Monday, March 06, 2006

More on the 78th Annual Academy Awards

It seems as though things continue to spiral out of control for the Academy Awards, going from bad to worse to just plain ugly. This year’s presentation was the lowest rated ceremony presentation since 1987 – and that’s with the ‘popular’ Jon Stewart as host. Perhaps if the element of suspense had been injected into the award ceremony then maybe more people would watch. There has not been a surprise at the Oscars – and I mean a big one – for quite some time. The last one I can seriously recall is Saving Private Ryan losing out for Best Picture to Shakespeare in Love. Brokeback Mountain losing to Crash is not a surprise, at least for me it wasn’t. I am more in the know about what is going on in Hollywood then the average person, so it may have been a shock to the rest of America but they could have cared less. Another element that has contributed to America’s lack of interest in the Academy Awards is the politics. Jon Stewart took note of it last evening during his monologue spiel, but I doubt anyone in the audience took him seriously (Nice try Jon). Ever since George W. Bush became president of the United States (and even before then, though less noticeably), the Academy Awards have become a quintessential Democratic National Convention. People who are apolitical don’t want to be harped on about the ‘evils’ of Republicanism or George W. Bush by know-all celebrities who believe they represent mainstream America. I’ll give credit to the Academy for not preaching the liberal choir this time around (a surprise given that four out of the five nominees were political commentaries on modern American society and foreign policy), but the past few years with celebrities promoting John Kerry here and there throughout 2004 and then proceeding to act like sore losers when Bush got reelected has come back to haunt them, or at least the Academy.

Additionally, it seems that Johnny Carson and Billy Crystal set the bar too high. Jon Stewart has drawn early mixed reviews which put him slightly behind Chris Rock, Steve Martin, and Whoopi Goldberg in a long line of mediocre hosts for the awards presentation.