Showing posts with label 2008 Academy Awards. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2008 Academy Awards. Show all posts

Monday, April 18, 2011

Two "Modest" Suggestions for Next Year's Oscars

It’s been almost two months since the Academy Awards fiasco, generally considered one of the worst Oscar shows ever, if not the worst.

It’s not too early to be thinking about next year’s show, and here are two “modest” ideas that are probably wishful thinking, and the logistics would be enormous, but would, I think guarantee huge ratings and interest. Plus, the timing is ideal for both.

I know the Academy has put the kibosh on having special tributes during the broadcast. But that rule isn’t set in stone and can easily be amended.

Guaranteed Audience Viewershp #1:

2012 will see the 50th anniversary of James Bond. I can’t think of any screen series that has lasted as long as this one, one where a new entry is greeted with as many headlines and maximum box office returns as entries were from 50 years ago.

How cool would it be to have all the 007 actors in person on the same stage. I don’t know if that’s feasible, or if everyone would agree to participate, but don’t you think half the world would tune in to see Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig all together on a stage, in front of a worldwide audience, to take their well-deserved bows to the accompaniment of the landmark James Bond theme?

How nice it would be for the Academy to honor this series, not only for its longevity and entertainment value, but let’s face it, the enormous amounts of money it has returned to the industry.

Heck, even introduce a parade of Bond Girls, villains and henchmen. Don’t be afraid of showmanship. The Academy is part of the entertainment industry, don’t shrug off showmanship. In fact, embrace it.

Include a nicely edited montage of 50 years of 007, complete with quips, memorable dialogue, amazing stunts, etc. It would be truly epic and something that would be talked about for years to come.

A 50th anniversary only comes around once, so the Academy should take advantage of it.

Guaranteed Audience Viewership Idea #2.

This one would be trickier to pull off, but again would be one for the ages and be talked about for years to come.

This summer will see the last Harry Potter film in release. No matter what the film ends up being, there’s no denying that the series is unique in keeping (almost) the whole cast intact over a period lasting 10 years and eight films.

Such excellence should be acknowledged. I’m hardly the first one to say it, but the Harry Potter films boast pretty much a Who’s Who of the British acting community. Did any film series ever contain so much talent? Not just actors appearing in cameos, but inhabiting full blooded, almost Dickens-like characters?

Regular cast members or those who had prominent roles in at least one of the films include, in no particular order: Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon (replacing the late Richard Harris), Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Brendan Gleeson, Richard Griffiths, Fiona Shaw, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Kenneth Branagh, Timothy Spall, David Thewlis, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Warwick Davis, John Cleese, Robert Pattinson and Imelda Staunton.

I’m sure I’m missing some people, but wow. And wow.

Wouldn’t a worldwide audience love to see all that talent in one place, acknowledging their part in one of the most ambitious, and successful, film series of all time? Again, showmanship should play a big role here. Have a short film clip lasting a couple of seconds of say Severus Snape and then have Alan Rickman walk on stage. Do this with everyone.

Watch the crowd go nuts and I guarantee people from around the world would tune in to see it. With filming schedules the way they are, I’m sure everyone couldn’t be there, but even if only half the Harry Potter cast were there, it would be one of the greatest gatherings of acting talents in one place ever.

And then bring out Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint to take their bows.

Showmanship people! Don’t be afraid of it. Embrace it. Celebrate in one evening two of the best franchises of all time. It would be talked about for years to come.

This year’s Oscars was lacking in star power. I wonder how many would stay away knowing these tributes were on hand. They would likely get down on their hands and knees and beg Oscar producers to be a part of that show.

Other improvements? Hire new writers and a host with show biz savvy. But we knew that already.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The 2008 Academy Awards

I thought this year’s Oscar show was one of the better ones of late, and not just because I got 20 out of 24 picks right. If I cared about most of the nominees I would have enjoyed the show even more.

Overall, this veteran Academy Awards watcher was pleased, and hope that first-time producers Bill Condon and Laurence Mark will be asked back for another time. Next time, however, they can fix the things that were amiss at this year’s show.

The pacing was better than usual and even though it lengthened the evening, I did enjoy the various actors and actresses coming out to pay homage to this year’s nominees. There was some powerful star wattage on stage there.

I liked Hugh Jackman as host too, and hope they will invite him back. I liked the set and how the orchestra was placed onstage. He killed in his opening number though some of that goodwill became squandered after the second number.

Please, please, please, banish Baz Luhrmann to the Australian hinterlands for ever. His choreographed tribune to musicals was a huge mess, giving us a retread of his beyond ghastly “Moulin Rouge” (2001) where only snatches of songs were heard. Why was Hugh Jackman intermittently singing “Maria”? I know it’s a tribute to “West Side Story”, but this is the best they could come up with? It was painful. The kids from the “High School Musical” movies and “Mama Mia” were there, but I’m not sure why as they didn’t do much. Why aren’t these things planned better? I’ve seen numbers in PRC musicals that had more thought. Beyonce Knowles did get to sing a line or two of “At Last”, reminding me of how underrated “Cadillac Records” was.

The Best Song presentation was a mess too, meshing together the three nominated songs. Not a bad idea but not so good when “Down to Earth” from “Wall-E” is sung in counterpoint to “Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionarie”, two songs that could not be any more different. And since Slumdog stars Dev Patel and Frieda Pinto were in attendance, why not ask them to recreate their “Jai Ho” dance number from “Slumdog.” The choreography is already done and they had the back-up dancers already on stage. It would have brought down the house.

The other thing that drove me absolutely bonkers was the memoriam segment. Thanks to our ADD-riddled culture, we can’t have a simple, dignified memorial to those that have passed in the past year. No, the camera had to swirl and swing in and out of the images, so much so that often we could not see who was being remembered. Again, don’t they run these things through rehearsal, see it’s not working and with the push of a few buttons just give us a straight-on view of the film clips? Or was it in Queen Latifah’s contract that she had to be shown as part of the sequence? Choosing to include her in the same frame with the screens during the memoriam sequence wound up serving no one.

As a loather of most anything associated with Judd Apatow, I will say I enjoyed the mini “Pineapple Express” movie with James Franco and Seth Rogen riffing on this year’s movies, especially the two stoners laughing hysterically during scenes of “The Reader.” And speaking of “The Reader”, it was a hoot when Hugh Jackman sang in his opening number that he hadn’t seen “The Reader.” I would have loved a Kate Winslet reaction shot to that. Why didn’t we get one? Did she look annoyed? Great, then show it. (Remember Russell Crowe’s reactions to some of the jabs host Steve Martin was throwing his way a few years ago. He was not amused).

And speaking of reaction shots, surely I was not the only one to wish for a cutaway to Brad and Angelina when Jennifer Aniston and Jack Black were presenting the Animation awards. I think there was quick one of Angelina, but wouldn’t you have liked to have them cut to the couple when Aniston first came out? What were their expressions when they were applauding? Unless representatives from the Brangelina camp asked the directors of the Academy show not to cut to them. What would they have done, blackball future Academy Awards? I don’t think so.

I did get a kick out of Ben Stiller’s Joaquin Phoenix take-off and Steve Martin continues to slay me. “Do not fall in love with me!” Classic. I’ll have to remember that line.

But it was a good show, the best one in years. I look forward to next year’s show, especially with the hope that I have a strong emotional connection to at least one of the nominated pictures. (Though I was glad “Slumdog Millionaire” won, as it was by far the best of the five nominated pictures).