10 Ways To Make The Oscar Telecast Less Of A Snooze

Chris Rock will host the Oscar telecast Sunday. (ABC/Andrew Eccles)

(ABC/Andrew Eccles)

Hollywood loves itself. It’s beautiful, gaudy, glitzy and shallow. And we love it because it’s beautiful, gaudy, glitzy and shallow. So how come Hollywood’s biggest night is such a bore? Original it isn’t. I mean, how many times do we need to hear a winner thank their dermatologist for the botox injections? O.K., that was a stretch, no one thanked anyone for botox, but how about their agent, their hair stylist, their ‘people’, their fifth grade teacher? Oy. Give me a break. And how about those musical interludes, or those awards for Best Adapted Subtitle from an Unoriginal Source?

Let’s face it, the nearly four hours of Oscar crawls. It maybe punctuated by moments, like if Jennifer Lawrence falls – again – or some says something controversial. But generally, it’s hardly the stuff of must-see TV. Some barbs will be tossed. Some funny stuff may happen, but the Oscars are bloated, boring and bad. Every year the producers promise it won’t be, but it is.

So with that in mind here are 10 ways to make the Oscars more enjoyable. The Academy can thank me later, with a lifetime achievement award. I deserve it.

1. DITCH THE OPENING NUMBER
No one cares about this opening segment except the dancers who have found a paying gig. Get rid of it. Go right for jokes in the monologue. Let’s warm the audience up.

2. ABBREVIATE THE OPENING MONOLOGUE
Make this short and sweet, and if possible, funny. Be controversial. Like how Robert De Niro hasn’t acted since “Deer Hunter,” or how Donald Trumps’ hair color was inspired by the butter coagulating on popcorn.

3. REWORK THE NOMINATIONS
What if they just announced that these are the films that are in consideration without saying for what? Same with actors. It would generate a heck of lot of conversation, especially on social media.TS_Oscars_022516

4. LET THE WINNERS HAVE MORE TIME….
…. But only if they have something to say. No endless thank-yous. They must prepare, like a role, to emote on why the award is special. This will make the speeches better, and not so boring. If the winner strays into that area of self-serving thank-yous, then start having a big gong going off until they stop. Chuck Barris would approve.

5. GET BETTER WRITERS
Hollywood has always belittled writers, and nowhere is this more evident than in the “unrehearsed’ by-play between the presenters. It’s painful to watch. Find some hungry, edgy comedians and give them certain people to work with. Don’t let the producers know, and let it fly. It will be fresh. Maybe it will be funny or uncomfortable. Whatever it will be it will be far better than the lame stuff being trotted out now as ‘wit.’

6. HAVE COMPILATION PROGRAMMING BEFORE THE OSCARS
Do what TCM does, show lots of film prior to the actual event. A week or more of hour-long shows on Best Films, Best Actors, etc. prior to the telecast. Talking heads can sound smart (I am available), and clips could abound. It would engage the audience much better than those short clips shown within the show. And then think about the ratings and advertising bucks. On a side note, keep the In Memoriam, but maybe find a new editor. Chuck Workman’s style is decidedly old school.

7. MAKE THE RED CARPET EDGY
What are you wearing? Wow, did someone go to college for that insightful question? How about asking something interesting like “Do you find it ironic that ‘Spotlight’ is nominated and yet newspapers aredying?” Or how about, “Hollywood is glamorizing its own hateful period (‘Trumbo’), is censorship and Communism still a fear?” Enough of the softballs, let’s find out what people actually think.

8. GET BACKSTAGE
The wall between stars, films and the audience is falling down. Folks what to know more. At the Oscars, let’s see how people are reacting back stage. Are they jerks? Are they crying? Is their mom there? Will they be going to Disneyland? Heck, we do it for sports event, why not the Oscars?

9. GET A HOST
This host du annum is not working. The producer-du-jour looks around for someone who will draw ratings. Jon Stewart. Chris Rock. Ellen DeGeneres. Neil Patrick Harris. They try hard, but to be the host for this type of event, requires practice. Find someone and stick with them. The host is not going to drive ratings. A good show will. The host is there to move things along.

10. ENTER THE 21ST CENTURY
Use Twitter, Snapchat etc. way more. Have content that can only be found on your cell phone with trivia, contests and reveals. That’ll engage the young’uns. Give them something to do during the boring parts. Adding social media and engaging people as they watch is the way of the future.

There you have it, 10 ways to make the Oscars telecast more engaging and fun. Maybe they’ll make some changes, maybe not. Until then I will bring out my tux, put it on, and prepare for my speech that will never come. “I’d like to thank the Academy, my fifth grade teacher and, of course, my dermatologist…”

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