Monday, March 3, 2014

Oscars In Need Of Polishing

I don’t know about anyone else but the Oscars seem to have lost their appeal to me. I remember in the past turning on the awards program in the early evening and watching completely through until it is done. Last night, I just couldn’t keep the channel on and found myself flipping back and forth but, mostly, watching other programs especially when I was working on my computer.

Maybe the lack of the appeal is as simple as not being familiar with many of the movies that are out in the theaters (and not having seen many of the movies from the previous year). That would also explain the reason why I tend to enjoy the Golden Globes more as there are television programs honored during the night. But, even those are a little lacking as nonfiction programming is pretty limited in their exposure.

One thing I have noticed with all the programs in recent years is the effort to relax the structure and atmosphere during the long program. This year, however, things seemed forced. Even more than usual. The pizza order and the Twitter selfie while entertaining, it didn’t seem like a natural moment and somewhat interrupted the flow of the evening.

That might be the least successful aspect of the program as some of the skits pulled the program in a completely different direction making the transitions to other presentations awkward. Flow, whether in an awards show, sitcom, or ‘reality’ program, is an incredibly important factor to keep the audience engaged. Especially those on the fence such as myself. When the flow is off the channel is changed.

What seems to have been lost in many of these programs, and also talk shows when I think about it, is the use of language. Too much focus is now being placed on the skits and antics of the hosts and the use of words is lacking. This may be the biggest hindrance to the ability to transition. The turn of phrase, introduction, and intelligent quips are all but absent from the scripts. Having a great script also enhances the natural spontaneity of the acceptance speeches.

Of course, the awards are the focus of the night but the dialogues, monologues, and exchanges between presenters shouldn’t be afterthoughts. Writing can and should carry a show. Why should the Oscars be any different? Why should any awards show be any different? Personally, I would be more apt to watch all the way through if they invested the time and energy into writing a strong ‘script’ which carried the program from beginning to end. Even if the performances aren’t the best, the writing should make up for it not antics and skits.