the host entirely would be a much better time-saving tool.

What does an Oscar host really do, anyway?  Opens the show with a 10-minute monologue of intermittent quality....pops up a few more times throughout the evening only to introduce people who are introducing other categories....has one or two designated "comedy bits" usually involving either audience interaction or some type of pre-taped piece.  Examples include Jimmy Kimmel hauling a bunch of celebrities to the theatre across the street, or Ellen taking a selfie with a group of stars.

Now, I used quote marks around "comedy bits" since these segments were, at best, borderline amusing.  (These bits also don't tend to age well, such as when Kevin Spacey shows up in your selfie.)  If one had the option of snapping these routines out of existence Thanos-style, could anyone really be upset?  Would anyone mind missing out on 10 minutes of awkward standup comedy from a nervous host in front of an often-hostile audience?  Do we really need someone to present a presenter?  The presence of the presenters also makes a host seem pretty redundant.  There are already a few presenters that bring the comedy in their introductions, so that's all you really need to keep some laughs in the show.

The best Oscars opening in recent memory was Justin Timberlake kicking the show off with his nominated song from the Trolls movie, dancing through the audience and getting things off to an energetic start.  It was more of a straightforward version of Billy Crystal's old routine of starting his Oscar hosting gigs with a musical routine about the Best Picture nominees, and it kind of underlined the many entertainment weapons the Academy has in its arsenal beyond just a stale monologue.  If you just started the show every year with the Best Original Song nominee that was either a) the biggest hit, or b) performed by the biggest star, that immediately gets things off to a strong start.

For instance, who's tuning away if this year's ceremony begins with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper singing "Shallow"?  Go from that into one of the Academy's beloved video packages about the magic of the cinema, then to some big legendary star (Hanks, Denzel, Meryl....someone on the same level as the star who gets to present Best Picture every year) for a general welcome to the Academy Awards.  That big star then introduces the first presenter to hand out one of the supporting acting trophies, and away we go.

Losing the host cuts a good 20 minutes out of the telecast, plus it also allows the Academy to sidestep the increasingly difficult task of finding someone who wants to host the damn show.  It's a no-lose scenario, plus you get to keep the random tech awards that film nerds like me delight in seeing.

Again, the alternative is just to hire me as host, which is also a great idea.  My price tag is $5000, a personalized Oscar trophy, cameo in an Avengers movie, and permission to do the whole thing in cargo pants.  Tuxedos are hella-uncomfortable.

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