Too Important To Cinema For The Oscars?

It seems the holy trinity awarded at the 2010 Governor’s Awards Ceremony for their lifetime achievements were only allowed to walk on stage at this year’s Oscars. But there was no time for a chat. Director/Producer Francis Ford Coppola, Actor Eli Wallach and Filmmaker/Historian Kevin Brownlow were all honored by the Academy at a Pre-Oscar ceremony held late last year. Ground-breaking director Jean-Luc Godard was also honored, though he declined to appear.

Now do you remember a time, just a few years ago, when Lifetime Achievement Awards, Honorary Oscars and the Irving Thalberg Award were actually handed out during the Oscar Ceremony? When the great men and women who helped create the industry we currently enjoy were important enough to actually be awarded not only a statuette, but some well-earned air time? Well, stop mourning the days of yor. It seems the Academy must not think audiences care enough to waste time on their precious show with such frivolities. Not when Anne Hathaway has a song to sing, or James Franco a dress to wear. Not on a night when Hollywood’s greatest gather together for an evening of awkwardness and staged exchanges. You’d think after 83 years, someone would have figured out how to make this awards show work. But even as surface-level entertainment, it almost always falls flat. My suggestion? Just be more sincere. Don’t try so hard. Just honor those nominated. Stop trying to create a heartfelt moment in what should naturally be a heartfelt moment. Stop tap-dancing out of fear the audience is growing bored. We can sniff desperation a mile away. Trust that the reason this show exists and the people it honors are enough.

But having these three gentlemen walk out on stage and simply stand there, appearing small and silenced by the vast stage set-up… Well, that took the cake for me. Sure, they showed some clips of the “other” ceremony, but it reeked of the same ridiculousness that American news shows exhibit when they do their “News From Around The World in 60 Seconds.” Yeah, that should cover most of the important stuff. Thanks.

Luckily, for those (apparently) few of us who actually give half a shit, the Academy’s web site has put up the speeches from the Governor’s Awards Ceremony. Might have been worth making an announcement during the show to actually gauge public interest. And while a good many people know who Francis Coppola is, far fewer are familiar with Eli Wallach and even fewer have ever heard the name Kevin Brownlow uttered. Which is sad as these men are pioneers and their contributions to film immeasurable. At least the Academy recognized this, even if those in charge of the Oscars did not. The very moments I used to wait with baited breath to see at the Academy Awards, are now not held at the Academy Awards. A sign of the times? Perhaps. Or maybe it’s just another example of Hollywood’s misplaced importance and definition of “entertainment.”

For those sporadic few interested in seeing the speeches given at the 2010 Governor’s Awards Ceremony, please visit the Academy’s web site. Here’s where you’ll see an Awards Ceremony far more entertaining, far more moving, and far more sincere than last night’s Oscars.

Too Important To Cinema For The Oscars?

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