5 Ways To Make Next Year's Oscars Better Than The 2013 Ceremony

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by Kevin Jagernauth
February 25, 2013 1:55 PM
12 Comments
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The Oscar show always seems to be a mix of time honored tradition and off-the-wall experimentation (remember that Cirque Du Soleil thing last year? Pharrell playing in the balcony of the Dolby Theater?) and 2013 was no different. While the Academy tried to court younger viewers by choosing "Family Guy" creator and "Ted" director Seth MacFarlane to host, the decision to pay tribute to movie musicals appealed distinctly to an entirely different demographic. So no surprise, the show was a mess.

So as we continue our assessment of the ceremony last night (see the list Oscar Snubs & Surprises right here) we've decided to run down ways things can be improved for 2014. Listen, anyone who declares they're never watching the Oscars again is kidding themselves, and it will never be perfect, but it can certainly be much better than what we got last night. And if you really want to see what everyone was talking about, you can watch the entire broadcast right here. And if you have your suggestions, hit us up in the comments section.

1. Pacing. Hand out the awards right off the top, and keep things moving.
The signs that we were in for long, long night were apparent right from the moment Seth MacFarlane stepped out on stage. His opening monologue actually wasn't too bad until it decided to never end, not only adding an unfunny, repetitive gag with a totally random William Shatner, but then continuing with an equally tedious musical number. It probably took about 15 minutes before the show started proper, but by then the energy had been severely deflated. In 2014, give the host 5 or 7 minutes at the most off the top, cut any extraenous sketches or gags, and kick things off by handing out a major award. That's how you guarantee keeping ratings up, and audiences interested enough to prevent them from changing the channel.

2. Musical numbers kept to a minimum, if not cut entirely
Running with a theme that paid tribute to movie musicals, the concept was never fully intergrated or even well executed but moreover, it was a sign that the Academy has quickly forgotten mistakes from the past. For years, the musical numbers were often cited as a major reason behind the Oscar show running far too long and killing the momentum, and last night they accomplished both of those tasks. We got extended numbers for "Dreamgirls" and "Chicago," which also had the added factor of being completely strange choices, particularly as both movies were honored extensively at the Oscars in their respective years (were there no classic movie musicals they could have chosen?). And that's not mentioning sequences devoted to Shirley Bassey singing "Goldfinger," Adele belting out "Skyfall" and the cast of "Les Miserables" singing their hearts out. For a moment, we thought we were at the Grammys. And oh yeah, capping things off with another MacFarlane number, this time joined by the irritating Kristin Chenoweth was a thumb in the eye. Learn (again) from your mistakes guys: (generally) musical numbers don't connect, and last night, they were big factors in dragging the show down. For every Adele moment, we got three more that severely tested the limits of our patience.

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12 Comments

  • KrazyJoe | February 27, 2013 12:31 PMReply

    I knew this guy was a fool when he started by slamming the brilliant Shatner bit. That was the best Oscar intro ever.

  • Adam | February 26, 2013 8:28 PMReply

    I don't know why everyone is hating, I thought Macfarlane did an amazing job as the host. He had that edge mixed with that Hollywood type class, plus he can sing, dance, and hold that stable confidence on stage (true qualities of a showman in my books). Everyone who's hating on him still thinks its the 1950's or something, a generally old and conservative audience that are bashing what they were already warned about, a little edge. Compared to any of Macfarlanes shows or Ted, this was nothing, he could have been a lot more worse in terms of crude content. What the hell do you guys want? I sure don't want Anne Hatheway desperately trying while James Franco is baked out of his mind, or Billy Crystal for God knows how many more times (that and I don't like his face, too rubbery, nuff said). Oh and I agree with point 5, that and i'm kind of biased because I like Family Guy in regards to my positive review of Seth's hosting job. And everything I said about why its wrong to hate on Macfarlane's hosting job applies to the year Letterman hosted the Oscars (he was a good host, idk why people hated him).

    Oh and c'mon, Macfarlanes humor shines a true light on Hollywood that everyone else is afraid to delve into. Django Unchained is probably an idea for a date movie for Chris Brown and Rihanna, people probably lost weight due to the flu, Zero Dark Thirty does remind us that women can never let anything go (well that depends actually, but still kind of true), and that you have to be Jewish to get a job in Hollywood (that's sooooo true, I don't see why its not nice to point out that a majority of people in Hollywood are Jewish, at least that's what my Jewish friends said, and I agree with them).

    All in all, stop treading on Seth, he brought a newer, younger and fresher light to this years Academy Awards.

  • Holden | February 26, 2013 5:19 PMReply

    It took 17 minutes, until the opening bit ended and the show really started. (I recorded and had the benefit of the counter on my DVR.) 17 minutes! No single segment of an award show should go that long!

  • moi | February 26, 2013 4:09 PMReply

    I'd say - find a funny, charming host (that thing is subjective but can I mention Chris Rock, Steve Martin, Billy Cristal, they all were great, and I'm not senile), find best director, some terrific writers, classy producers, so that things are lovable, smooth and in good taste. Last year's ceremony was OK, but the last time I truly enjoyed the Oscars was the Steve Martin-Alec Baldwin duo night. This year it was boring, tasteless and extremely discordant. Cheers.

  • Sky | February 26, 2013 3:41 PMReply

    This was awful. They shouldn't reign back the host if the host isn't Seth Macfarlane. Each Oscars is different. And letting them talk? That's a TERRIBLE fucking idea. Very few of them actually have entertaining speeches. Look, I agree, it's their time to shine, but we give them enough time. It's just saying a bunch of names we don't know. It's like staying til the end of the credits of a movie. Boring as hell.

    If you could ensure everyone wrote like a poet then sure, let 'em talk. But you want to make the Oscars better/more interesting? More speech time is not the way to go. And that backstage idea is dumb as heck man. Stuff that happens back there is RARELY newsworthy, let alone interesting enough to put IN the Oscars. The host should have time to do his thing, maybe they should pick a better host, sure, but he should still have time to make the show fun. The best parts of the show are always the hosts jokes, ALWAYS. This list is dumb as hell.

  • aubpire | February 26, 2013 2:07 PMReply

    Cut the musical numbers? I will never forget "Shaft" or "Live and Let Die" and, especially Celine Dion subbing for Babs which won her a whole new following. If you have nominated songs, you must have musical numbers. I think adding Justin Timberlake as host would allow for music, comedy and taste!

  • Dizzi800 | February 26, 2013 1:31 PMReply

    The ;look backstage would be a great 'second screen' experience. but not neccisarily to cut away from the show

  • Jamie | February 25, 2013 6:03 PMReply

    The Seth Shatner show was a definite mistake ... too long and clunky. The Les Mis number was the best thing in the whole show. Maybe there needs to be a rule that at least one well cast musical needs to be made every year. Oh and Hugh Jackman must host the Oscar show.

  • ali | February 25, 2013 5:09 PMReply

    The show didn't have focus. It was all over the map. I hope next year the academy hire better producers and director

  • Matt | February 25, 2013 3:28 PMReply

    #5 is such a good idea, I'm blown away they haven't attempted to do something like that. I guess in 2007, they came close. I recall there being a backstage cam that Tom Hanks "hosted" but still, could really loosen the show up if done well.

  • MAL | February 25, 2013 2:44 PMReply

    Personally, I liked MacFarlane, though I agree there needs to be some curbing regardless of the host. I absolutely agree with you on point 5! The backstage stuff can be truly priceless.

  • Marko | February 25, 2013 2:34 PMReply

    Or to summarize: "We hated Seth Macfarlane as a host. Never get him again"

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