It’s Sunday night and not too long ago, I came back from an Oscar party. I have to say, I was mesmerized by the Oscar telecast this year.
I haven’t cared much about the awards over the last few years, and hadn’t even seen most of the movies nominated. And yet, the whole evening was a pretty magical one.
Why? Well, the producers and creative team managed a miracle – they honored the tradition of films and of the Oscars, but tried to view it from a new perspective, and bring new shine to the formerly lackluster proceedings.
One clever trick was to frame the awards as its own narrative – a plot, if you will, where the whole of making the movie is unveiled, from script to sets to casting to acting and beyond. Hugh Jackman’s clever opening – with threadbare props – showed us that it doesn’t take sparkly sets (ahem) to entertain us.
But the truly brilliant move of the evening? Was in the presentation of the acting awards. A previous winner of each award appeared on stage for EACH nominee, and then described the actor’s work with heartfelt words. I was bawling during the awards presentations for these categories. And when it came to the presenters, the producers were NOT playing – these were BIG names presenting. Watching Shirley MacClaine praising Anne Hathaway was simply magic.
The whole event seemed to seamlessly update the proceedings without ruining the traditions. I wish we could bottle some of that and bring it to the serialized television form.
This combination of innovation and tradition is the great gift, I think, of the Luke/Noah story on As The World Turns or Otalia on Guiding Light – the point is NOT to be outrageous or bold for bold’s sake. Those stories bring a completely fresh perspective to narratives that have been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. They are at once specific to the characters, and yet completely universal.
And could you IMAGINE how awesome it would be if actors and actresses were honored by their peers, in the truest sense of the term, as they were at the Oscars? It would be amazing.
Of course, we’d have to fix the nomination system, and make the awards less about bloc voting and old habits and more about individual achievement. Otherwise, I suspect professional jealousies and negativity would make those commendations a challenge.