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Spontaneity Takes a Powder

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Much to my amazement, every winner last night of the major Oscar award categories was exactly the person or film for which I would have voted were I a member of the Academy. I don’t think that’s ever happened before. Either I’m becoming clairvoyant, or the Academy is becoming more discerning and astute in its selections.

Hilary Swank for Empress of Everything!

I do have a complaint, however. The ceremonies keep becoming more tightly managed. Real spontaneity is a thing of the past. They’re just not that much fun anymore. Host Chris Rock’s comment was apropos:

“Next year, we’ll give out the awards in the parking lot. We’ll have a drive-thru lane where you can pick up your statue, whisked through by a traffic cop who keeps the line moving.”

I remember watching the Oscars when they first started being televised (1953). There were no controls, it was just three or four cameras pointed at the proceedings, with a slight time-delay to bleep out any obscenities. There was no script. It was like telecasting a sporting event-whatever happens, happens.

There was no time limit on the speeches. You would get the occasional drunk, lots of good repartee, and much free-flowing high spirits. It was great fun, even if most of the acting awards were based on sentimental favorites rather than artistic merit.

It’s ironic, isn’t it, that in the age of “reality” television, with its alarming reduction in scripted shows, a real event like the Oscars becomes so scripted.

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About Tom Shugart

  • Eric Olsen

    very good points Tom, I hadn’t thought of it that way – thanks and very nice to see you here!

  • Tom Shugart

    Thanks, Eric. Good to be back!