First up, we have ten Best Picture nominees, instead of the usual five. This was meant to remedy the public backlash that sprung up when The Dark Knight was snubbed last year. Verdict? Completely unnecessary, but still welcome. The Dark Knight of 2009, that is to say, the biggest money grubber out there, Avatar, was always going to get nominated! Even so, with that out of the way, they had room to recognize some other films that would have been forgotten had we only five. Quality, genre films like District 9, and Up, and small, oft-ignored gems like A Serious Man or An Education all made the list, and deservedly so. They're great. If the ten Best Picture thing showed a flaw in the Academy, it showed how much emphasis they are putting on pleasing the public, as they snubbed such great, but commercially ignored, works as (500) Days of Summer and Where the Wild Things Are in favor of The Blind Side. What we have here is desperation, in it's most organic form!
Second up, we have two hosts this year. I don't have anything to complain about here. It will take nothing short of a full Na'vi army to prevent Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin from cracking us up on March 7th. I am very much looking forward to seeing what antics Baldwin has in store, and I am especially looking forward to Martin redeeming himself in my eyes.
Ok, now on the problematic issues. As news starts to trickle in about who is hosting, one thing is clear. The talent of the hosts will be quite questionable this year. Instead of getting great artists like Steven Speilberg, Christopher Walken, Daniel Day-Lewis, or Clint Eastwood, we get... Zac Efron, Kristin Stewart, and Taylor Lautner? What? I understand wanting to reel in as many viewers as possible, Academy, but come on. All three of these were in terrible movies this year, and they all sucked in them. Well, Efron did redeem himself, somewhat, in Me and Orson Welles, and Stewart was on fire at Sundance, but seriously! These people have not proven themselves to be of Oscar flavor, and have no business presenting. Give them another year, and see if they deserve it then. Stewart's almost there, but Efron and Lautner have a ways to go. Hopefully, they don't surprise us with Robert Pattinson again, because if they do, I just might throw my computer at the TV.
The next change I want to address, yet again, further highlights how friggin' low the Academy will stoop to get viewers. They are changing the framework of the acceptance speeches so that winners will only get 45 seconds to say what they have to before the music starts playing on the telecast, and then, they have a place backstage for longer expressions of gratitude that will be viewable online. Come on. Really? Half the fun of Oscar night is watching the winners make complete assholes of themselves on stage! I'll be the first to admit that some of them can go on for forever and a Wednesday, but these people just won an Oscar. They deserve the spotlight! Let em' have it!
And finally, the biggest change, that has me in a righteous fury, is that the Academy has decided to do away with the performances of Best Original Song. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Yeah, I know, the mash-up they did last year of the three nominees failed miserably, but at least it was interesting. The performances always do a lot in mixing up the telecast, ensuring that it doesn't stay boring for too long. Doing away with them all together is just wrong! The nominated writers deserve to have their work heard on Oscar night; a 10 second blurb does not cut it. And before you get all up in my face, no! I am not railing against this change because of my, likely, vain hope that Marion Cotillard would reprise her striptease dance for "Take It All" from Nine. If anything, I am pissed that we won't get to see Jeff Bridges croon out his song from Crazy Heart. The Academy is so desperate for viewers that they are willing to reduce the work of the five nominated writers from a full fanfare to a miniscule, iTunes demo. It's just wrong!
Regardless of my opinion on these matters, one thing's for certain! Oscar will be very different this year. Who knows? Maybe all these changes will turn out for the better, and the show will be the best its ever been. Maybe they will all crash and burn, and the Academy will go back to its public snubbing ways. We have to wait and see! Alright. That's all for now. See you next time!