My first Oscar wish is for a good show. A good show that is, probably more than anything else, entertaining. I know, I know, it is going to be long. All the more reason then. I’m not, at the moment, talking specifically about the actual winners or their speeches. Nor am I talking about the relentless commercial breaks. No, rather I am referring to the in-between parts, like presenters putting on their own little good show. Or terrific montage or musical sequences. A funny, confident host, who preferably does not disappear after their opening monologue. I want to cry, and laugh out loud, and quiver with embarrassment. The Oscars is the biggest night in this business, but that means also they simply can not take themselves so seriously all night long. So I want honest, self-aware humor too, like the Get Off the Stage song by Will Ferrell and Jack Black (2004).
Every once in a while too, an appearance of an adored movie professional can get us banging our hands together as we get to our feet. Sometimes an actual Oscar winner gets this sort of ovation. What was so magical about Woody Allen (2002) turning up to the Oscars was, firstly, that he had a habit of not showing up (like when he won in 1977 for example), but also because he was here to talk about New York. Of course they chose him. This was just months after the terror attacks on the World Trade Center, so this tribute was made the more poignant. Plus, Allen was very funny.
What I don’t want though, is ridiculously cringe-worthy songs about seeing boobs, or head-shaking skits about Uma or Oprah or Oprah or Uma. I feel John Stewart (2006) was one of the better, charismatic recent hosts, and one we do not tend to talk about. He seemed to not quite cross any boundaries while touching on current (back then) topics, and kept the genuine laughter coming. If you asked my wife about her favorite Oscar hosts, I would now be questioning you about why you are talking to my wife. No, but seriously, she would likely say Bill Crystal or Whoopi Goldberg – though I often catch her watching the Hugh Jackman opening too.