Do you follow the Oscar show news in the way you follow the Oscars? I don't so much, despite this life I lead constantly writin' about the awards themselves. I care who hosts to some degree but I tend to ignore the rest. But I found it interesting this week when director Adam Shankman (Hairspray) was named as one of the producers and his choreography skills were noted as a reason to be enthused about this assignment. At least he has a sense of humor about his, um, limited history with the big event
I was one of Paula Abdul's 'Under the Sea' pirates," Shankman said. "The last time I was at the Oscars, I was in Lycra, with a pirate hat on.Shankman's presence must mean more musical numbers. I'm all for musical numbers provided they rehire Hugh Jackman as host. He was so fine last year.
But Shankman's involvement suddenly had me worried that John Travolta would present Best Picture or something. If any Shankman connected star gets that honor, it sure as hell better be Michelle Pfeiffer (look how cute they are together).
I am so sick of the lack of imagination the AMPAS producers have when it comes to the Best Picture presenters. They don't give directors the honor all that often but even if you're an actor it's not even a matter of being a legendary A lister. Some people, for what we assume must be insider reasons, have a stranglehold on this particular honor on Hollywood's High Holy Night.
Seriously, this is how it's gone done in the past 20 years:
2008 Steven Spielberg
2007 Denzel Washington
2006 Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson
2005 Jack Nicholson
2004 Dustin Hoffman & Barbra Streisand
2003 Steven Spielberg
2002 Kirk & Michael Douglas
2001 Tom Hanks
2000 Michael Douglas
1999 Clint Eastwood
1998 Harrison Ford
1997 Sean Connery
1996 Al Pacino
1995 Sidney Poitier
1994 Robert DeNiro & Al Pacino
1993 Harrison Ford
1992 Jack Nicholson
1991 Elizabeth Taylor & Paul Newman
1990 Barbra Streisand
1989 Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson
Yes, Jack Nicholson has had the honor 20% of the time in the past twenty years. 20%! I love Jack as much as anyone. It's great to see him sitting in the front row with his shades on each year ... but there are other legends in the house. Let's show some imagination, not to mention respect. Once you get past Jack (7 times altogether) you're still stuck with Spielberg, Streisand, Douglas or Pacino lately, you know? Enough.
In 81 Years of Oscar Nights...
Minorities (all 4 of them) who've had the honor
Akira Kurosawa, Eddie Murphy, Sidney Poitier and Denzel Washington
Actresses (all 14 of them) who've had the honor
3 times: Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn
2 times: Julie Andrews and Barbra Streisand
Once: Ethel Barrymore, Mary Pickford, Janet Gaynor, Ingrid Bergman, Olivia de Havilland, Lillian Gish, Loretta Young, Carol Burnett, Diane Keaton and Cher
Important actors and/or mega stars who have not presented Best Picture and wouldn't any of them be fine choices (hint hint... things I'd most love to see in red)?
Meryl Streep, Michelle Pfeiffer, Vanessa Redgrave, Julia Roberts, Catherine Deneuve, Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise, Bette Midler, Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Maggie Smith, Goldie Hawn, Jodie Foster, Sissy Spacek, Christopher Plummer, Will Smith, Mia Farrow, Liza Minnelli, Drew Barrymore, Joan Fontaine, Cate Blanchett, Johnny Depp, Sally Kirkland*, Joanne Woodward, Peter O'Toole, Glenn Close, Jessica Lange, Julie Christie, Mickey Rooney, Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Susan Sarandon
_____________________ ... and a little nobody named Jane Fonda.
Breathe deep Oscar. Be brave. Envision a world beyond Jack. Spread your golden wealth.
This post is a few months too early, yes. I hear you. But please stop interrupting my lucid fantasy that Shankman and other movers and shakers read this blog daily, poring over its every awards culture command. 'Yes, Nathaniel, yes. We shall obey!'
Who would you love to see close out the 82nd Oscars with an enthusiastic line reading of "and the Oscar goes to..."
*just wanted to see if you were paying attention