It’s the same procedure as every year at the Oscars. The red carpet is misused as a catwalk, where actors squeezed in haute couture try to bring through their pure presence more glamour and elegance to the event. On the edge of the carpet the fans are waiting and the assembled world press emphasizes several times what an amazing evening this is and how well everyone looks although it is clearly a lie in some cases. And the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences which organizes the spectacle annually enjoys the attention. It was like this in previous years and it will be probably like this forever, because the Academy clings desperately to the “golden age of cinema”. That’s why mistakes are unwanted. Everything is planned to even the tiniest detail. And this is the problem.
The Academy hasn’t understood that perfection is boring. No one thinks about the poor journalists who have to summarize the evening for their listeners, readers and viewers. No one thinks about the brave millions of viewers who watch the show live, according to their time zone, even in the middle of the night. The unexpected is the essence of such an evening, but the Academy ignores this fact completely. The Academy expects the guests and the host to do something like last year where host Ellen DeGeneres ordered a few pizzas and encouraged the guests to do a selfie. (We shouldn’t forget that this was product placement by Samsung.) Finally something happened. How was it in the last few years? Neither on the red carpet nor in the theatre did something noteworthy happen.
And here we have to talk about the press again. How do you sell a meaningless event as something worth knowing? By turning every nonsense into news like Angelina Jolie’s “the leg”-dress (2012) or the fact that Jennifer Lawrence falls on the stairs on her way to receive her Oscar (2013). People are not interested in Formula 1, because they like to see human beings driving in circles in fast cars. They speculate on a crash or at least a tyre damage. It’s not different at the Oscars.
The times are over where actors jumped up and get overexcited like Oscar winner Roberto Benigni (1999) or Adrian Brody who kissed Halle Berry out of enthusiasm (2003). And the kiss of Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin in 2011 was cut out of the show at cyber speed because the Academy didn’t want to scare the conservative American spectators. But those are the moments which make the Oscars unique and stay in the memory of the audience.
I wish there would be more Hugh Jackmans who dance movies (2009) or Benedict Cumberbatchs who photobomb other celebrities (2014). More filmmakers who just make a fool out of themselves to entertain us. That’s why I also wish there would be an acappella version of Robbie Williams’ “Let me entertain you” sung by a few actors on the red carpet. Or a dance flash mob. I also would like to see a host, presenter or winner to use their time allotted for talking to point out the problems of the industry (talents rather do television instead of movies, problems within the Academy like the consistency of their juries or a word on the #OscarsSoWhite debate). I wish that all of the nominees of one category would walk together on stage and discuss during an improvised battle of words why they deserve the Oscar more than the winner. And Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese stands up, lays down the law and sends the nominees like shy schoolboys back to their seats. I also like the idea that a winner lends his award to someone who deserves it more. Andy Serkis for example should get one for extraordinary achievements in Motion- and Performance-Capture or Leonardo DiCaprio who waits for years to get his well-deserved credit. Why not smuggle sparklers into the theatre and light them when the ballad is sung which is nominated for best song. (Who cares about fire safety instructions? 🙂 ) Why not dance in the hallway? I also wouldn’t mind another Bardem-Brolin-kiss. Maybe 2011 was too early. At least it was something no one expects and hurts no one – that’s what I want to see.
Let’s be honest. No one actually cares about who wins or loses or who wears which designer’s clothes. The crowd wants to be entertained and if the film industry doesn’t know that it’s already over.