The Oscars

Where’s Steve Stoute when you need him?

So they hire Anne Hathaway and James Franco to appeal to the younger demo but end up with a traditional show that youngsters don’t care about.  No wonder the Oscar telecast is in trouble.

To a youngster a movie is "Iron Man 2".  A roller coaster ride outside the home where you can make nerdy jokes with your buddies or feel up your girlfriend.  The concept of film as art is completely unknown to this demo, because producers have pandered to them for so many years.  Where are the flicks detailing teen angst? Abortion…  Oh right, that’s a no-no.  Or unrequited love?  Instead we get lowest common denominator tripe and that which is so broad it can play around the world, with subtitles in not only Hebrew and Arabic, but Swahili and Tongan.  And even the most casual fan of art knows that if you try to appeal to everybody, you end up appealing to almost nobody.

In other words, the best moving pictures are on television, where it’s all about the story and special effects take a back seat.  There are fewer prima donnas and with lower costs and more production there are more risks.  This bodes poorly for theatrically distributed movies.  Even Harvey Weinstein realizes the jig is up, he’s now producing for television.

And would "Social Network" have won if Harvey had produced it?  Or even the aforementioned "Iron Man 2"?  Insiders don’t believe the best film wins, but the best promoted.  And outsiders just don’t care.

In other words, the Oscars are no longer mainstream.

They retooled the Grammy show.  They got rid of the classical and made it all about pop performances, what the people want to see.  But the awards themselves are still confusing.  If Justin Bieber and Eminem are such stars, how come they don’t win?

I’m not saying they deserve to win.  But the interesting point is the public’s perception.

In music, youngsters believe most music is overproduced commercial crap.  But with distribution barriers so low, there’s a burgeoning indie scene.  Mumford & Sons not only gets on the Grammy telecast, they have one of the best-selling albums in the country.  Whereas most people haven’t seen "The King’s Speech" and still won’t.  That’s a circle jerk for elitists, it’s got nothing to do with me.

Then there are the Golden Globes…  At least they know how to throw a party.  That’s why people tune in.  The awards are a joke, with only a handful of hangers-on voting.  But you get to see the real performers, as opposed to the gussied/trussed up automatons walking the red carpet.  If people want to see clothes, they’ll tune in to Kim Kardashian.  Hell, her clan outgrossed so many of tonight’s winners.

And then there are the MTV Movie Awards.  They realize it’s a joke.  That film is all about hype and cross-promotion and prestige is for pussies.  They give the people what they want, not by pandering to them, but acknowledging that they’re in on the game.  What exactly is the Hollywood game again?

Oh, it’ll be on the front page tomorrow.  Assuming the ancient newspapers have not gone to bed before the winners have been announced.  Once upon a time, baseball was the national pastime.  Now it’s football.  Why?  Because baseball got ever slower and forgot about the children, playing the World Series at night.  The movie business is now baseball, there’s still a lot of money to be made, but it’s a sideshow as opposed to the main event.

Anne Hathaway made the most with thin material.  James Franco was two-dimensional.  Billy Crystal’s brief turn showed us that a real host realizes it’s about entertainment, being warm and connecting with the audience.  Is there anybody out there who doesn’t think if Billy came to dinner they could ease right into conversation?  What would you say to Mr. Franco?

And Sandra Bullock.  Everybody in creation knows about her marital mistake yet the writers have Anne Hathaway say she’s a beacon pointing the way?  Huh?  Talk about laughable moments.

And Francis Ford Coppola makes the biggest and bestest movie of the modern era, sorry James Cameron and Steven Spielberg, but he doesn’t even get a chance to talk on camera?  We could learn something from a guy who made "The Godfather", which still plays seemingly every day and is part of the national fabric, which "King’s Speech" will never be.

And "The Social Network" couldn’t be more now.  But kids didn’t go to see it.  Because they haven’t been trained to see this kind of picture, one that challenges them, one that makes them think.  And the problem is not the kids, but the industry.  Just like a music industry that purveys beat-infused crap and wonders where the audience went.

The music business has been decimated by technology and is now being rebuilt by passionate people who don’t put the bottom line first.  Next came the news business.  Now comes the movie industry.

It’s out of touch.  It wants to be lowest common denominator and high brow at the same time.  It talks out of both sides of its mouth.  And as a result, no one takes it seriously anymore.

Oh, senior citizens still go, like lemmings to the mall in "Dawn Of The Dead".  But fewer baby boomers are addicted, because they remember 1969, with "Easy Rider", "Midnight Cowboy" and "Alice’s Restaurant", and just won’t go to see crap.

Yes, the kids will see crap.  But if there was a way to have the same experience at home, without prying parents, they’d give up the overpriced cinema in a minute.

You think the public is not smart?  Then why are they abandoning 3-D at such a speedy rate?

You can never lose betting on quality.  Especially today, when people know something is good instantly via modern communication techniques.  And this year’s winners were all good, it’s just they were not in pictures that appealed to the younger generation.

Just like hit music is no longer something you live or die for, but something you bump asses to in a club, movies are disposable.  And we suffer for it.  Because when something is truly great, it’s transcendent.

And never believe you can’t be mainstream and great.  Look at those Michael Jackson albums, "Off The Wall" and "Thriller".

But Michael could sing and Quincy could produce and they used the best players available after sifting through a ton of numbers to get the right material.

You can do it.  You can create great mainstream art.  But it’s hard.  And failures are usually complete.  You either make history or are forgotten.

The Oscars have lost touch.

And if Harvey Weinstein is proud and laughing right now I’m crying and disgusted.  I remember being addicted to the movies.  Not only going every weekend, but every night!  That was the thrill of living in L.A., the sheer plethora of films to see!

And the artists shooting for the stars.  Speaking to me.

Now they shoot for the gutter and they don’t care about me.

Oh, sometimes they do.

But infrequently.

I’m looking for that amazing visceral experience.  And now more than ever it comes online from a younger generation putting excellence in front of remuneration, unlike their parents.

Yes, tonight’s telecast was your father’s Oscar show.  Why would you want to watch that?

Comments are closed