One of the ways the powerless and the voiceless now have power is in stridently policing the Left. They can’t really do it on the Right, as we saw with the Kavanaugh hearings. On the Left, though? No one is pure enough unless they have some kind of purity armor that makes them unable to be attacked. What’s that armor? I don’t know, but I’d guess that if you’re the one doing the attacking you’re less likely to be attacked. That was the logic in Salem in 1692, at any rate. Either which way, the disaster over Kevin Hart has given the Academy no real option, or at least not any that wouldn’t generate a World Series-level shit storm. Instead, they’ve opted for no host for the first time in 30 years.
In general, the Oscar host has been a pretty good ratings get: David Letterman, Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Martin. In the past few years, however, no matter what person was chosen, they reaped a blizzard of shit afterwards. This joke was either offensive or didn’t land. Neil Patrick Harris was sharply criticized for… who knows what. There is way too much pressure put on the host, who is really only there to entertain viewers and make people laugh, though you’d think we were choosing the presidential nominee for high office.
The Globes’ two well-chosen hosts (which Twitter was fine with apparently), Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg, were a disaster: none of the jokes were funny and the room full of too much tension and fear to laugh anyway. Not a lot of laughing going on in Hollywood at the moment, that’s for sure.
The past two telecasts were hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, an outspoken critic of Trump, who couldn’t really let all that go (as most people can’t) when it came time to host the Oscars. Though it’s hard to remember if there were any political jokes at all, they tried to keep things lively with stunts, like bringing people in from a restaurant across the street to walk into the Oscars. A massive show like that, tightly wound already to save time, does not need “hilarious skits” to fool people into thinking they’re not watching the Oscars. It went over about as well as the flu shot bit did at the Globes. Just get them in, get them out, show the pretty people in their pretty clothes, have a few live performances, and end the damn thing. Does it really even matter anymore?
Without a host, how do the Oscars even advertise? I guess maybe they can advertise the movies themselves. Put Lady Gaga on the poster or anyone else who might be performing live as potential bait. It could be like a dressed up version of the Grammys. They could go all in with the competition: just put five film titles on a poster and ask audiences to guess which one will win.
I do sympathize with the Academy and what they are up against. You can’t please all of the people all of the time. The Oscars are really just trying to put on a classy show and boost ratings. So simple and yet, so complex.