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Expectations for the Steve and Alec Show

By Miscellaneous | Miscellaneous | November 4, 2009 |

By Miscellaneous | Miscellaneous | November 4, 2009 |

We’ve got more than four months til the Oscars, but following the announcement that Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin are hosting the big night, nobody can help spouting predictions for how good or bad the 2010 Academy Awards ceremony is going to be.

Most believe the news is great and expect some kind of 30 Rock level entertainment. This, despite the fact that since Tina Fey is reportedly too busy with the NBC sitcom to co-host, it’s likely the show’s other writers will be unavailable, as well. Instead, let’s remember that the telecast is being half-produced by Adam Shankman, director of two of Martin’s worst films, Bringing Down the House and Cheaper by the Dozen 2.

Honestly, I like Dustin’s idea to make a bottle of Scotch the host. But since the Scotch would have wisely declined, as did Hugh Jackman, Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Fey, and probably Eugene Levy and Zac Efron (both Shankman regulars), I have one suggestion for how this thing could maybe be entertaining: hire David Mamet to write the bulk of Martin and Baldwin’s material. If you’ve seen The Spanish Prisoner and Glengarry Glen Ross you’ll agree.

Now let’s see what the other film blogs are hoping for or dreading:

  • Seth Abramovitch at Movieline:
    Best Picture-Themed Balloon Animals Steve Martin was never the most technically gifted of balloon animal sculptors, but what he lacked in skill he made up for in unbridled enthusiasm. How awesome would it be if instead of clips at this year’s ceremony, Martin would huff, twist, and squeak together a balloon animal for every Best Picture nominee. ‘Here you are, Lee Daniels!’ ‘What is it?’ ‘It’s Precious getting raped by her father! Or a giraffe.’”
  • Josh Wigler at MTV Movies Blog:
    “Additionally, I’d bet a pretty penny on Baldwin and Martin assuming their “30 Rock” personas in some way or another. The two played colleagues and friends Jack Donaghy and Gavin Volure, respectively, with Gavin being a little less than honest about his own achievements. Some sort of reprisal of those roles is a likely bet come showtime.”
  • Dan Hopper at Best Week Ever:
    “I foresee [Martin] and Baldwin having good chemistry together, even though the Oscars haven’t had multiple hosts since 1986 when Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn, Paul Hogan hosted together — wait a minute, did that actually happen? Holy sh*t. No wonder it hasn’t happened since. I’ll go out on a limb and predict this year’s will be sliiiiiightly better than that one.”
  • Mary McNamara at The Envelope:
    “Where Hugh Jackman brought a no-holds-barred theatricality to this year’s broadcast, Martin and Baldwin will, one imagines, go more for deft patter and a been-around-the-block industry sophistication. Certainly, they are men of elastic talents who have proved themselves on the requisite stage, screen and television. Martin created the template for the modern stand-up-turned-serious-movie-star, while Baldwin’s career morphed from handsome young romantic lead to handsome older master of comedy. Both look quite splendid in a tux and both, I am certain, could participate in a dance number if it is required.”
  • Steve Pond at The Wrap:
    “What I think we’ll see, though, is less singing and dancing from the hosts, and more from outside pros. (Even Jackman got help from the likes of Beyonce last year.) Some of us (me, for instance) might welcome an Oscar show without any extraneous musical numbers, but this isn’t the year for that. Just don’t expect much of it from the hosts.”
  • Gabe Delahaye at Videogum:
    “These two wild and crazy guys are going to be the Jerks who take this year’s Oscars to The Edge. What one man can do, two men can do! Good news, though? Good news. They probably won’t even pee their pants once between the two of them.”
  • Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere:
    “They’re both wordsmiths — the pithy, erudite, dry-witted Martin vs. the pugnacious, slightly testy, vaguely-angry-all-the-time Baldwin. So it’ll be a competition all the way. They’ll be on each other’s back and will call each other’s bluff. If Martin takes the humor or commentary in a certain direction that doesn’t quite pan out, Baldwin will immediately zap him and course-correct. And vice versa.”
  • Patrick Goldstein at The Big Picture:
    “I hope Oscar producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman take the guys out to lunch, pat them on the back and say ‘See ya at the show.’ In other words, leave them alone and let them figure out how much material they want to do solo or together. Baldwin has a reputation of being something of a loose cannon, which frankly is just what the academy needs these days. It would be wonderful to see him wade into the audience a few times and mix it up, Jack Donaghy-style, with all the stuffed-shirt celebs that always get all the good front-row seats.”
  • Wookie Johnson at Screen Junkies:
    “Sounds like two pretty solid hosts but oh, how we do wish that Baldwin were splitting hosting duties with Tracy Morgan.
    BALDWIN: ‘Are you excited to be here tonight, Tracy?’

    MORGAN: ‘I’m gonna get Oscar pregnant!’

    BALDWIN: ‘Ha ha. Now Tracy, stick to the script.’

    MORGAN: ‘Sure thing, Alec B.. (long pause) I wanna break Helen Mirren’s water!!’”

  • Vince Mancini at Film Drunk:
    “Truth is, these hosts are sorta meh, just like the Oscars itself is sorta meh.  I was excited back when Dave Letterman was set to host, just like I was excited when Chris Rock and Jon Stewart were set to host.  But what happened?  Not a lot. […] Bottom line, short of getting Tracy Morgan to host and letting him ad-lib stories from his childhood to introduce categories (seriously, make this phone call now), nothing all that interesting is going to happen.”
  • Linda Holmes at NPR’s Monkee See:
    “I feel like I know, months in advance, exactly what the Oscars hosted by Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin will feel like and look like. It’s not like it was with Hugh Jackman last year, where you can wonder about the spectacle of a Broadway star in an Oscar-show production number. And it’s not like it was with Chris Rock, who was outspoken before the ceremony about his desire to see Jamie Foxx win for Ray. […] when the news hit, even though these are both performers whose work I enjoy, it felt oddly unsatisfying.”
  • Nathaniel Rodgers at The Film Experience:
    “It does set up a rather unusual circumstance for the big night, though. It’s not often that the the movie industry’s biggest night feels like one movie is sponsoring the show in which they aren’t allowed to advertise. But this year one movie essentially will.

    “Meryl Streep has to choose between Steve and Alec in It’s Complicated. But Oscar doesn’t have to choose. He’ll take both men. And Meryl too, possibly…”

Pajiba After Dark 11/4/09 | Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn