And Now The Oscars Might Have No Host At All…

So Sayeth Variety:

Another option being tossed around is not having any host at all, but rather “a bunch of huge celebs, something ‘SNL’ style, and buzzy people” to keep the show moving, the insiders said. A stunt like a group monologue was floated, one source added.

What’s interesting, aside from the nap I’m going to need because I’m so tired of being right all the time, is that they’re blaming Kevin Hart for not standing there like a man at a mark, with a whole army shooting at him:

One top talent rep wondered why the Academy didn’t more thoroughly vet the host, particularly given that Hart has been asked about some of these jokes in the past.

“My clients are bummed. They’re bummed Kevin didn’t stay the course and serve as an example. It dampens the experience, hopefully [the Academy] can pull it together so we can focus on the excitement,” said the rep.

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Why, that looks suspiciously like confirmation of the thing Kevin Hart said when he “passed on the apology”. You know, the fact that he’s been asked about this stuff before, has dealt with it, and doesn’t want to deal with it again. But… if they knew that, then why would they offer him the host job, with no seeming plan in place for dealing with the predictable outrage?

They weren’t planning on the outrage happening, now were they?

Was this the plan?

  1. Hire edgy (but non-threatening) comic to host.
  2. Wait for someone to notice past edginess, which does not jibe with present edginess requirements.
  3. Issue ultimatum that he apologize for past edginess.
  4. ???????
  5. Edgy (but chastened) comic hosts new Super-Rainbow-Friendly Oscars. PROFIT!

I think that was the plan. Then again, if they’re seriously considering turning the Oscar’s into a SNL-style group-hosting madness, they might not know what “plan” means. Then again, if they actually do that, I might actually watch the Oscars this year, just to taste the sheer horror of it.

Probably not, though.

Do the Oscars Really Need a Host?

So here’s how the Kevin Hart thing went down:

  1. The Academy (whoever they are) offers a comedian a job being meh funny for a few hours while pretty people in gowns walk across the stage to announce other pretty people in gowns and then give each other shiny statues.
  2. Activists on Twitter (whoever they are) digs back through his tweets and his standup routine from ten years ago and discovered stuff that was not all about the LGBT community.
  3. The Usual Call for Apology is issued.
  4. Comedian posts video stating that he’s Moved On from That Time, and everyone else should.
  5. This is Not Good Enough.
  6. Comedian posts another video declining to apologize on the grounds that he’s Addressed This Before.
  7. This is Super Not Good Enough.
  8. Comedian announces that he’s declined the gig, whereupon he apologizes.

Other than the apology coming after the point when it might have done any good (not really, though), this is obligatory. The only question is how soon we’ll get the Burned by Oscar Controversey, Comedian Mounts Comeback narrative. My guess is next year, depending on whether his next flick with The Rock performs above or below box office expectations.

The obvious question now is, who hosts now? The more interesting question is, why anyone? I’m completely serious. The perennial complaint of the Oscars is they go on too long. What better way to slice the Gordian knot of technical awards and laundry lists of people to thank than removing the superfluous element of what’s ostensibly an award show?

All the introductory elements of the show can be handled by one of those navel-gazing retrospectives. All the introducing can be done by some red-carpet casualty who’s not up for any awards (that’s 90% of what happens now anyway).

All hosting the Oscars gets for you is the harrumphing consensus that you should never do it again, partly because one of your weak one-liners Offended someone, and partly because you’re Not Billy Chrystal, who remains the only acceptable Oscar host (along with Zombie Jonnie Carson) in the eyes of people who care about such things. And there’s a low six-figure paycheck, which sounds nice from where I sit, but I don’t have to pay for Southern California real estate or Hollywood divorce lawyers.

Skip it, give the people their statues, and let’s get on with the mindless speculation about what’s gonna go up next year.

“First Man” has a Lot of Advertising, and Variety Thinks That’s Worth Knowing

No, really. This is a real article.

In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Universal Pictures claims the top spot in spending with “First Man.”

Is there some kind of contest for this? An award? Is there a reason I should devote a single brain cell to the fact that a studio spent more money advertising a particular film than other studios spent on other films? Is this the NFL Draft of the movie industry?

I hate the NFL Draft. Not because it exists, but because people get all excited to watch it. People find football teams picking football players entertaining. And the drama of whether this althete or that althete goes First Round or Second Round, and how the crap teams trade picks to the good teams and…

Oh-my-god-who-the-hell-cares

Anyway…

My initial prediction on First Man, in my previous post on next years Oscars, was to say that it will do decent box office and not get any nominations. I’m now going to say that some of the minor controversey about it not showing the American Flag could be sufficient among the Right-Thinking Folks to punish the sansculottes by giving it some Oscar Buzz. Mike Pence would hate that, right?

And that’s all that matters.

Variety Starts Telling Us What Movies We Should Care About Next Year: A Fisking

I don’t care about the Oscars. I didn’t watch them, and haven’t for some years. I don’t require some Star Chamber of Weinstein-enablers to direct my tastes in cinema.

I noticed the article because it let the mask slip: there’s a formula to all this nonsense, and there’s been a formula for some time: there’s a season of Oscar Films, and there’s the rest of the year of Movies for the Great Unwashed. You need to have your movies out during Oscar Season™, or else No One Cares.

Thus, Variety has already decided what we’re going to be talking about a year from now. Or predicted, anyway. This is sufficiently annoying to merit a Fisking.

Original text in bold, my response in italic.

Continue reading → Variety Starts Telling Us What Movies We Should Care About Next Year: A Fisking

The Oscars Were Boring, Just Like Every Other Year….

The Hollywood Reporter offers the usual dead-horse cruelty:

As a television event, this year’s Oscars was more like an endurance test — turgid, badly directed, poorly produced and featuring an endless string of tired or wince-inducing moments from host Ellen DeGeneres.

To which one can only add, well, isn’t that what it always is? A mind-numbing, joke-murdering exercise in making TV viewers wait until sunrise to find out who most successfully lobbied the Academy earned the statue for Best Picture?

That’s why most of the article talks about Ellen’s jokes. It’s because no one cares about the actual Academy Awards. No one cares about the foreign films. No one cares about the animated shorts. No one cares about the Best Screenplay Written on Moleskine or Mescaline, One of the Two.

Personally, I think it’s all a bit unfair to Ellen. Quick, name your favorite joke from any of the years Billy Crystal hosted the Oscars.

kattNone of these guys are doing memorable work. The only way to surprise people at the Oscars is to either commit an epic gaffe (John Travolta’s butchery of Idina Menzel’s name), or be so utterly offensive that no one ever asks you back (Scott McFarlane).

The Academy Awards show is a four-hour circle-jerk of the Factory of Fabulous. They convince themselves of how important they are by making us suffer through it.

And as long as you think it matters who wins Best Picture (I dare anyone to admit they paid actual money for a DVD of Shakespeare in Love), they’ll keep doing it.

UPDATE: I am, of course, not alone:

  • 21 Fixes For the Oscars So It’s Less Boring “There is absolutely NO reason this show cannot be done in 150 minutes. The Golden Globes finishes in 3 hours, but covers BOTH TV AND FILM—with two different categories in film for Drama and Musical/Comedy. The Oscars should not be longer than the longest nominated film”.
  • Here’s why the Oscars are so Boring “No one is allowed to have any fun.”
  • Let’s All Get Mad About the Oscars!

    Or, you know, not…

    Salon has decided that there’s nothing more important going on than taking apart the yearly market display of that Factory of Fabulous on the West Coast. First, the Onion tweeted something about a nine-year-old girl that, even if you get the joke, is absolutely dreadful. Then, Willa Paskin had that epiphany that progressives occasionally have: the realization that Seth McFarlane is kind of horrid.

    The lady-dissing jokes didn’t stop with the ode to breasts: MacFarlane cracked that Jennifer Aniston was a stripper. He sexualized the young Quvenzhané Wallis: “It’ll be 16 years before she’s too old for Clooney,” which is, somehow, only the second most offensive thing someone said about the adorable 9-year-old last night. He also described Jessica Chastain’s character in “Zero Dark Thirty,” the ultra-driven women who through sheer force of will made the raid on Osama bin Laden possible, as “a celebration of every woman’s innate ability to never ever let anything go.”

    All of which was fine when it was aimed at conservatives (Nazi Uniforms with “McCain/Palin” buttons, lazy insinuations of anti-semitism aimed at Rush Limbaugh) and conservative women (cheap shots at Sarah Palin’s mentally handicapped kid), but never mind, welcome to the party, Willa. Now you can freely observe that Family Guy Sucks at Political Humor. But then things get odd:

    But even while Adele and Michelle Obama and Jennifer “Cinderella” Lawrence were creating the show’s highlights, Twitter was doing something even more unsettling than MacFarlane — it was going absolutely HAM on Anne Hathaway and Kristen Stewart, the one for appearing to care what we think too much, the other for caring way too little…(People even made fun of her for walking funny, until they realized she’s been using crutches after seriously slicing her foot. A perfect little encapsulation of what drives folks so wild about Hathaway: Last night she told Stewart to “break a leg … oops.”)

    Yeah, people sure seem to care about celebrities, I guess. And when people care, they find themselves driven to all sorts of unpleasant emotions. Personally, Kristen Stewart’s semi-punk, “I refuse to pretty myself up for your amusement” persona is the only thing about her that registers on my radar screen. I was going to say “the only thing about her that I like,” but that implies that there are other things about her that I dislike. And I don’t. Because I don’t care. Yes, she doesn’t quite have a terribly broad acting range. So? I’m sure she’s got a career-bending Role You Won’t Beleive in her somewhere along the way.

    As for Hathaway…yeah. Don’t care. Nothing against her, enjoy her work, cannot be bothered to comment on whether she’s too eager-to-please at the Oscars. Because I don’t watch the Oscars. Because the Oscars are a dreary display of semi-interesting people doing uninteresting things.