The wait is over. The 85th Annual Academy Awards will be broadcasted this Sunday and all of us film fanatics will be sure to catch everything from the pre-show red carpet awkwardness where stars try to feign politeness for the camera while secretly wishing they could just pull the wedgie out of their butts, all the way to the last award (Best Picture) being handed to a group of unknowns while the stars from the other nominated films clap with joy for their comrades and silently swear under their teeth.
It has come to my attention however, that the Oscars are not what they once were. Gone are the days of the luxurious Oscar parties. Many people even skip the whole ceremony all together. As a true movie lover, I have decided to throw my hat in the ring and make some suggestions to the Academy as to how to bring back the appeal.
This is no easy task. In fact, the Academy (very much aware of its plummeting popularity) has already tried to spruce up its image by allowing more nominations for each award. This was meant to leave room for more blockbuster successes in hopes that the millions of people who went to see “The Blind Side” on opening weekend would also tune in to watch it receive the Best Picture Award. No such luck. This ended up backfiring immensely with the cinefiles once they realized it wasn’t a joke.
But why not make it a joke? Stay with me here, movie geeks. In order to achieve more viewership, the Academy would have to cater to two different demographics that tend to have conflicting views. They would have to have something for the blockbuster crowd (these would include women that paid to see “This Means War” and men who basked in the glory of “The Expendables 2”), while still offering something to keep the artistic film nuts happy (those that actually saw Amour and didn’t just lie about seeing it). What better way to cater to both of these crowds than with humor? The blockbuster crowd would love it, as evidenced by the popularity of not-so-well-written comedies, and I’m guessing the pretentious movie goers would have an easier time swallowing another terrible best picture choice if they knew it was all fun and games.
I do realize it’s much too late now as the mildly funny presenter speeches have probably already been written for the teleprompter, but here’s a comparison of what the Oscars could have been this year:
BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:
My Pick: My bet is that this one goes to Daniel Day Lewis for “Lincoln.” In fact, I bet this goes to Daniel Day Lewis any time he is in this category. He could have had a role in the unfortunate flop “Movie 43” and still picked up a nomination.
Biggest Laugh: However, if the producers really wanted to make this Academy Awards a big hit, they would choose Joaquin Pheonix for his role in “The Master” on the off chance that he would have another lapse in sanity and accept his award as the homeless rapper he pretended to be for a year. That would be killer for the ratings. Everyone would be talking about that in the break rooms on Monday morning and nobody would dare miss the Oscars again.
BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:
My Pick: This one goes to Jessica Chastain for her role in “Zero Dark Thirty.” No matter how many times it has been done, Hollywood is always amazed when a strong female character can be taken seriously and not just labeled as a harpy bitch.
Biggest Laugh: Quvenzhané Wallis for her role in “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” Come on, just having to watch whichever Hollywood elite was chosen to present this award try to sound out her name will be comic gold. Plus, look how cute she is:
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
My pick: Christoph Waltz for “Django Unchained” deserves the award here. His presence on screen is almost as consistent as Daniel Day Lewis’s.
Biggest Laugh: Although I’m not trying to downplay Tommy Lee Jones’ portrayal of Thaddeus Stevens in “Lincoln,” it would be funny if he showed the same level of excitement he showed at the Golden Globes:
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
My Pick: The Academy will probably go with Anne Hathaway for her role in “Les Miserables” mainly because she’s too nice to snub.
Biggest Laugh: Helen Hunt’s role in “The Sessions” may not have been as widely talked about but it included a fair amount of on screen nudity. If only the Academy could convince her to accept the award in her birthday suit. Now we’re talking ratings!
My Pick: This one’s probably going to “Lincoln.” What can I say? Spielberg’s a genius. I’ll give credit to “Argo” and “Django Unchained” for giving Spielberg a run for his money but let’s face it, a Golden Globes win is like a pity Oscar. The big one’s going to Stevo.
Biggest Laugh: I can’t think of anything more hilarious than the Best Picture Award going to a movie like “Life of Pi.” Never mind the fact that it happens to be in a category of really strong films this year, it’s also a movie about an Indian boy on board a small boat with, what else, a tiger! Oh wow, I’m still laughing that it’s even a possibility.
I don’t expect the Academy to embrace my call to action right away. Afterall, turning the Oscars into a laugh factory would take away a bit of the prestige. But really, since when is anything on television prestigious anymore? Which reminds me, we really must work on that nickname. Oscar sounds a little too high brow…