Monday, February 23, 2009

And the Oscar goes to...

Last night's Oscars were the first Academy Awards I didn't watch in the past 40+ years. I could have watched it on the HDTV out front with the old folks, but I was not interested. First of all, the only movie nominated this year for anything that I saw was The Dark Knight (and I saw that on DVD). Heath Ledger won, for Best Supporting Actor, as expected, for his portrayal of the Joker, and as I've said before, would he have even been nominated had he not died?). Second of all, Hugh Jackman was the host. Hugh Jackman? Maybe if he had to host the show as Wolverine it would have been worth watching, but outside any of the characters he plays, he does not have much personality or gravitas.

From the reviews I read this morning, the show was the worst produced and executed Oscars ever. Trying to appeal to the youth market by turning the show into American Idol was a bad idea. Say what you want, but the Oscars always had a bit more dignity than the Golden Globes (where often many of the winners had been drinking, since the show has an open bar).

I also think that there are so many award shows now leading up to the Oscars (the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, People's Choice, Blockbuster, BAFTA, the Independent Spirit, MTV Movie Awards etc.) that by the time we get to the Oscars, there is award show fatigue. But even so, the Oscars always stood apart from the other shows. They seemed dignified compared to the other shows, especially wen they had a good host like Johnny Carson or Steve Martin. I use dignified very loosely, because the Oscars always find a way to embarrass themselves, from truly terrible production numbers (such as an interpretive dance company paying tribute to the best song category) or the year that Rob Lowe appeared on stage as some anonymous woman portraying Snow White to do a dance number and present an award (I can't remember if this happened right before or right after Rob Lowe's sex tape).

As I have gotten older, and have seen less of the movies nominated before they appear on DVD or cable, I have found less reason to watch the show. The past couple years I have watched, much like the Super Bowl, for the commericals. But the commercials during the Oscars are never quite as good as the Super Bowl (for one they have a rule against ads for movies, which often are my favorite commercials).

My favorite part of the show has always been the "In Remembrance" section, where tribute is paid to those in Hollywood who died since the last Oscars. But it's only three minutes out of a three hour plus show and really should be half-hour special in itself.

Unless there is a compelling reason to watch next year, like I am passionate about some nominated film, or there is someone intriguing hosting the show, I will once again give the Oscars a pass. As I get older, three hours of my life is not worth wasting.

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