While I have my favorites among this year’s nominees, my most fervent wish is for the ceremony itself. I don’t expect anything so lavish as entertainment. I just really, really hope that for once the ceremony doesn’t vie with a tractor pull for most boring event of the year. I can’t have a repeat of 2011, when my main source of joy (and a critic’s too) was the Kraft mac & cheese commercial.
So here, in no particular order, are my wishes:
- Chris Rock Has a Blast with Trump Jokes. There’s some precedent here. When he last hosted, Rock roasted President George W. Bush by comparing nonexistent WMDs to a toxic tank tops war between the Gap and Banana Republic. This outspoken comic has it in him to alleviate the Oscars’ tedium. Do it, Rock. I beg of you. (His advance jabs at the whiteness of the show give me hope.)
- Nominated Songs’ Performances Are Cut. We don’t watch the whole movies, right? And this ain’t the Grammys, people. Medleys are sufficient. For every bright spot, like last year’s “Glory,” we have years of suffering through songs so lacking in rhythm they may as well be coming from a dying jack-in-the-box.
- The In Memoriam Isn’t Insulting. Should a tribute be seen as an opportunity to snub those you consider unworthy? Are we watching Mean Girls? If not, refrain from the snobbery, Academy. Go for more faces. They’re only on the screen a second anyway. Oh, and give those classic stars more love!
- Everyone Lays Off the Wrinkles and the Botox. Your demographic ain’t the millennials, Academy. We middle aged and elderly folks love the stars who’ve gotten past their pimples. The classic fans among us even want to see those few luminaries left to us. Kirk Douglas is still alive. So is Kim Novak. Who cares if your ageism has turned them plastic, if they don’t stun like they did in 1978? Neither do the rest of us.
- The Academy Learns to Trim. I realize this is the vainest among my hopes, as Hollywood, despite those awards to be presented Sunday, has lost the art of the edit. But let’s review why some cutting makes sense, Academy:
- Very few actors can riff. Do you still not get this after all your hosting blunders? They can’t. Ask poor Neil Patrick Harris. Ask Anne Hathaway. Let’s give actors fewer opportunities to do so.
- Song-and-dance numbers aren’t your expertise. Leave those to the Tony Awards, I beg of you.
- We need our sleep. Since you are still reaching parents with young kids, and the retired. Since you are broadcasting to those of us stressed about Monday morning meetings. A little thoughtfulness about our energy levels would be appreciated.
- We don’t need to wooed into loving film. Montages, clips, and performances about appreciating movies aren’t for us, remember? We’re the fools still watching!! In spite of your bloating of movie times. In spite of the lack of diversity of race or gender in front of and behind the camera. We’re even watching this wretched monstrosity of a show, out of masochism and nostalgia and an entirely unjustified hope you will change. We still love you, Hollywood. That’s how damn much we love film. So nix the reminders, and let the show go on.