Last night’s Oscars were boring wrapped in dull wrapped in a waste of three and a half hours of my life. It’s like after Seth MacFarlane’s controversial run last year AMPAS decided to play it safe… by making absolutely nothing happen. Ellen with with her folksy “I’m just here in the audience engaging in some friendly banter” routine worked well for the first hour or so, but by the time the third hour (and fifth pizza interlude—my God, it was fun at first, but make it stop) rolled around she looked like she was ready to text Portia Di Rossi to meet her at the back door of the Dolby Theater so they could go home and organize their silverware drawer, or do something less boring than finishing out that ceremony.
Seriously. You get Ellen to host, and you don’t have her participate in a musical number? Disgraceful.
Here are eight things, some more serious than others, the Oscars should have done so as to not be quite such a cure for insomnia.
1) Release the Velociraptors
They’d come in at the back of the building, meaning all the non-A listers would be swiftly gobbled up like so many goats. The time it takes for the raptors to eat their way through the crowd to the front of the room would give the Hollywood royalty in attendance more than enough time to realize what’s coming and split into factions, one of them headed by a brutal Harvey Weinstein. The In Memoriam segment is especially long next year, and Bette Midler’s not around to provide musical accompaniment.
Dame Judi Dench laughs from inside her dinosaur-proof bunker.
2) Have Travolta Present Everything
After pronouncing Idina Menzel’s name as “Adele Dazeen,” I really want to know what Travolta would do with Philomena. Or, joy of joys, Chiwetel Ejiofor.
3) Give Us a Musical Number
I never thought I’d miss the days of pointless Cirque de Soleil interpretive dancing, but for the love of God, AMPAS, give us, something. There wasn’t even an opening number, or a dumb montage of Ellen making her way through the year’s Best Picture nominees. (12 Years a Slave is conspicuously absent; the Ellen-floating-through-space gag is twice as long as it needs to be). The Best Song performances were all well and good for what they were, but I need a Hugh Jackman cameo. I need a chorus line. I need razzle dazzle. I don’t expect the Oscars to be good, because I’m not delusional, but they should at least be entertainingly bad. To that end…
4) Bring Back Seth MacFarlane
This might make me a bad feminist or a bad human being, but I don’t care: I would rather sit through a repeat of MacFarlane and his tasteless jokes than another Ellen snoozefest. MacFarlane’s Oscars featured at least some genuine entertainment—Joseph Gordon Levitt and Daniel Radcliffe’s softshoe, that The Sound of Music joke—and hell, I can take a bathroom break during “We Saw Your Boobs 2: Even Boobier.”
5) Or, Even Better, Hire Tina Fey and Amy Poehler
They have two successful Globes hosting gigs under their belt, and sure, they’re both really busy with multiple TV shows. I don’t care. This is serious, Academy. We can’t have a repeat of this in 2014. You do what you need to do to get Fey and Poehler onboard. Offer to make George Clooney their personal masseuse.
6) More Jamie Foxx
I don’t know what in the heck was going on with Foxx’s teleprompter when he was presenting Best Original Score with Jessica Biel, but I do know his Chariots of Fire jig at least woke me up for a few seconds. Ditch the Wizard of Oz tribute and give us Jamie Foxx dancing to whatever the hell Jamie Foxx feels like dancing to for five minutes.
7) Cut the Number of Best Picture Nominees Back to Five
Upping the number of best picture nominees was a good idea at the time. Supporting indie films! Making the Oscars less predictable! Yay! Except that doesn’t really work if the winners are still exactly as predictable as they always were. Even moreso, this year: There wasn’t a single surprise. The District 9s of the world getting industry recognition is cool, I guess, but does getting a nod at the Annual Hollywood Circlejerkathon really matter when you’ve already achieved ultimate Hollywood success: Making a sh*tton of money? Seriously, cut down on the Best Picture nominees, cut down on the amount of clips you have to show, cut down on time. (Don’t cut down the montages. This is hypocritical of me, I know, and it puts me in the minority, but I love love love a good Oscar montage).
8) Nix the No Alcohol Rule
Ellen already challenged the foodlessness of the Oscars with that godforsaken pizza gag. What the attendees really could’ve used was some booze to help them get through all those jokes that never quite landed. It was a tough crowd, but they all might’ve let loose a bit and been freer with their chuckles with a little liquid cheer. Bonus: Most interesting acceptance speeches!
(Photo by Michael Yada / ©A.M.P.A.S.)