Jim Shea’s observations on Oscar night
Published 12:00 am, Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Half-baked rants, raves, thoughts, questions, complaints, rationalizations, suggestions and explanations regarding the Academy Awards.
The red carpet: I tune into this pregame show, but not because it features a parade of some of the most beautiful, glamorous women in the world. No, I tune in because I am interested in which designer’s gowns they are wearing. It’s kind of like when I used to buy Playboy for the articles.
Red carpet interviews: If there were a stronger word for inane it would perfectly describe the exchanges between the stars and the star-struck individuals on the other end of the microphone. There are times I miss Joan Rivers.
Length of show: The Academy Awards show is too long and should be limited to just the major Oscars. The lesser categories certainly deserve their due, but not when including them in prime-time cuts into my sleep. I mean, once you get beyond Best Picture, the acting awards and maybe director, you’re just filling air time.
Best Picture nominees: Back in the day, when only five movies were nominated, I made it a point to see all of them before the show. This increased my interest and enjoyment because it meant I had a rooting interest not only for Best Picture, but could compare and contrast the nominees in individual categories. I like movies, but requiring me to go to the local cinema 10 times is way too much pressure, not to mention endless trailers, over-salted popcorn and water-downed soda.
The host: The host of this year’s awards show is Jimmy Kimmel, with whom I have no problem. The same applies to the various actors and comedians who have occupied this role over the years: Jon Stewart, Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen Degeneres, Steve Martin, Billy Crystal, Chris Rock. As long as the Academy doesn’t see fit to bring back the duo of Anne Hathaway and James Franco, I think we’re good here.
The opening monologue: How humorous these bits are vary from year to year. Given the heated political atmosphere in the country, the Trumpster will be mined for a lot of material with this audience. How you feel about the Trumpster will go a long way toward determining how amused you are.
Song and dance numbers: I’m sure the show’s big production song-and-dance numbers are great in person. But like fireworks and hockey, they don’t translate well to television.
The envelope please: Considering the amount of planning and the expense that goes into producing the Academy Awards, can someone please come up with an envelope that even the most uncoordinated presenter can open on the first try?
The celebrity cause celebs : Movie stars always have individual causes with which they are affiliated. A common cause this year, however, will be the “MeToo” movement, which formed in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault and harassment revelations. This will be a bad night indeed for horndogs.
Winner’s and loser’s reaction shots: My favorite part of the show is when they divide the screen up to show shots of the various nominees as the winner is announced. In my view, the winners are not as surprised they won as the losers are surprised they didn’t.
Cringe-worthy moments: My second-favorite part of the show are those moments when you actually become embarrassed for the person embarrassing themselves at the podium.
Acceptance speeches: The post-award presentation thankfests are fun for a while, but can go on and on, and on. There is a simple, yet effective way to deal with this — trapdoor.
Jim Shea is a lifelong Connecticut resident and journalist who believes the keys to life include the avoidance of physical labor and I-95. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @jimboshea.