How I would improve the Academy Awards broadcast

So the 85th Academy Awards have come and gone, being watched February 24 by over 42 million people.

So the 85th Academy Awards have come and gone, being watched February 24 by over 42 million people. Over the 3 and a half hour event, Daniel Day Lewis won his third Oscar for Best Actor, Ben Affleck won Best Picture for Argo and Adele won for Best Original Song.

The Awards host Seth MacFarlane got a mixed reaction, although in my opinion he livened up what was all in all a pretty standard awards ceremony. The main problem I had watching the Oscars was the feeling I had seen this all before.

While I don’t doubt the nominees deserved their nominations, it was really hard to care about who won. Partly this was because after the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs, you could pretty much predict who was going to win and the whole thing seemed incredibly false and phony. 

I mean while I can’t knock Lewis’ achievements for being the only male actor to win Best Actor three times in a row, watching his pretend shock when they called his name out as the winner was a little annoying. 

It wasn’t just Lewis though. The whole show was pretty much the same cycle of pretend shock followed by short speech full of false modesty. To be fair, Jennifer Lawrence’s win was somewhat memorable, even if it was for falling over on her way to collect her award for Best Actress.

It seemed less like a celebration to honour films and more like a grand show designed to inflate people’s egos, which  leaves  me  to  ask  myself  what  exactly  is  the  point  of  the  Oscars? Would  the  movie  industry  really  be  any  different  or  greatly  affected  if  the  Oscars  or  the  Golden  Globes  etc., disappeared  into  the  void? 

An Oscar is basically a trophy that’s awarded to a director, actor, etc. who has been judged to be the best in their field similar to how the European Cup is awarded to the football team that wins the Champions League.

So basically the Oscars, like the Champions League, is a competition. I understand the need for competition in sport but films aren’t a sport. They are a form of art and does art really need to be measured in such a manner? 

The Oscars do provide good publicity for films and probably do increase their box office takings. However, most of the time the films nominated have either finished their theatrical run or are about to finish. Although stamping “winner of three Oscars” on  the  films’ DVD box isn’t going to harm the films’ sales any.

But, the Oscars is too big a spectacle to simply push some more DVD sales, isn’t it? In the end I think I have to agree with the people who have been proclaiming the Oscars and indeed other awards are just a way for the film industry to slap itself on the back and congratulate itself.

With that in mind I have to ask how would I improve the Oscars. For one, I would speed up the show. Even if we take out advertisements, this year’s Oscars roughly runs for nearly three hours, which is just too long. Maybe separating the Oscars over to two live shows is for the best. The technical awards could go on one night and the main feature awards (Best Picture, Actor, Director, etc.) could go on the other night. 

Another thing would be to limit the live performances and musical numbers. They aren’t really needed. This isn’t the Grammys, but I do understand how they can be used to break up the show.

But, on this year’s show we had performances from Shirley Bassey, Adele, the cast of Les Miserables, two musical numbers based on Chicago and Dreamgirls and MacFarlane’s own performances. In  my  opinion, its just too many. If you’re going to use them at least limit it to two or three.

Finally, find a way to go backstage and interview the winners. This is something I’m surprised I haven’t seen done. Oscars speeches are generally quite short and don’t often give the viewer an insight into how the winner feels, what they learned from working on this film, how they believe it made them a better actor or director, etc.

If it is good footage, quickly edit it and place it into the show later on or stream the whole thing live on-line for people to see. We get hours of footage of people walking up the red carpet so why can’t we get some footage that at least gives us some small insight into how the winners are feeling?

I know the changes I’ve suggested aren’t exactly revolutionary, but they may inject a little more meaning in the Oscars or at the very least make it more bearable to watch.

What do you think? Are the Oscars relevant or are they and other award shows past their prime? Have your say in the comments section below, on Facebook or on Twitter.