The Perfect Oscar Host(s)

The Perfect Oscar Host(s)By the time you read this, Billy Crystal fans everywhere (and I count myself among them) will have had a chance to decompress and begin re-inflating their hopes that one year in the future his price will finally be met and he will agree to return to the stage of the Academy Awards. In the meantime, it’s not too early to start thinking and talking Oscar—or, at least, Oscar hosts—now that Eddie Murphy has been officially tagged as the man in charge of the merriment in 2012.

Is Murphy getting the gig a great idea? A terrible idea? Evidence the Mayans were right about 2012? A piece of news you couldn’t care about in the least because you believe the Oscars are absurd and you turn up your nose at the very idea of watching the telecast?

As always, the announcement of the Oscar host brings about a great deal of second-guessing and chatter. It’s not always immediately clear, pre-show, whether or not a chosen performer will do well navigating the vague expectations of Oscar night, which, if nothing else, should tell us that it has less to do with innate talent than a wide variety of other unpredictable factors. However, I’m going to steam ahead and make something of a predictive evaluation of my own about Murphy’s take on the Big Night:

Count on quite a few biting jokes about African-Americans and their history with the Academy Awards. Murphy himself will arrive on stage with his own baggage surrounding comments he has made about it (“I’ll probably never win an Oscar for saying this…”) and actions he has taken when the voting didn’t go his way (the story of him leaving the ceremony immediately after “losing” the Best Supporting Actor honor to Alan Arkin, Murphy nominated for Dreamgirls and Arkin for Little Miss Sunshine), but I would not be surprised at all to see Murphy eager to target himself with some well-crafted, self-deprecating digs in the early going.

Then, however, Eddie will have the opportunity to offer the Academy—and viewers at home, perhaps even more importantly—the chance to laugh, and hopefully learn, a little more about how things really are with respect to Hollywood tilting the scales of recognition fairly grossly to one side.

In other words, whitey wins most of the awards. I’m hoping he uses a hundred-foot tall, high-definition pie chart to lay out the statistics plainly.

   

He can start with a feint at the outset of the routine by offering that yes, there haven’t been that many, but he’s not the first black host of the Oscars. We’ve seen African-Americans shine previously in co-hosting capacities (Sammy Davis Jr., Diana Ross, Richard Pryor); we’ve had a black star go solo (Whoopi, in 1994, 1996, 1999, and 2002); and, he can point out that he’s not even the first “edgy” black comic to take the stage alone (that was Chris Rock, in 2005). So, out of 84 Oscar ceremonies, we can rack up a total of 11 separate occasions (counting Murphy) when black performers helped host, or hosted alone, the often-gaudy pageant.

That’s over 10 percent! Not bad, huh?

But, let’s compare and contrast that now with, say, how many black directors have been nominated for the top prize in the history of the Academy Awards:

Two. They directed these movies, both of them fantastic:

   

Did either John Singleton or Lee Daniels take home the big boy?

Nope.

Two, out of 410 total nominations. Zero, out of 85 awards. Do go ahead and check my counting, but I believe those numbers to be correct.

The other categories are scattershot when it comes to being much “better” than that unfortunate statistic (you can’t get fewer wins than zero, so none would be “worse”), but none of them stand out as shining examples of the Academy’s progressivism. The first black producer whose film was nominated for Best Picture? Quincy Jones—for The Color Purple.

And we all know what happened with The Color Purple.

The first black director whose film was nominated for Best Picture? Daniels, Precious. In 2009. That’s twenty-oh-nine. Two years ago. Go ahead, do your own research for the other categories—this is not a history that speaks particularly well of itself in this regard, and for my money, Murphy is now the right man at the right time.

In a year when the Academy—a group that loves nothing more than to try to make up for past sins, however deep and however long—will be doling out honorary awards to Oprah Winfrey and James Earl Jones, perhaps at some level in response to the critique that last year’s awards were visibly monochromatic, and likely heaping some Oscar glory on The Help, the acclaimed, black-history-themed hit arriving with its own “Driving Miss Daisy problem” (or is that “its own Mississippi Burning problem”?), Murphy will be well-positioned to mine some cutting comic gold.

The game of judging Oscar hosts now, pre- and post-show, has become a parlor favorite, especially by way of analyzing how contemporary performers stack up to the “gold standards” set by Crystal—not to mention by vintage troupers like Bob Hope (who maintains a record total of hosting gigs at 19) and Johnny Carson (who, yes, comes in third with five to Crystal’s eight).

   

I was too young to be paying a lot of attention when Hope took the stage for the last time in 1977—not that I ever found him to be terribly funny in the first place. (Feel free to supplement all of your how-dare-you-think-Hope’s-not-funny commentary by bopping over to my post Is W.C. Fields Still Funny? , where I will Hope—ha ha—I can continue to gather all our readers’ accumulated rage over my personal taste in comedy being so terribly, objectively wrongheaded). I’m a child of the Carson era, and Carson was great.

Masters of ceremony for Oscar night always have to balance a need for irreverence that livens up the show with an equal requirement of reverence for the long history of artistry the event celebrates—not an easy tightrope to walk, with audience taste for a greater degree of one or the other never terribly clear until well after the fact.

This Eddie Murphy will not be in the house on Oscar night 2012.

Nobody should expect the Eddie of Delirious or Raw to show up—as much as anybody might say they want him to go that far, nobody really does (who has a liking of the Oscars in the least, anyway). That would be more ghastly than the show’s worst interpretive dance number. Having said that, it’s fair to suggest it is almost incumbent upon Murphy to say exactly what he wants to say, within broadcast standards, with the Academy damn well owing it to black America to give the man the oxygen to speak his piece. If he wants to sit down with Spike Lee, Melvin van Peebles, or anyone else who wants to offer him a few piquant jabs to deliver in their place, I say great.

Conversely, he shouldn’t feel the least “required” to speak for anyone but himself, of course, but having watched Murphy commentate on the awards in the past, I have little doubt that while Oscar has largely ignored his terrific work, he has had a long time to form some strong opinions, and hopefully, more than a few good jokes that walk right up to the bleeding edge of what mainstream America thinks would be “acceptable,” and maybe even a couple that stomp right over that line.

Eddie Murphy is the perfect choice to host the 2012 Oscars. His career arc as a high-voltage movie star has been fascinating, to say the least, and he has the comic chops to take center stage during an Oscar year bound to be fraught with charges of tokenism and egregious political correctness, if for no other reason than a sudden wave of celebrating black cinema talent appears conspicuous—but that’s only due to the majority of years that pass with their absence at the podium sadly regarded, without much noise, as the normal state of affairs.

Pressure? What pressure?

  • Hank Zangara

    Selecting Eddie Murphy is a great idea, but not for the reasons you gave. The show is all about ratings, and I predict there’ll be a lot of viewers tuning in because Eddie is so unpredictable, might mess up, go off-script, drop an f-bomb, etc.

    I would rather see Will Smith, but if they can’t afford Crystal, they certainly can’t afford Will!

  • http://www.moviesunlimited.com George D. Allen

    I’m a little confused. How exactly is it you disagree? I’m saying the selecting of Murphy is a great idea because he has comic star power and he’s more than a little likely to be even just a little bit confrontational or attention-getting.

    Are you saying you don’t think this year’s show is likely to be a little more about celebrating black cinema stars than usual? I have no inside info regarding special “segments” or anything like that, but I think it’s a pretty safe observation when Oprah and Jones are picked to get honorary nods in the same year that “The Help” is likely to be a major and talked-about contender, with its themes of race at the center of many of those conversations. And producer Brett Ratner’s idea to put an unpredictable black comic star at the center of all that? Is that what you’re saying you disagree with, that the Murphy pick is a good pick because of these other elements this year? Or are you saying you don’t think that factor entered into the thinking at all?

    To say “ratings” is the key to the Murphy pick is actually to mainly agree with me, since that implies that producers are, yes, thinking about demographics. As in young/old, white/black, etc, who’s watching or not watching, and why.

    But, to be seen purely as a “ratings” bid, I would have to differ in the sense that the most desirable ratings demographic and Murphy’s key demographic don’t really match up. The median age of the Murphy fan (who is knowledgeable about the kind of unpredictability you’re talking about) is older than the sets of eyeballs they want most to court. They tried the younger ratings grab-by-way-of-host w/Franco & Hathaway last year, and it didn’t work so well.

    All that said, I like the Smith idea. I’m sure he’d run things old-school.

  • JIM RICK

    NOT A MURPHY FAN….SO WILL PROBABLY SKIP IT……

  • Joan Henn

    Great choice and Eddie Murphy is a talented actor,
    He has proven this in every role I have had the
    privilege to watch. Will Smith is too expensive as
    you say and Eddie Murphy would have been if the
    powers that be had given him the recognition he truly deserved. At least he will liven things up at
    the Awards and maybe shock them into changing their
    way of choosing prospects for the Oscar. That is if
    they can come out from their Ivory Towers.

  • masterofoneinchpunch

    The best hosts tend to be ones who have done stand up and are the ones who can think on their feet. Eddie Murphy to me is a very good pick. While like Billy Crystal their movies are not always great, their verbal wit can be quite good and that works quite well with the Oscars. He will make it an interesting one and technically I think comically he is more well rounded than Chris Rock, Ellen Degeneres and a lot of the past announcers.

    No woman has won the best director award either. I’m actually not a huge fan of the Oscars (seen all but two of the BP winners though) and have never forgiven them for not giving the Best Actor to Peter Sellers for Being There. Yes I hold a grudge.

    I’m not sure I would go with Boyz in the Hood over Silence of the Lambs though. In 1989 I probably would have voted for Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing (can’t believe this wasn’t nominated).

    Being a big Bob Hope fan I will ignore the Hope digs, but only to say Hope was quite verbally gifted (and had a nice vaudeville background so he technically was well rounded in dance and song as well).

  • http://www.moviesunlimited.com George D. Allen

    MOIIP, you can be forgiven for getting a little foggy w/your Oscar history if my absence of Hope love was temporarily distracting: Kathryn Bigelow won the Directing Golden Boy for “The Hurt Locker.” So, female directors: 1. Black directors: 0. :)

    And after watching “The Truth About Charlie,” I must say for a while there, I wanted them to revoke Demme’s Oscar!

  • masterofoneinchpunch

    Yeah I forgot about The Hurt Locker (which I have seen and forgot about Kathryn, did not forget she was a woman luckily), was also looking at a records site on an older AA which, of course, forgot to mention that. I haven’t been paying as much attention to AA stats in awhile dangit :D.

  • jake gittes

    I’m ok with Murphy, but I still don;t know what is or was wrong with Steve Martin? As for Oprah and Jones, I wonder if they will be relgated to brief bows that the special award winners received in recent years since, as you pointed out, there’s some sort of corrective going on here. Remember that the great Lauren Bacall and Roger Corman had only seconds of screen time.

  • Blair Kramer.

    Stopped watching the Oscar show many years ago. Therefore, it doesn’t matter one whit to me who performs as the host. Or guest host. Or alternate host. Or presenter. Or honoree. Or seat warmer…

  • John Primavera

    Murphy’s choice is purely political. All we heard
    after this year’s nominations were announced was
    “where are the bros?” or “why no black nominees?”
    So now we get Murphy…still brooding about how
    Alan Arkin was chosen over him. Please…when are
    the boobs who run these shindigs gonna learn it’s
    all about talent and not about pandering to the
    likes of Al Sharpton. So the anti-Gay Murphy is
    chosen to boost sagging ratings. As if this dumb
    move wern’t enough, the Academy jerks have decided
    to put nominees under house arrest by banning Oscar parties! New rules. Just who do these
    dictators think they are? No wonder their audience
    is dwindling.

  • Gord Jackson

    I’ve lost my interest in the Oscars even though I think I managed to get through the 2010 edition. But I skipped last year completely. Now, with foul-mouthed, homophobic Murphy hosting, it’s a slam dunk. Last year it was Masterpeice on PBS. And it could be again in 2012.

  • Gary Vidmar

    Oscar’s sagging ratings will continue; Murphy is simply a symptom of it. Cinephiles are finding the show just as disconcerting and pandering as most of the other crap the networks are hawking these days.

  • Salvatore R LaRosa

    Bob Hope or Johnny Carson were the best. They had class. Also David Niven (who can forget his streaker comment).

  • http://www.moviesunlimited.com George D. Allen

    Jake g, not allowing Roger Corman to enjoy a prolonged pubic ovation during the regular Oscarcast really rankled me.

    For the couple folks who mentioned the homophobic issue–I have to say I’m not very aware of Murphy’s day-to-day feelings about it outside of the cruel jokes from his 80s standup. I did a casual look at his Wiki page & it makes mention of him apologizing for it at some level. The way I look at it, if you ask right-leaning folks to separate Alec Baldwin’s talent from his politics, there’s a certain hypocrisy if you don’t take the same approach with, say, Mel or Eddie.

    Murphy’s obviously not quite the star he was in the 80s, but I’ve liked his very good work (Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop) and would like to see him have a Travolta-style comeback. Not too encouraged by the trailer for the Ratner film, though. “A Thousand Words,” maybe?

    Uh-oh. “Hong Kong Phooey” is being prepped. Oh Eddie, Eddie…!

  • sugarpussoshea

    I miss Bob Hope!!

  • Sheryl

    Academy awards are not fair but that not the topic. Right? Will be watching this year as I have done every year just to see the host and the results of the bias voting. Sorry there I go again on my “soapbox”.

  • Gord Jackson

    I am not aware that Alec Baldwin’s politics encourage cruel putdowns of assailed minorities whereas Murphy’s homophobic comments were unforgiveable. Lest we forget, along with 6,000,000 Jews lost in the Holocaust, so also were countless Roma, the mentally and physically challenged, Jehovah’s Witnesses and gays. It’s where your various triangles to identify each group originated. The total combined loss was another 5,00,00 non Jewish people, giving us a grand total of 11,000,000. My point? It doesn’t matter whether we personally identify with any of the foregoing, there is NO EXCUSE for the sort of glib, cheap, hurtful things so-called ‘comics’ come out with to get ‘a laugh’ when aimed at anyone with the holocaust in their history. Sorry, but when Eddie Murphy came out with his anti-gay tirade, he went on my boycott list. And there he stays!

  • http://www.moviesunlimited.com George D. Allen

    Everyone’s entitled to their own personal boycott list, though your response, for some reason, brings to mind that quote from “Bulworth” —

    “I’m not sure how you can get AIDS by burning down your house, but I get your point.”

    Meaning–I don’t quite follow how you get to the Holocaust (and, it seems to me, what could appear to be an indirect or subtle tagging of Murphy as an anti-Semite, whether you mean it or not. I admit, I’m falling behind — is there Gibsonesque evidence of that? Were the Delirious/Raw jokes related to the camps, because I don’t recall the films very well) in this discussion of the “humor” that “is” or “isn’t” forgivable, but at any rate, I certainly don’t exert any particular negative judgment on you for saying you’d avoid Murphy ’cause you don’t accept whatever apology he may have made for the hurtful jokes.

    Just like if a conservative tells me that they won’t watch “30 Rock” because they think Baldwin’s anti-American (which, depending on what company you keep, could be seen as far more traitorous and dangerous than insulting gay people…yes indeedy, all too true), or if somebody refuses to watch a Roman Polanski film because they regard him as an unrepentant (and unsuccessfully prosecuted) pedophile, my position is that I shrug and say OK, your choice of course. We’ll just politely part company if you decide to hold it against me when I buy my ticket to “Carnage.”

    As for there being an “excuse”–my feeling is that Murphy certainly wasn’t alone during that era in terms of the humor that was “acceptable” at the time w/respect to gays, even though I certainly remember there being a stink about how far he took things even then, society just barely in the beginnings of coming around to a better and more enlightened view. In some parts, anyway.

    So I would call it, what?…the “Birth of a Nation” excuse?

  • Miki McDaniel

    Crystal…is King of the Universe of hosts. He sings, sort of dances, easily does ad libs and standup comedy. Perfect in every way. Offer him all the money…. send the rest to the wings. It would also be A LOT MORE INTERESTING…if they had all nominees come up to the stage so they can be LOOKED AT…and HAND the award to the WINNER so we can get full face views of their reactions!

  • http://www.moviesunlimited.com George D. Allen

    MM, I suppose that would be a bit better than that weirdly uncomfortable shtick they tried the year the nominees’ colleagues came out onstage en masse to offer their glowing tributes in rather cloying monologues. Me, I’d like to see the heavy restoration of substantial clips from the nominated films.

  • Marlene

    three cheers for the new face

  • Gord Jackson

    George, my point about the Holocaust was simply this – the horrors the Holocaust visited upon Jewish people are still too fresh in people’s minds to allow an Eddie Murphy to get away with targeting them the way he targeted gays. But other people, gays, the Roma, etc. did nevertheless also experience those horrors and it is just as unacceptable to target them as it would be to target Jewish people with Anti-Semitic rants.

    But there is another reason for my reaction. Near where I live (about an hour away from the U.S. border) we have had a rash of school bullying, a lot of it targeting gay kids and in one particular case resulting in a youth suicide. For the longest time beating up on gay people, physically or verbally has been as socially acceptable to many as beating up on the Roma in Eastern Europe has been socially acceptable to many east Europeans. The young person’s suicide I just mentioned took place just a day or so away from September 10ths World Suicide Prevention Day and I know, from personal knowledge and the interviews I have done on my radio show that suicide in the gay community, especially amongst youth is still a very potent problem. And those suicides have been in large part driven because people like Eddie Murphy felt it was okay to play into the mindset that deems it socially okay to target someone ‘different’. Of course Murphy is hardly unique, but at the time he had an enormous following and great influence in the late seventies and early eighties, which only makes his comments, even with the passage of time totally unacceptable.

    Do I think Murphy is anti-Semitic? I’m not aware that he has come out with any anti-Semitism whereas I am aware of his troubling rants re gays.

    As for Alec Baldwin and “30 Rock”, I suppose the same could be said (and was said) of Jane Fonda and whether one would watch “Julia”, “Klute” or “Coming Home” because of her actions and opinions during the war in Viet Nam. However, while some of the Right might not see the difference, I do see what Baldwin and Fonda engage/engaged in as their right to freely express poltical opinions in a pluralistic democracy that supports that right. But sorry, no, I do not see Eddie Murphy’s hurtful anti-gay rants in the same vein. I think the military/industrial complex of the United States is far more capable of defending themselves from the Alec Baldwin’s and Jane Fonda’s of this world than are a lot of vulnerable gay people who may not even be protected by basic human rights laws. Add to that isolated LGBTQ women and men in small towns and I think you can get the picture.

    For me at least, Eddie Murphy crossed a line, the same line that would have me just as upset if a non African-American comic had targeted Eddie Murphy with racist jokes because of his colour.

    To conclude, my boycott of Murphy continues, not just (altho still in large measure) because of his early eighties rant, but because having now seen the real Eddie Murphy, ‘raw’, I can never again accept him as fictional character in anything. In other words, where Eddie Murphy is concerned, let’s just say there was ‘too much information.’

  • http://www.moviesunlimited.com George D. Allen

    I appreciate & respect your response. Nicely said. Here’s the one thing you wrote where I find I have a difference of opinion:

    “However, while some of the Right might not see the difference, I do see what Baldwin and Fonda engage/engaged in as their right to freely express poltical opinions in a pluralistic democracy that supports that right. But sorry, no, I do not see Eddie Murphy’s hurtful anti-gay rants in the same vein.”

    It isn’t just people on the Right who would differ with you on that equivalency. So would Larry Flynt and a good many civil liberties attorneys, in the sense that if America’s freedoms are to actually mean anything, a “pluralistic democracy” must be as protective of the free speech you find repellent as the free speech you champion. In that respect, Baldwin, Fonda, and Murphy’s speech issues are exactly the same. Not to us morally, perhaps, but I took you to be making a distinction that Baldwin & Fonda’s “offenses” fall under the moral protection of the “free speech” ideal while Murphy’s would not.

    (I would guess you’re not watching “30 Rock” now though anyway, after the Tracy Morgan kerfuffle)

    As I said, I am in total sympathy with your feelings about the bullying story, etc. However, like I feel about the “accountability” some tried to foist upon “Taxi Driver” for the madness of John Hinckley, or “The Basketball Diaries” for the Columbine tragedy, I see the worst of the worst Murphy comedy in sort of the same vein: I just can’t take the material in question and link it morally/causally to real-life bad behavior. And, I’m not really sure the offensive material we’re talking about in Delirious/Raw has had any kind of lasting cultural impact in that regard that makes it worthy of being taken so seriously–which would be a good thing.

    I get it, though. Everybody creates their “lines.” I mentioned one of mine in the Movies That Make You Mad piece, although I think I’d still be open to sitting and watching something that contained a personal “taboo” if I felt it was worth my time. This line, with this person, just isn’t one of mine.

  • Gord Jackson

    Thanks for this George. I can appreciate where you are coming from. And yes, I probably am making the distinction you mention, but I find Baldwin/Fonda targeting a government and its actions as opposed to Murphy who was targeting an already abused minority to be two separate things. Yes, I realize the free and open exchange of ideas in a democracy is our best protection from those who would prefer censorship and control, but I do believe that with it comes the responsibility to choose wisely. To repeat the old cliche, freedom of speech does not mean you can shout fire in a crowded theatre.

    Also, not back in the early eighties but now, were Eddie Murphy or anyone else with his mindset of that time to engage in the same sort of ‘comedy’ he did then, they might (I am not a lwayer so I won’t swear to it) run into some problems in Canada because we do now have hate-crime laws on the books. Certainly there are very tough protocols to follow or of course such accusations could be frivilously made. Incitement to hate is not an easy thing to prove just as the prosecution of a ‘hate crime’ is no slam dunk, but those laws were put on the books to ensure that no group of ‘different people’ can targeted and victimized without some especially severe consequences. For example, law enforcement might very well decide to prosecute if, say, a Jewish cemetary is desecrated and the purpotrators are caught. No, those laws are not about restricting freedom of speech or assembly, but they are about detering those who might otherwise go ahead without counting the cost of their actions. Anecdotally, said laws seem to be working. Anti-Semitism, racist attacks and gay bashing have not been wiped out, but there do not appear to be as many instances of them. I realize it may be hard for an American citizen to understand how a liberal, multicultural, pluralistic democracy can put such laws on the books, but it is one of the many differences that distinguish Canadians from Americans. No, not everyone here likes such laws, but a sizeable majority of us are supportive of why they are there while still recognizing, and indeed guaranteeing in our Charter of Rights all of the freedoms one normally takes for granted in a democratic society.

    Re any lasting cultural impact of Delirious/Raw, I agree, I don’t think there has been any. But only when isolated on its own. Personally I am not sure Delirious/Raw can be looked at in isolation. Indeed, when taken in tandum with a culture, including a Hollywood culture that has seen many minorities or the so-called weakened (Aboriginal/First Nations peoples, gays, African Americans, etc.) as easy targets, then the Murphy performances become contributors like all of the others. In other words, I see Delirious/Raw as a small part of a greater whole. The heinous killing of Matthew Sheppard in Wyoming did not come out of isolation, but was a manifestation of the cumulative effect of years, decades that have messaged the social acceptablity of dumping upon the Matthew Sheppard’s of this world. Rogers and Hammerstein put it best in “South Pacific”, “You’ve got to be taught, to hate and fear…you’ve got to be carefully taught.”

    Finally, re Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan and “30 Rock”, I must confess that I have never seen the show. But then telelvision shows come and go and I don’t even know they have been there beyond what I read in the newspaper or on the Internet.

    Cheers.

  • Alfie

    At one time, the Oscars were a highlight in my TV viewing … sadly, that is no longer true. It all boils down to this: if you have the talent, if you can produce or film or decorate or edit, etc. …. then you deserve a nomination – or perhaps an Oscar. Race, sexual orientation, religious or political persuasion, personal opinions, rich or poor, known or unknown – none of these should matter. Talent should always win out on Oscar night. To consider anything but talent taints the award ceremony. This vote for all-time best host is: 1-Crystal; 2-Carson; 3-Hope; 4-Whoopee; 5-Niven – with honorable mention going to Frank Sinatra, Jack Lemmon and Chevy Chase.

  • http://www.moviesunlimited.com George D. Allen

    Alfie, I like your host rankings (& would completely agree on the top 2)! I suspect you’re aware that yes, during the years the Oscars were a highlight for you, they were most certainly always “tainted” by the intrusion of every single factor you listed. The notion that the awards were ever purely about awarding talent (do I need to point out how subjective that is?)has always been a misguided one.

    Some viewers may see a more recently diverse roster of nominees and winners as wrongful acts of political correctness–but as I mention at the end of this article, their wins are only conspicuous in light of how little artists of differing backgrounds (or movies with different “values”) have been represented on the Oscar stage in the past, not to mention marginalized onscreen in general.

    My own experience with finding the Oscarcast less special than it used to be is more rooted in the fact that, back in the day, it was a lot rarer to see actors/directors etc. in their “civilian” guise on the ‘tube for any length of time. The saturation of celebrity gossip TV/internet programming has taken away that specialness, and these days, I think we may actually be more acquainted with the offscreen comings-and-goings of stars than we are with their actual work.

  • Chad D.

    They need to have Robert Osborne to host.(Host of TCM). They need someone that knows about the history of Hollywood and its actors/actresses. These awards are for the movies. Not a soapbox for every Tom, Dick, and Harry. Enough already.

  • http://www.moviesunlimited.com George D. Allen

    Chad D, I imagine you’d be in the Paddy Chayefsky (author of “Network”) camp, echoing his infamous berating of Vanessa Redgrave’s speech:

    “I would like to suggest to Miss Redgrave that her winning an Academy Award is not a pivotal moment in history, does not require a proclamation and a simple ‘Thank you’ would have sufficed.”

    I’d have to say, however, that I agree with Movieline (where I landed to crib that quote)scribe Louis Virtel when he labels such bloviating attempts at adjuticating the content of others’ acceptance speeches as “terminally lame and condescending.”

    Who are the Toms, Dicks, and Harrys, exactly? Murphy? And how exactly is “the history of Hollywood” relevant except in clips packages?

  • Andrew

    Billy Crystal is the real showman. He has a flair for his song an dance routines at the openings and his jokes in between really hit it.
    Murphy peaked in the 80′s but, it’s hard to top
    his accomplishments since then. I still think Murphy is on top as far as comedians go.

  • roger lynn

    Mr Bob Hope ,Mr Billy Crystal,Mr Johnny Carson were the very best Ms Whoopi was right up there along side them,,,hope Eddie joins their ranks…he should of won for dreamgirls,still believe his 1987 remarks and arkin was 72 had alot to do with his loosing

    • Uday

      I agree with you about Lucas’ changes sooo much. I was lnkioog forward to buy the Blu-rays, but that was before I heard of the changes. Now it’s ruined. I don’t mind Ewoks blinking with their eyes, I can live with a new roar (again) by Ben Kenobi (though the newest one is hilarious beyond belief), I even tolerate a CGI-Dug in Jabba’s palace moving his skinny ass around while all the other non-CGI aliens are sleeping. But to change the definitive moment of Vader’s return to the light side of the force by letting him moan “Noooooo!” like a retard is not acceptable, never will! Lucas, you fucking destroyed Star Wars for me. Thank you for nothing.

  • Thomas A. Petillo

    Carson had them all beat.

  • Scott

    OSCAR Trivia: What is the only film to win all four of the highest categories in Oscar history?? (Best Film, Actor, Actress & Director)??… HINT: It’s a scary, Drama/THRILLER…

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