Great Debate: How Do We Fix The Oscars For Good?
Here at Cinema Blend we've been having the same debates you all have about last night's Oscars. What worked? What didn't? Was it worth bringing Billy Crystal back? How charming is Emma Stone, really? If you want the cut and dry opinion, you can read our pieces on both the 5 Worst Moments and 5 Best Moments of the Oscars. But in the chat below, Kristy and Katey get into the nitty gritty of what makes the Oscars work, why Kristy thinks last night's show was such a snooze, and why more presenters like the cast of Bridesmaids and Emma Stone could make everything better. Check out their conversation below as we move forward from another Oscar year and try to figure out how to make it better next time.
KATEY: So Kristy, I've written a lot about the Oscars already, so let's hear from you first. How did you think the show went overall?
KRISTY: Well, personally I was really disappointed in how safe and dull it was. Not so much the awards, which offered little in the way of surprises, but the general lack of showmanship of the ceremony itself.
KATEY: Was it even more dull than you expected given that Billy Crystal was hosting? I think everyone kind of expected a return to the norm this year... but it sounds like it went even further than that for you.
KRISTY: Definitely. I thought that when they brought him back it would be like - okay, we know what direction we're going in now. But it all felt so painfully old hat. And he seemed to just hit the very low bar they put before him. He didn't even commit to jazz hands during his song number.
KATEY: Ha! You might be the only person who demands more jazz hands from her Oscars. I enjoyed the opening number while I watched it, but I now realize I remember very little about it.
KRISTY: I think it reflects a lack of enthusiasm about this year's ceremony. Even the dresses were underwhelming. Of course Spencer's win was amazing, and the Bridesmaids cast was fun. But overall...it was a snooze.
KATEY:The thing about the Bridesmaids cast-- and also Emma Stone, who I thought was terrific-- is that they brought this youthful, fresh energy, and I really think part of it was just them being female. In their small doses they were able to do one thing and do it really well, whereas last year Anne Hathaway was struggling trying to keep this whole ship afloat. It makes you wonder if the whole idea of the host is maybe outdated-- maybe they should focus on making individual bits work instead of having a host guide the whole thing.
KRISTY: They were definitely fun. A breath of fresh air and excitement. They seemed like they were genuinely thrilled to be there.
KATEY: The idea of "being excited to be there" is an interesting note. Obviously James Franco failed at that entirely last year, and as good as Crystal is, he's too used to it. But then you get stuff like those mini-movies about actors talking about how much they love movies, and you're reminded of how exciting that can be. I feel like something onstage could better capture what the viewing audience imagines being at the Oscars would be like.
KRISTY: It needs to be about enthusiasm. Too many people were looking regal or like they were at work. Which we know they are, but making us see that sucks. You're living the dream, make it look fun for goodness sakes!
KATEY: The thing about the Oscars is people are going to complain no matter what-- there's no getting around that. But are there specific lessons from this year, aside from making it look fun, that you think they should keep in mind for next time?
KRISTY: I think it all goes back to enthusiasm. Not just why are movies exciting --we're watching the Oscars, we know they're exciting--but why are these movies exciting. Why is this year in cinema unique and worth celebrating? Less back-patting and more earnest fandom I think is needed. I think that's why Emma Stone was so electric. We felt her thrill of "I'm at the Oscars!" Billy Crystal seemed over it.
KATEY:You know what was especially great? The montage of Best Picture nominees that played right before the category was announced. It had a great feel of energy and specificity for this year. I agree that if we can get more enthusiasm from the people onstage, and more focus on the actual movies of the year, that's kind of all you want from the Oscars. Being constantly reminded to go to the movies more often just feels like nagging.
KRISTY: How do you have so many incredibly charismatic people in one room and manage to make it feel static? How do the Oscars screw that up?
KATEY: The eternal question! So any final words for the Oscar powers that be?
KRISTY:Hmm...Keep it about the movies being talked about this year, and remember that for most of us this is the dream, not a day job. Sell the dream not the work. At least not the grunt work.
KATEY: I like that idea. And as for Billy Crystal, do we think this is his last go-round? I don't mind him as a host, but I agree that he seems to have lost a little bit of energy.
KRISTY: I don't want to see him again. Seriously. He's bringing back decades old material, and that mind-reading segment was painfully unfunny, and predictable. But at least everyone laughed very politely. Good thing there are so many great actors there. I loved Crystal when I was growing up, but he made this feel like an obligation instead of an event.
KATEY:Nicely said-- so whoever they get next year, hopefully it's someone who's as happy to be there as we would be. OK Kristy, thanks so much for hashing out the Oscars with me!
KRISTY: Thanks, it's been fun and cathartic.
KATEY: Now we can move on to 2012 movies! At last!
KRISTY: Here we come Hunger Games!
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