It’s like a bad dream that everyone keeps having but its the same dream. A room full of beautiful Hollywood people, many of them in horrendous dresses, have their names called to accept an award. A look of shock and surprise crosses their face and is then used as an excuse as to why they are unable to eloquently deliver a one-page speech. The problem is, it’s not a dream. It’s every awards show ever and it seems to be getting worse.
Those of us who actually watch the broadcasts have no one else to blame because there are a million better things to do with our time. I choose to watch and as that final unprepared speech is fumbled through at 11pm EST, I have nothing but regret for wasting the last three hours. This is the cream of the crop? These people are the reason we spend unfair amounts of money every month for so-called “entertainment?” How is it possible that the people standing in front of that microphone can memorize hundreds of pages of material on-set but can not prepare and deliver a 60-second speech thanking their peers, regardless if they believe they are going to win? It is an embarrassment of the highest order. Some of these people have won constantly over the years and are still unable to edit the “ums” and “awes” out of their presentations or remember the names of people they want to thank (even when the paper is in their hands!). It needs to stop. If producers and networks believe these shows need to continue, every nominee needs to be assigned a speechwriter and must go through a private audition process before the show. Especially the ones who spend their time behind the cameras and are not normally expected to address a crowd.
Which brings me to my next point. Obviously the producers believe it is a good idea to save the major categories for the end of the show so people will stick around but let’s be honest: the bad speeches mostly come from the minor categories earlier in the show. We watch the winner of Best Writing in a Limited Series slowly drag his/her ass up the aisle from the very back of the room, which alone takes an extra 60 seconds, then as they fumble their way through the speech, the music starts playing and they don’t want to leave so they start talking faster, which makes it worse. By the time they get off stage, at least three to four minutes of the show has been wasted and as that adds up through the night, it means that excellent speeches in major categories (such as Donald K. Sterling) get cut off because of time restraints. I see two options for fixing this mess. One option, you do the major categories earlier in the evening so they get their allotted speech time. I know it’s a matter of viewership but let’s be honest, more people are following live online than watching on TV anyways so it is a necessary evil. If that is not going to happen then the other option is making sure the first ten to fifteen rows of seats are for the nominees only. Why is Oprah sitting front row when she is only presenting and not until the very end of the night? When a show wins an award, they march every single person up on stage and some of them seem to be sitting in the parking lot. The amount of time wasted on waiting for winners to get to the podium is unbearable.
One thing I must mention specific to this year’s show was the decision to use this DJ Jermaine Fowler as the announcer. I hope right now as I write this, the CBS executive who made that decision is being escorted by security to clean out his office. Not only was he not funny, witty or interesting, he had no idea how to edit his material into short passages and a couple of times almost spoke over the speech. His voice was like listening to nails on a blackboard and he spoke at Kevin Hart speed but without the funny. I don’t usually like to wish negative things on people but I hope his show, Superior Donuts, is cancelled immediately.
I suppose I should say something about host Stephen Colbert whom I like (but don’t love) as host of The Late Show. I thought he had some strong ideas for bits but they didn’t deliver for the most part. The Westworld hosting robot bit had promise but fell a little flat and the One-on-One with Emmy was doomed from the start. I don’t understand why more hosts haven’t taken notes from Ricky Gervais when doing theses gigs. Stand on stage, be blatantly honest about the show and the stars and don’t rely on silly pre-recorded bits. It is the truest and easiest way to generate laughs. The first thing to get cut for time restraints are the comedy bits so if you are going to get one or two in, they have to be strong, which they weren’t.
I’m sure all these issues will be fixed for the Oscars…I’ll be watching to make sure.