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The 90th Academy Awards – Time to Make a Long Story Short

Returning host Jimmy Kimmel talked about past Academy Awards ceremonies and referred to the first one as occurring across the street way back in 1929. He said that the whole thing took about 15 minutes and, after watching last night’s seemingly never-ending broadcast, it made me long for those days.

As a rule, I do not watch awards shows because they are usually a bloated conglomeration of all things I do not like. Just think about it – you have a combination of dolled up celebrities, many awards for things I never saw or heard, presenters reading corny shtick off a teleprompter, and a typically annoying host attempting to fill in the gaps in the broadcast like the little Dutch boy trying to stop a flood by sticking his chubby little fingers into holes in the dyke.

Kimmel gave it his best shot, but the Price is Right gimmick with the water ski seemed pretty lame – even with the great Helen Mirren being involved – and the offer to win it was made to the award winner who gave the shortest acceptance speech. The problem is that most of these celebrities cannot stop themselves from blabbing on and on, even though some did seem to rush through their moment of glory (whether it was for the prize or not I can’t be sure).

The problem with all awards shows – and the Oscars in particular – is that there seems to be so much filler, so many unnecessary moments, that the run time never seems justified. Maybe they had the right idea back in 1929, but because of so many more categories the behemoth we have today could never be squeezed in 15 minutes, but I think it could get compressed into an hour and be way less tedious.

It is not just the Oscars that are boring for me – the Emmys, Grammys, Tonys, and Golden Globes are too. It seems all these broadcasts follow the same pattern, and no matter who is hosting appears to be on the same script. I could never sit through the entire showing of any of them, so the Oscar ceremony is in good (or is that bad?) company.

People tune into any awards show for one reason – to see their favorite performers receive their awards. All the other stuff – from the oddly thrown together presenters awkwardly attempting to banter to Kimmel sending stars out of the auditorium to deliver snacks to people in a nearby theater – is just bloating an already obese broadcast.

Last night there were some stellar moments during acceptance speeches and from presenters. Lupita Nyong’o and Frances McDormand both spoke passionately, but the wait in between such moments is unbearable. The performance of “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman by Keala Settle was a highlight of the broadcast and proves that good things can happen at the Oscars; however, it is cruel to make us suffer through three hours of meat scraps to get to one hour of filet mignon.

It is time for people behind these awards shows to give them an extreme makeover. They need to streamline the experience for those celebrities in the audience and those of us at home, or they are going to continue to lose viewers. Hollywood, are you listening?

About Victor Lana

Victor Lana's stories, articles, and poems have been published in literary magazines and online. His books 'A Death in Prague' (2002), 'Move' (2003), 'The Savage Quiet September Sun: A Collection of 9/11 Stories' (2005), and 'Like a Passing Shadow' (2009) are available in print, online, and as e-books. His latest books 'Heartbeat and Other Poems,' 'If the Fates Allow: New York Christmas Stories,' 'Garden of Ghosts,' and 'Flashes in the Pan' are available exclusively on Amazon. After winning the National Arts Club Award for Poetry while attending Queens College, he concentrated on writing mostly fiction and non-fiction prose until the recent publication of his new book of poetry, 'Heartbeat and Other Poems' (now available on Amazon). He has worked as a faculty advisor to school literary magazines and enjoys the creative process as a writer, editor, and collaborator. He has been with 'Blogcritics Magazine' since July 2005 and has written many articles on a variety of topics; previously co-head sports editor, he now is a Culture and Society and Flash Ficition editor. Having traveled extensively, Victor has visited six continents and intends to get to Antarctica someday where he figures a few ideas for new stories await him.

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