“Do we care about the Academy Awards,” I asked Ancient Champion on this rainy Long Angeles Saturday morning.
“Yes, we love Oscar,” he replied from somewhere in snowy Birmingham, England. “Don’t we?”
“I think so,” I thought. The Academy Awards has always been a guilty pleasure, so many iconic moments:
Issac Hayes performing “Shaft” in ‘71, Ali and Stallone trading jabs in ‘76, Sacheen Littlefeather in ‘73, Rob Lowe and Snow White in ‘89, Michael Moore calling out W in ‘03, and who could forget when Jimmy Kimmel ushered a bus full of unsuspecting tourists into the Dolby Theater for surprise live cameos…
It was fascinating to watch how certain actors treated the situation and the bit worked on so many levels. But then out of nowhere, the Academy’s Board of Directors decided against a host for the 91st Oscars presentation. They thought the host-less awards ceremony went so well, they neutered the 92nd, and 93rd presentations, as well. And this decision ruined the reason why the Academy Awards are worth watching in the first place. Unpredictability.
Without a host, the Oscars became streamlined and mechanical, predictable. Can anyone remember anything that happened during those three hostless years? It’s like they didn’t even happen. Critics who positively reviewed those hostless presentations stated that they enjoyed them because it gave the stars a chance to shine.
And that’s why it failed – it was too polished, too shiny. I like to watch an Oscars presentation where the stars act human and do dumb things like when an aging actor drops to the floor and does one-handed push-ups to prove his virility or when they lose their cool and drop their guard when they’re validated.
So the Academy over-corrected their mistake and booked three comedians to host the ceremony in a space that looked like a sleek nightclub during those transitional quarantine months when we weren’t wearing masks, but were still observing the six-foot social distancing rule. The open floor plan also allowed Will Smith to walk freely up on stage and react to his public cuckolding by slapping Chris Rock on live television.
So here we are, one year on after the slap that shook Oscar, and I wasn’t so sure if the love was there, but then I reminded The Champ of some gossip that I heard from an industry insider earlier in the week…
“There’s a rumor going around that the white suit Elvis wore during the Comeback Special is missing from its display case at Graceland, and Austin Butler is going to wear it on the red carpet. It’s really going to piss off fans of the King,” I said, “Like me.”
“Cover it,” was the last thing I heard from the Champ so the assignment is clear, readers: Let’s watch the Oscars tomorrow – good or bad, and you can enjoy your Monday breakfast while reading my report on the highs and lows of the 95th Academy Awards. Hooray for Hollywood!
The 95th Academy Awards will air at 5PM PDT on Sunday, March 12, 2023 on ABC.
Read Alarcon’s review of Elvis here⇒