The Academy tried to reel in a younger demographic at this year’s Oscar awards by letting “young and hip” actors host the awards. When the trick did not work many of the critics blamed James Franco and Anne Hathaway when they were not to the reason the show failed. The Academy’s idea to make the show “young and hip” wasn’t a bad idea, it was just executed poorly. There are some adjustments the Academy can make to improve the Oscars next year.
The Academy’s mistake was not attaining the services of Franco and Hathaway. The Academy’s misstep was thinking they could get two young actors and shoehorn them into a show that was otherwise the same show as every year. I’m no automotive expert but I’m guessing if someone was to remove the engine to my mother’s Honda Accord and then installed said engine in my Chevrolet Silverado that it would not work quite the same. That’s exactly what the Academy tried to do.
Franco and Hathaway are not going to succeed with the same material that Steve Martin, Billy Crystal and others were given. What the Academy has to do is turn the show on its head. Get young and hip writers, get a new show runner and completely change everything, not just one aspect. Better yet get writers and a show runner that knows the host. Franco was awful with the usual material but does anybody doubt he would be awesome if Judd Apatow was writing his Oscar material?
Better yet why not get an entire cast and crew that have worked together before. One thing the Academy does at the Oscars that is nice is that every year the Oscar for best Actor in a Leading Role and best Actress in a Leading Role is presented by the winners from the previous year. Why not also honor a cast from the previous year and get the actors to host, the writer to write the material and the director to run the show.
For example the 2011 Academy Awards honored the movies of 2010 so let one of 2009’s highest grossing movies be represented. One of the most popular movies of 2009 to the “young and hip” movie goers was Hangover. How great would the Oscars be with Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifinakis and Ed Hems hosting with the same writers and director from the Hangover.
Another reason the Oscars don’t relate to the younger demographic is because the show is kind of boring. The Academy Awards are just award after award after award and let’s be honest, no matter how much someone likes award shows three hours of reading names off a card is not very exciting.
The award show that is by far the most entertaining is the Grammys. The Grammys are popular because it features a bunch of performances with a few awards strewn about. Obviously it is easier for the Grammys to construct their show that way because it recognizes music and therefore performances are a given. The Academy should take a page from the Grammys though and include more performances in the show.
There are some actors that are in bands. Let them perform at the Academy Awards. I know that suggesting the Academy let actors sing would result in many envisioning William Shatner singing “Rocket Man” but believe it or not there are some actors with actual music talent. Another way to add performances is to have actors recreate famous dancing numbers from movies. At the very least the Academy needs to separate the best song nominees. That show was desperately lacking something different and the part of the show that was different was all crammed together.
It can also be difficult for young, casual viewers to watch the Oscars when almost all the winners are over 40 years old. It’s not a big problem when Matt Damon, George Clooney or Johnny Depp wins but the casual movie viewer is not going to many Colin Firth flicks. How can this be fixed? Add a category that is required to be awarded to somebody young.
The Academy should borrow from the BAFTA Awards and add a Rising Star Award that is given to a young actor under thirty that had a big breakout performance. For example 2010’s nominees could have been Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield from “The Social Network”, Hailee Steinfeld for “True Grit” and Jennifer Lawrence from “Winter’s Bone”. All of these actors were well deserving of an award but there was no way they were going to win “the big one” due to their age and inexperience. With a rising star award one of them can rightfully take home an award.
The Academy can honor movies from the previous year with the hosts and presenters and then honor current movies with the awards. So how can the Academy honor the movies of the upcoming year? Movie trailers. Young movie fans love watching trailers so why not debut trailers at the Academy Awards. I don’t mean films like Iron Man 3, Tranformers 3 and whatever else 3. Use the Oscars as an opportunity to debut trailers of movies that could actually be nominated for awards next year.