Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Cut to the chase. Please.

This morning's column: an Oscar-cast post-mortem. If you're looking to discuss "The Black Donnellys," use yesterday's post.

19 comments:

Zodin2008 said...
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Zodin2008 said...

Fantastic column, Alan, and you definitely are speaking for me, my wife, my brother and my friends.

I was astounded yesterday at the arguments I was getting into with TV columnists like Maureen Ryan (and most of her readers) and Robert Bianco who both gave Ellen an 'A'.?????? HUH????????

I thought the whole thing was dreadful. My argument to Mr. Bianco at USA Today (who liked the show being 'light and classy') is that Ellen's performance would have been far more appropriate and tolerable if the show was 2 hours flat. At 4 hours, I need someone who can make me laugh throughout the proceedings.

Chris Rock and Jon Stewart may have offended some of the Hollywood glitterati or the older audiences, but I am 32 years old and I loved their hosting performances. I laughed my butt off. And let's face it, at least half of the crowd in those award shows are a bunch of a-- kissing phonies with millions in their bank account and their fake causes and need to be made fun of. I am sorry, they do.

And celebrities can choose to be smart and in on the joke (and self effacing) like George Clooney (in particular last year with Stewart in a memorable opening bit) or they can have their face planted to every posterior in the room, ala Sharon Stone.

There's no way I will even turn on the TV next year if Ellen hosts a 4 Hour award show again. Life's too short and we all only have so many years left on this Earth. I really can't even fathom all the praise being heaped upon her in your industry.

Some, like Tim Goodman yesterday at the SF Chronicle, also got it right and took the blowhard fest to the woodshed. I appreciate you doing the same...that's the Alan Sepinwall I love to read!

the2scoops said...

I agree this year's Oscars were a bit of a snooze fest, and it's been a while since we've had a host that was the right fit. I'd like to see Jerry Seinfeld as host too, but what if we consider some actors and actresses as host: Tom Hanks and George Clooney immediately come to mind, as does Meryl Streep. We've had a few years of comedians hosting, and comedy is such a subjective thing, why not have Hollywood actors hosting the Academy Awards for a change?

Tosy And Cosh said...

I'm among those that liked Ellen just fine. She didn't have any of those big moments everyone talks about (a la Crystal's songs), but thought she the low-key approach worked for a bloated, self-important show like the Oscars. Her monoogue, for example, while not killer, was funny, welcoming, and short. Sometimes it can feel like between the host's taped intro and monologue that the show takes forever to actually start. The nominees film I thought was a new, touching, and well-done way of starting the show, and not by making it another showcase for the host.

I also thought that the intros to categories were excellent - and that the screenplay introductionof nominees was the best idea I've ever seen in an Oscars telecast. My immediate thought was that this should now become the default method of introducing screenwriting nominations from this point onward.

Adam said...

I thought Maureen Stapleton received a louder cheer than June Allyson, but if I had to pick, Boyle took second place over the field.

Cut the Celine Dion song. Don't let the Hersholt winner give a speech -- just a two-minute film and let Lansing wave from a box in the balcony. And no performances of nominated songs which no one has ever heard before -- in this case, just the three from Dreamgirls, but not the other two.

That said, there was a lot to like about these awards, esp. in the intro packages explaining some of them, and in introducing the nominated films.

KC said...

Alan, I couldn't agree with you more. Likely the most lackluster and tedious Oscar fest witnessed to date.

When I think what a Carson, Crystal, Stewart or even a Seinfeld might have done with that 'Eastwood translates italian' debacle or those dreadful backstage and 'green' moments, I want to hurl my breakfast on both the producers and ABC executives.

I say next year have Borat host.

Anonymous said...

I actually enjoyed Ellen hosting the Oscars, but definitely agree that they could have trimmed the fat. Did we really need to see what seemed like a never ending amount of montages?

bjooks said...

Can't agree about Ellen -- I really enjoyed her as a host, more so than most who have come before. For as long as I watched, she made me forget how dreadful the awards part of the show was. (Seinfield, however, annoyed the hell out of me trying to take the spotlight -- just present the damn award already.)

Otherwise, WAY too many montages that were boring and didn't tell me anything (but they did give me time to go to the bathroom). I enjoyed the shadow puppetry, though, especially since it took up so little time before the show went to commercials.

In the end I didn't make it all the way through. And that's a big problem: more than half the country was in bed before it was all over. I missed the Dreamgirls performance (one major thing I wanted to see) 'cause it ran so late.

Overall, I'd vote for Ellen as host again. I thought she put the room (and the viewers) at ease, and that made the evening more tolerable considering what the producer had in store.

Joel said...

Alan, it seems as if great minds are thinking alike today.

Paul said...

Poor effort overall. Denegeris had a few good post-monologue moments, but her light and breezy demeaner contributed to the overall boredom of the show. Stewart was much, much better last year. I'd love to see what Seinfeld would do.

Chris Connelly must go, never to be replaced. An Academy-sanctioned "reporter" announcing that certain wins were upsets? A new low in the credibility of awards shows. Hanks provided just the right tone.

I've never been a fan of the montages, but they were less offensive this year as I just Tivo'd right through them, until I caught up with live TV at around 11:20. I agree, though, that they should go, as should most of the other little bits of "entertainment" that get sprinkled in. The only reason people are there or watch the ceremony on TV is to see who wins the awards. Just give them out, and let that be that.

I don't know how organizers determine which nominated songs people have never heard of. They either have to be all in or all out. My vote is for all out. Most years, the songs just suck the oxygen out of the room. Or just suck. The low point was 2004.

Devin McCullen said...

I think one thing I've figured out after looking at a bunch of Oscar reviews is that for any part of it there's someone who likes it, and someone who dislikes it. So - make it shorter, make it move more quickly. Can we all get behind that?

I wasn't that crazy about Ellen - I thought the opening monolgue was pretty weak, especilly after the Errol Morris film got things off to a slow start. She was somewhat better after that, but I'll cast another vote for Seinfeld. (I'll point out that Jerry's in public so infrequently these days that viewers would have been disappointed if they didn't get some shtick from him.)

I liked the dance bits, they didn't really take that long. I think that the songs are useful as a change of pace in theory - the problem is that usually they're just not that good.

And for all the complaints, every year people tune in again - they must be doing something right.

Pete said...

Your column is why I stopped watching the Oscars. I watched last year only because I love Jon Stewart, but it has gotten out of hand. It's not Monday Night Football, it can't end around midnight. It's not worth the commitment just to see what bad movie is voted least awful. That is another problem. Movies, for the most part, have been increasingly awful the last few years. The Departed was good but it is hard to believe that that is all it takes to win Best Picture these days. TV has really passed the moves for top entertainment. Especially for what it costs to see a movie in NYC.

k said...

I have to say I've had seriously torn feeling about the oscars and especially this year. while i normally think ellen is hilarious (at least her stand up) i think it was too mellow (shorter better yes). i liked the pilobolus--short funny and cool but could definately do without songs. and i really really hate to say this because i think techinical people are SO important and i was technical film person back in the day but truthfully sound editing and sound mixing. both presented during the show. the same people are nominated and win EVERY year, seriously. so if you're gonna cut a category--um that might be it.

ok so now y'all can yell at me and disagree.

also could do without the montages--but i kinda liked the history of best foreign film montage--anyone else?

Zodin2008 said...

By the way, several have mentioned and let me chime in at my disgust as well for Chris Connelley. Seeing his annoying face show up is even worse then watching Billy Bush piss off celebrities on the Red Carpet.

Amen to Tom Hanks for making fun of him.

The only thing that would have helped make the Connelley thing work is if say the cast of "The Departed" (Baldwin, Nicholson, Sheen, Wahlberg, Damon and DiCaprio) were all back stage waiting for Connelley with various blunt instruments and gang beat him like an episode of "The Sopranos". You know, the one where Tony went ape on Ralphie after he beat up the stripper? Something like that...only Connelley gets it for REAL and has to limp off, never appearing again.

Then I would have liked to have seen the cast of "The Departed" walk into the control booth and do the same thing to the various people at ABC and the show responsible for making that thing 4 hours long.

Sorry for the violent images but with all the Bloggers reminding my brain of those awkward and horrible moments featuring Chris Connelley, I needed to suggest a way for my mind to feel better!

Clifton Smalls said...

You stay classy, Zodin2008.

Bulldawg4life said...

Hey, I thought Zod's post was hilarious, Clifton--laugh, he was only joking and hey, who wouldn't like the image of a gang beatdown of Connelley? The guy stunk!

Clifton Smalls said...

You and your anti-Mets propaganda are testing my patience, Bulldawg.

dez said...

>>Movies, for the most part, have been increasingly awful the last few years. <<

I keep seeing sentiments like this one, and I'm puzzled: How many movies did you see last year? Because I saw a helluva lot of 2006's offerings and there were plenty of good and even great films out there. I don't get where this attitude is coming from.

That being said, this year's Oscars were incredibly boooring. Ye gods, Academy folk, cut out the chaff and leave us the wheat!

Anonymous said...

I liked Ellen just as fine as host, but there is just no excuse for the length of the show. At least Pilobolus was brief -- I wish I could say the same for the endless stream of boring montages. Foreign films, writers, something about America -- ACK! Please NO MORE MONTAGES. And that Ennio Morricone tribute did not need Celine Freaking Dion singing a song -- we get enough production numbers with the 5 nominated songs and that should be IT.

I think the real solution to shortening the Oscars would be to give out the technical awards in a non-televised ceremony and only give out the "biggies" during the telecast. That way it could be cut to two hours max, even with the "laundry list" thank-you speeches. But Hollywood would never dream of cutting out the little guys from the telecast, because they are so in love with themselves and have such an inflated sense of importance. The sad fact is that America just doesn't care who wins Best Sound Mixing in a Documentary Short Subject, so why are we forced to watch that just to get to the movie stars? Enough already.