So, last week I got a bunch of email from fans wanting to know why I hadn’t ever skewered the Oscars.
True confession time: I don’t actually watch the Oscars. And neither, if Nielsen Media Research is to be believed, do many other people: ratings have been in a nose dive for years. Of those who the ratings people measured, only 20 people really watched the show — the other 41,799,980 people only had it on to have an excuse for coming in late to work on Monday.
In my case, watching any awards show ranks somewhere between ‘get a root canal’ and ‘try chuteless skydiving’ on my to do list. And anything that involves both embarrassing thank you speeches and the Kardashians in the same evening, is too painful to even contemplate.
However, like any good columnist, I’m not about to let a silly thing like a lack of knowledge prevent me from commenting. The Oscars is too easy a target. How can I not opine on a show that seems to exist just so people can sit in their living rooms and say: “My god, what IS that she’s wearing?”
First, let’s talk about length. Obviously, the Oscars is too short, which is why the nation’s whip-smart TV executives try to pad it out with several hours of pre-Oscar shows (which includes exciting play-by-play coverage of workers setting up the venue) and post-Oscar shows (which includes exciting play-by-play coverage of parties you weren’t invited to.)
Seriously though, there is a good reason as to why the awards ceremony gets longer each year, and it has nothing to do with the length of the speeches. You see, the producers could easily fix the speech issue by:
1) Forcing each nominee to hand in their list of people to thank, and then run the list as on screen credits during their walk up to the stage. This would speed things up and provide a welcome distraction for the celebrities who know that the only reason people really watch is to see if they trip.
2) Bringing back caning. This could mean either using a hooked cane to drag long-winded winners off stage, or beating them with a large stick. Either method would be highly entertaining.
But no, you’ll never see the awards show shortened, because Hollywood wants to show you how much the industry has improved over the last 75 years. That’s because there’s nothing like 4.5 hours of stale, scripted and contrived jokes to remind you that Vaudeville died for a reason.
Of course, the other big thing about the Academy Awards is: what was everyone wearing? Pre-shows make a big, big point of letting you know whether your favourite star is wearing Armani or Prada, presumably so you can go down to your local Wal-Mart and buy something just like it.
Assuming that you’d want to look like your favourite star that is, because I’m not sure who has it worse — the men or the women. Hugh Grant can drop $10,000 on a ‘Valentino’ just so he can look like: some guy wearing a tux. Cameron Diaz can spend $10,000 on an ‘Ungaro Couture’ just so she can look like: Scarlett O’Hara in that scene where she makes a gown out of the curtains.
Indeed, the pressure on the celebrities to look good is so strong that some of them resort to drugs and plastic surgery just for the awards. For example, once, it was revealed that many celebs got botox injections in their armpits to prevent perspiration.
I’ll wait for you to unclench.
Now I’m not sure I understand why we’re not supposed to see celebrities perspire, because it’s okay for them to tell us — in graphic detail — about their sexual misadventures or childhood abuse stories. I guess they only have to look perfect, because we live in an oppressive, image-conscious society that is ruining our children’s self-esteem. At least, that’s what my friend said just after she and her daughter spent quality time together watching the Oscars and saying: “My god, what IS that she’s wearing?” to each other.
Mind you, none of this means I’d turn down a chance to be a presenter at the Oscars. Apparently, perhaps as a bribe to make sitting through 4.5 hours bearable, presenters get a nice gift basket. While I’d be content with getting the really expensive cheese and crackers, these “baskets” include $5000 resort packages and recliner chairs. So if I get a call from the Academy next week, you can bet my response will be…
… could I have the envelope please?