The Oscars were Better without a Host

Snow kept me from the full-blown Oscars party I prefer, but we still had a family affair last night, complete with Martinellis, brownie pudding cake, and a close race for the coveted Oscar the Grouch hat. (In the end, DC and I tied, but I gave her the win, since she managed to pick best picture.) A few thoughts on the broadcast:

  • I didn’t miss a host at all. The opening number with Queen was snazzy, though Adam Lambert is no Freddie Mercury. I definitely didn’t miss the lame running gags. In a show that runs over three hours, do we really need random schticks where they bring in people off the street, or where we have a standup routine? I found myself wondering what in the world all that fluff was there for. Last night’s show was done before 11:30, which feels like a small miracle, even though it still ran over. Of course, there have been hosts I really enjoyed. I have fond memories of Billy Crystal, for example. But other hosts have just fallen flat, and it feels like years since we had one I was really happy with. A lot of it has been touch and go, so the question for me is whether the potential reward (a great host with wholly relevant, interesting additions to the ceremony) is worth the potential risk (boring, stupid routines). In the end, I would say it isn’t, judging by last night’s show.
  • It made me wonder what else could be cut. The Memoriam piece is nice, and I liked that they cut the mic to the audience, so we didn’t have applause when names and pictures showed up. (They died! Yay! Really?) Honestly, if I had one suggestion, it would be to have a host, and have that host be the one person to give out awards all evening. You ditch all the stars trotting out and doing insipid little skits before each award and just have the awards themselves. Maybe I’m too much of a purist? Anyone who wants to see who’s wearing what can see all that during the red carpet show. I think the awards themselves should be all about movies. Clips from the films and performances, music from the films, play the soundtracks of the films, etc. But maybe the audience of moviephiles is just too low.
  • Acceptance speeches: some were soapboxes (which I don’t care for, since people winning an award for acting or cinematography or whatever doesn’t really qualify them in my book for making me care what they think about politics), some were long laundry lists that just went on forever, but some were enthusiastic and heartfelt, and those are ones I really enjoy watching. I’m willing to put up with the former to have the latter.
  • As for who should have won and who did win, of all the nominees, I have only seen: Blackkklansman, Black Panther, Incredibles 2, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Bao, A Quiet Place, Infinity War, Ready Player One, and Solo. So in other words, I have no leg to stand on to say who should have won anything. I don’t believe longevity should “earn” anyone an award, and I don’t believe being snubbed in the past “earns” you a right to an award in the present.
  • That said, I would like to see more of the movies, and next year I’d be willing to put my money into it some more. In my ideal world, I’d like to sit down to watch the Oscars having seen all of the nominations, so that when I fill out my sheet, I can say what I’d like to win. That would take some effort, but I think I could do it. I’d have about a month to watch them all, or at least all the ones I could watch through streaming online somehow.
  • Having seen all the musical numbers, I really liked Shallow’s performance and the song itself. Really well done, and an integral part of the movie. The other numbers I’ve already forgotten.
  • Fashion choices were sort of all over the place. I remember liking Richard Grant’s smoking jacket look, and that dress with all the little mirrors on it was pretty cool, but the king of fashion, I am not. And I really don’t care who designed what.
  • I didn’t see any of the ads, as I started the show late and had recorded it on YouTube TV, so I just skipped them. I missed seeing them, however, and next year I’d like to start on time, honestly. It’s like skipping through the Super Bowl commercials. They’re a part of the experience.

And that sums it up for me. What did you think of the evening? Miss a host?


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