Do the Oscars Need a Host?

If you’re new here, you should know that I like the Oscars, like a lot. It’s kind of my thing.

This Sunday’s telecast though, left me feeling like David Oyelowo here:

I’m sorry, NPH, but you just weren’t doing it for me. (I’m not the only one who thinks so, apparently: see here, here and here.) It’s not all on Neil Patrick Harris though — the show was way, way too long, and even worse, you could feel how tedious it was. Instead of honoring industry greats with the usual “In Memoriam” montage (who didn’t want to see another Robin Williams clip?), we got a slideshow and an unnecessary musical performance by Jennifer Hudson (singing a song from a canceled television show). Then, close to the scheduled end of the ceremony at 11:30 P.M., we were still forced to sit through a Lady Gage medley of The Sound of Music. (Granted, Julie Andrews is wonderful and The Sound of Music is a landmark film…but seriously?) Finally, there was the awful prediction-magic trick running gag that kept interrupting what little rhythm the show had.

I want every second of my life wasted on that bit back.

So no, all of the ceremony’s problems weren’t Harris’s fault, but the host is still the vehicle of the show. Worse, in this case, he served as a distraction from the night’s highlights — powerful and touching acceptance speeches. So if the host is a distraction, why is one necessary?

If the Oscars want to retain some semblance of relevancy, the ceremony needs to be less bloated. Cutting back on the technical awards during the broadcast, as some have suggested, is not the answer. What makes the Academy Awards special is that they honor so many behind-the-scenes aspects of movie magic, instead of just focusing on the acting and writing. Eliminating excessive musical performances would also help.

Still, I firmly believe that in most cases, hosts really don’t add much to the ceremony. It is so difficult for a hosting gig to go well, and when it so often doesn’t, the result is a bogged down show. So maybe we should just remove the pressure? I love the SAG Awards because it’s actors honoring actors, but they also don’t have a host. It just moves on nicely, and I’ve never felt like a host was missing. Maybe it’s time for the Academy to try that strategy, and see if we can avoid another clunker of a ceremony.

~ Sarah

Gifs via Vulture.