Note: I do not think Kate Winslet will win for best actress, but I would like her to.
I’m excited for the Oscars tonight, but am trying not to get my hopes up. The year’s most anticipated awards ceremony has often dissapointed viewers hoping for glamour and drama. Self-congratulatory segments and clip montages make it seem more like an industry conference than a night meant to celebrate the best in entertainment.
The NY Times reports that People magazine’s website got more pageviews after The Golden Globes than the number of people who tuned into the actual show. More people will probably get their Oscar fix online, on their own time, than bother to stay up and watch it.
Last year all the nominees were sent a how-to video starring Tom Hanks which encouraged them to keep speeches short and funny. The only winner who seemed to have watched the tape was George Clooney. This year the Academy has installed a special backstage camera for effusive winners who want to thank their makeup artist and the people who answer the phone at CAA. The idea is that footage of over-emotional celebrities going on for ages will be shielded from the ever-shrinking television audience but kept on the Oscar website for all those people who will be touched at being remembered.
Host Jon Stewart got blamed for a crap show last year when I thought he worked incredibly well with the bad material he was given. Tonight Ellen Degeneres will be hosting, and I find her mildly entertaining but rather bland. She’ll do a decent job, but you can’t make big waves on a row boat.
It’s easy to blame the celebrity speeches or the host for an event that’s just poorly managed. Producers of the Oscars need to get a tighter reign on the timing, relegate more awards to secondary ceremonies, and include programming that is actually funny and inspiring. They need to hire good writers and cut out all the industry fluff. Considering that their big pre-announced improvement is a backstage webcam, I doubt we’ll see much of a difference this year.
Warning Spoilers of Oscar-night plans that will still not save this overlong wreck:
There are some changes afoot, though, and supposedly they have hired better writers, had well-known directors produce the clip shows, and are using computer animation to make it look like Ellen is dancing with the penguins from Little Feet in the opening skit. They’re also resorting to spreading the awards out more throughout the show to try to force people to sit through all the filler to see which of their favorite actors takes home a statue. Having Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, and George Lucas present the Best Director award together is supposed to be a big surprise, as is having the stars of Dreamgirls sing their castmates’ songs.
Oh, and since there’s no clear frontrunner in the best picture category, there’s the hope that people will watch until the bitter end to get to the news that Babel has won. (I really think The Departed should win, but since Scorcese is overdue for his Oscar for best director, people think the best picture will go to Babel.)
Other Oscar predictions from AndPop.com:
Best Director: Martin Scorcese
Best Actor: Forrest Whitaker
Best Actress: Helen Mirren
Best Supporting Actor: Eddie Murphy
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson
Best Original Screenplay: Babel (Although another source, The Salt Lake Tribune has Little Miss Sunshine winning in this category, and I think that’s more likely.)
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Departed
Best Animated Picture: Cars
Header image is from Stardoll.com, where you can customize your own red carpet, makeup room, and winner’s podium for the Oscars using scores of different celebrities, outfits and accessories. (Stardoll is not a sponsor of this site, but I do know someone who works there.)