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I'd like to thank the Academy ... for cutting back

This year’s Academy Awards show which does not air until February 24, has already made history.  And I have to wonder why since every year, fewer people watch these self-aggrandizing spectacles.  In fact, 2017’s Oscars show was the least-watched in Academy history.  Are producers trying to artificially pump the ratings before the show so nobody notices the lack of interest from everyone outside Hollywood?

The drama began with Kevin Hart, the newly-hired host of the evening, quitting after old videos of homophobic jokes in his stand-up act resurfaced.  He apologized – and apologized again – but the damage was done.  So Kevin’s out.

After weeks of debate, it was decided there would be no host.  Which led to further debate: if a host wasn’t necessary, what have they been doing all these years?

Then came the discussion of the length of the show.  Last year’s was almost four hours.  Four hours.

No wonder viewers don’t tune in all night.  Who can watch so much self-promotion and inappropriate political diatribe and still get to work the next morning?

And that’s the audience at home.  What about the stars themselves?

I remember my butt going numb sitting through three hours of Handel’s Messiah at Christmas as a child.  But at least I got to eat first.  These actors have been starving themselves to fit into their borrowed designer gowns and likely haven’t eaten for a week.  (Although some have smuggled in a sandwich in their purse.)  Finish the show and let them eat already.

So the Academy announced that this year, some awards will be given during commercial breaks and the edited-down footage shown later.  This will cut the drawn-out walks to the stage.  It will also cut down the speeches.

And it’s the second part that has so many upset.  Because now some heartless editor will cut their eloquent “thank you’s” to fellow nominees, parents, friends, spouse, producers, directors, writers, agents, publicists, key grips, assistants, the craft services guy, and even God, himself – for an arbitrary time clock.

That was the problem with the recent Grammy’s.  Some speeches were cut off mid-way and the show still lasted an almost interminable four hours anyway.  There was industry backlash for the former but little acknowledgement of the latter.

So here’s a suggestion to the winners: Give a shorter speech.  And to the producers: Don’t put people like Michelle Obama on stage who are famous and inspiring, but have nothing to do with the industry.  Stay on point and the show will be shorter.

This is the time of year when every facet of the entertainment industry is congratulating itself and finding new ways to do so.  Glenn Close was recently honoured at (and I’m not making this up) the AARP’s Movies for Grownups Awards – not to be confused with the “Movies for Adults” you hide from your kids/parents.

Good for Glenn, but too much time is being spent on award shows.  Enough is enough.  To totally mis-quote last year’s Oscars: Times up.

 

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