The Academy Awards® are tomorrow night. I just found out about that. They evidently snuck up on me. I’m not a big movie-goer so that should not come as a surprise. But it seems to me that the Academy Awards® are falling behind in the hype department.
Time was we would be inundated with ads for the awards. Discussions about the host (I don’t even know who the host is this year), predictions and debates filled the airwaves. This year, nada.
I’m sure that come Sunday evening the world’s attention will focus on the awards, starting with the red carpet which has become an industry unto itself; although the absence of Joan Rivers’ post-carpet critiques will be missed. But I somehow the preamble passed me by.
I believe the Super Bowl has usurped the Oscars® when it comes to pre-event momentum. No doubt this year’s Deflategate controversy, with which the media had a field day, provided enough fodder for three award shows, and added to the sense of excitement.
Not that there have not been Oscar®-related controversies. In 1973 Marlon Brando declined the award for Best Actor for his performance in The Godfather. The Native American actress Sacheen Littlefeather attended the ceremony in Brando’s place, stating that the actor “very regretfully” could not accept the award, as he was protesting Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans in film. Ms. Littlefeather went on to display her feathers, both little and otherwise, in Playboy.
The next year, amid the sophomoric streaking fad, Robert Opel stripped down and sprinted across the stage, much to David Niven’s surprise (or maybe not, as many believe the stunt was choreographed from the get go).
About the only hope for controversy this year is the possibility of Kanye West hopping on the stage and demanding the recipient – any recipient of any award – do the right thing and give it to Beyonce.
As for host, there have been some great performances and some lesser attempts. For my money Johnny Carson did it best. In 1979 he opened by stating “Welcome to the 51st Academy Awards, two hours of sparkling entertainment spread over a four-hour show.” So true.