"Mon dieu!" as Jean Dujardin's character George Valentin might say in the film The Artist if only he could speak. What has happened to the Oscars?
At a time when watching movies has become more and more experiential with 3D glasses, enormous IMAX screen and heart-pounding surround sound systems, the Academy sings paeans to a silent movie? With French actors?
But there's more: With Hollywood executives panicking about dropping movie attendance and the inability to attract younger, hipper viewers, someone needs to ask how the Academy of Motion Pictures selected funnyman Billy Crystal to host the 84th Academy Awards given that few people under the age of 30 have heard of him. What happened? The Lollipop Guild was unavailable?
Can anyone say make-over? It is time to bring style back to the Oscars, and I'm not talking asparagus and hollandaise sauce. Spicing up the broadcast would be a quick fix -- It's time to add some new award categories. So Hollywood, take note. Take a meeting. Take some Tylenol. These recommendations could be the cure for that after-party hangover. Part II.
The Best Sequel: Am I the only one miffed that Fast Five was overlooked -- again? The franchise about street racing has everything you expect in a great movie: clutch actors, clutch plotline, clutch transmissions. (Changing topics for a second, am I also the only who thinks actor Claron Hinds looks like Clutch Cargo?) Did I mention the great chase scenes and the midriff-baring gear heads? Yet the film got blanked by the Academy. Not even an award for best cinematography, whatever that is.
Vin Diesel. Ludacris. The Rock. The film should win an Academy Award for having the actors with the coolest names.
Truth is that sequels are driving the Hollywood engine. Ten of the top 11 grossing films of 2011 were prequels or sequels. Of the past nine years, eight of the top grossing movies were sequels. It just doesn't seem kosher that year after year these cash cows are ignored during the awards season. The Academy seems to think that imitation is the sincerest form of flatulence.
Instead of snubbing this movie-making trend, why not embrace it with its own award category? This will guarantee us a chance to see the same movies we love over and over and over again. (Footnote: Fast and Furious 6 is scheduled for a 2013 release. Plot unknown. Not a big surprise given that I still can't figure out the plots for the first five.)
Best Bat Mitzvah Montage: How is it that this genre of filmmaking had gone completely unrecognized by the Academy Awards? This is especially bizarre when you consider that the production costs for the average bat mitzvah montage exceeds those for most foreign films. And there aren't any subtitles!
Let's also consider that adding such a category would attract a demographic group Hollywood has shamefully ignored over the years -- Jewish teens. In time I expect a spin-off show devoted exclusively to this segment of the industry, and, with a special soundtrack award, there's a logical tie-in with the Grammys. Imagine the scene: Rachel Glickstine's Bubbie is being nominated for best birthday scene which features her racy version of Rihanna's "S&M." The envelope is opened. The winner announced. Rachel jumps from her chair, screaming, "My grammy won a Grammy!" It's an advertiser's dream.
The Salma Hayek Award: Every year the Academy presents a lifetime achievement award to an actor who is wrinkly and grey. Why wait? Why not give the award to someone in her prime while she still looks great in evening wear? I nominate Salma Hayek. And the good news is that it would guarantee she'd be at the show. For 2013 I nominate Penelope Cruz.
Thinking ahead it's not too early to start thinking about next year's host. I'm pushing for Vin Diesel. He's cool. He's hip. He'd look great in a tux, assuming there is one that would fit. All in all, it would be a clutch move.