Friday, October 23, 2009

Oscar... Now With More Spirit Fingers

Shankman's got spirit!

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


Dame James said...

Do you think that Joan Fontaine was pissed that Olivia got asked to present Best Picture and she hasn't?

I would love to see Jean-Luc Godard up there, cursing at us in French about our preference for consumerism over art. Imagine the ratings the show will get when he has a stroke live on stage when something about the Holocaust or orphans wins the award.

UncleVanya said...

Dame James,

that scenario would be manna for us francophones; but I would love to see the, arguably, best director living, David Cronenberg, present the Best Picture, or Director, award to the next embarassment whom AMPAS deems king of the world.

UncleVanya said...

and by embarassment, I do not mean Scorsese, Coens, Jackson, Demme, or anything verging on good.

Peter Chan said...

He'd probably never agree to do it, but Woody Allen.

UncleVanya said...


Woody wouldn't bother either, unfortunately.

Walter L. Hollmann said...

I've always thought the previous host should do the honors. Of course, what happens when the previous host is the current host? Well...what's wrong with having the Host do it, exactly? It would let them end on a bigger note than "Thanks, and good night."

joy said...

Would love to see Roman Polanski presenting BP, just so i can watch people making smart ass comments about how appropriate or inappropriate it was the next few days.

Glenn said...

Roman won't do it because he'll be in prison.

How about Reese Witherspoon presenting Best Director last year. That was the oddest of the odd.

For Best Picture, I'd love to see Fonda up there. But I loved what they did with Best Director the other year with Coppola/Spielberg/Lucas or you Nicholson/Keaton matchup. Combos like that are fun. Why not reteam major stars from previous Best Picture winners. Hoffman and Streep for example. Shirley Maclaine and Debra Winger? Hoffman and Voight? Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer!

I've also liked to imagine the Best Foreign Language category being presented by five actress representing the five countries nomination. Say, a German actress and a French actress and so one, although I imagine it could be hard finding a noteworthy performer for some countries (Kazakhstan?)

cinema adventures said...

How about Faye Dunaway? or Sophia Loren?

Mame said...

We still have a fantastically alive Olivia de Havilland who should return one more time to award the big prize. God, I think I'd explode if I saw her come out for that.

cal roth said...


Even you did forget him, Nathaniel!

Iggy said...

Lauren Bacall, so she could bitch a bit about not receiving her honorary Oscar in that same ceremony. Or just to see her on that stage.

par3182 said...

doris day

Victor S said...

Imagine "The Dames United" presenting best picture: Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Helen Mirren. That would be fun.

Michael Parsons said...

Get Whoopie, Oprah and Margaret Avery to present it. HA!


great suggestions coming. Can't believe i didn't think of Hackman or Doris Day or Faye Dunaway!

and i agree with Mame that, even though i'm generally opposed to repeats (because they've prevented so many legends from getting the honor) a repeat from Olivia de Havilland would be awesome.

imagine the coup if she agreed to do it WITH Joan Fontaine.

uh... not that that would happen.

but i think famous co-stars is a good way to go. Which is why i suggested kate & leo (though they never go that young) or angelina & brad (since they do like the household names to do it).

I love Glenn's idea for Shirley Maclaine and Debra Winger... a Terms reunion.

but i guess i should give up the dream of Old Hollywood (outside of Jack) being honored now that they don't even deem them worthy to receive their awardage on air (see: Lauren Bacall's fate)

Anonymous said...

Can you just imagine the ratings if they announced that Brad and Angie were presenting together. As it stands I bet they don't even go. Maybe Brad for IB but Angie not so much. I would for one be right there to see them. They are the best and just imagine looking at them for 10 minutes. PLEASE MAKE IT HAPPEN>

Jennifer Anniston said...

Brad and Angelina

John D. said...

Christopher Plummer

John T said...

Yeah-I think it should be Bacall. It'd be great to get her on the stage and honored for her work.

If not that, why not celebrate 45 years of Doctor Zhivago and have Julie Christie and Omar Shariff do it, or Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer?

The Pretentious Know it All said...

After the presentation in '06, when Altman got his honorary Oscar, it's still beyond me why Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin aren't presenting every year and perhaps hosting the entire ceremony.

I think (before her death obviously) Gwen Verdon would have made a great host/presenter.

And Nathaniel...Sally Kirkland presenting best picture at the Oscars would be like Elizabeth Taylor screaming "Gla-di-a-tor" at the Golden Globes times a million.
In other words, best Oscars ever.


"Jennifer Anniston"... that's very big of you. p.s. you spelled your name wrong ;)

John T ooh, I LOVE that Dr. Zhivago suggestion. I was trying to think of ways to get Julie Christie up there and that's perfect. The Bening would never have it but Julie Christie and Warren Beatty reunited to present would be ten tons of awesomeness, too.

Jude said...

I'm feeling Ann Margret and Lauren Bacall. It sounds random I'm sure, but I would love to see these two women up there.

Unknown said...

Yeah I think it's a bit crazy that Meryl Streep hasn't presented Picture yet.

With the year she's been having, I think this could be the best year for her to present.

I'm a big Robert Downey, Jr. fan, so it'd be cool to see him present the big award that everyone's waited 2 hours 59 minutes 30 seconds to hear

sphi300 said...

Michael Caine, Sigourney Weaver, the Coen brothers, Johnny Depp

Guy Lodge said...

Funny, I was thinking about this exact issue around the time of the last ceremony, and also had to put Meryl Streep at the top of the list. It may be an obvious suggestion, but clearly not obvious enough for previous Oscarcast producers, so it bears repeating.

Also, for some reason, I prefer solo presenters to pairs.

I'd love to see the Academy expand their roster of filmmakers who are deemed sufficiently famous to present. Surely Pedro Almodovar is a recognisable (and dynamic) enough personality to merit consideration -- if not for Best Picture, then at least for Director or Screenplay.

cal roth said...

They aren't "legends", but I think The Silence of The Lambs' Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins would make a great couple of presenters 20 years later. But that would be 2011, or 2012, can't remember (!).

cal roth said...

Streep never presented because she's always a contender!

Anonymous said...

I don't see why that should matter Cal Roth. She was a contender when she present the honorary oscar to peter o'toole


Guy yeah, the list of directors that have been allowed to present Best Picture is slim. I assume this is because their faces aren't as recognizable as their names. But still...

for a show to honor the industry it seems weird. it's cool that Kurosawa got to do it (though he had to share the honor with two other directors)

Iggy said...

These two will probably never present BP together, but it's just an excuse to post this:

Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem in Eat, Pray, Love.

rosengje said...

I would die if Warren Beatty and Julie Christie were ever on the same stage. They are my Brad and Angelina. Maybe even throw Diane Keaton into the mix-- did you see her amazing slash slightly awkward tribute to him during his AFI dinner?

Paulo Peralta said...

Sigourney Weaver, Sharon Stone and Susan Sarandon

Peter Chan said...

I absolutely LURVE Glenn's idea of pairing up collaborators from previous Best Picture winners to present. Previous I'm giving this way too much thought, but here's a quick mockup:

Sup. Actress: Mary Tyler Moore & Donald Sutherland (Ordinary People)
Ori. & Adpt Screenplay: Ethan and Joel Coen (No Country For Old Men)
Best Art Direction/MakeUp/Costume: Rita Moreno & George Chikiris (West Side Story)
Best Sound Mix/Edit, VFX: Tom Hanks & Sally Field (Forrest Gump)
Best Short/Doc Short/Doc: Elijah Wood & Sean Astin (LOTR: ROTK)
Best Anime/ Short:Sandra Bullock & Brendan Fraser (Crash)
Best Sup. Actor: Dustin Hoffman & Jon Voight (Midnight Cowboy)
Best Cinematography: Kevin Spacey & Annette Bening (American Beauty)
Best Song/Score: Chris Plummer & Julie Andrews (Sound of Music)
Best Film Edit: Russell Crowe & Jennifer Connelly (Beautiful Mind)
Best For. Lang. Film: Liam Neeson & Ben Kingsley (Schindler's List)
Best Actor: Jodie Foster & Anthony Hopkins (Silence of the Lambs)
Best Actress: Diane Keaton & Al Pacino (Godfather)
Best Director: Leo DiCaprio & Kate Winslet (Titanic)
Best Picture: Jack Nicholson & Shirley McLaine (Terms)

Geez... got excited even thinking of such a impossible lineup.


Peter... but you've given JACK NICHOLSON best picture... again. That'll be 8 times in 82 years!

Jack said...

I don't mind that only a small selection of people have presented Best Picture, it keeps it as an exclusive club. Sure Jane Fonda is an Oscar winner and a famous actress, but then where do you stop?

It would be a cool tradition though if they started letting the honourary award winners present Best Picture, so this year it would be Lauren Bacall. That way, you're guaranteed a legend, and it's a way to get them on the show now that they're not actually giving them the honourary awards on it anymore.

Glenn said...

BTW, Nathaniel, are you hoping they keep the five previous winners thing for the acting categories or go back to clips and the opposite sex winner from last year?

NoNo said...

I heard that Meryl was supposed to present Best Picture but she was feeling a little under the weather and they went with Keaton and Nicholson. Did any one else hear that one? She was listed as a presenter that night and didn't do anything besides the little Miranda Priestly bit when Hathaway and Blunt presented.

Carl said...

Anyone besides me think thta John Waters would be a good choice?


jack she's not just a famous actress and an oscar winner but a bonafide legend.

even if they want to restrict it to bonafide legends... there's several they've ignored.

Andy said...

If you're gonna have Warren, Julie and Diane up there, you might as well throw in Leslie Caron, Madonna and Isabelle Adjani too. Actually, that would be the greatest Best Picture presentation ever! Seriously, they should let Meryl present it, she's so overdue, just like she is for Oscar number three.

Lauren Bacall is not getting her honorary Oscar on air??? I hadn't heard that and it totally sucks! Way to piss on your history, Hollywood!

Anonymous said...

Haha, what a coincidence Harrison Ford got to present both times the big favorite was a Steven Spielberg movie.

Alyssa said...

Why is it that Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro haven't presented together?! They are such good friends, and what about Streep and Eastwood, or Streep and Goldie Hawn? Streep and Tucci? she could do it with anyone, Kevin Kline? Dustin Hoffman, SHE HAS BEEN IN TWO HUUUGE MOVIES WITH JACK NCHOLSON, why is that they have never presented together? It is crazy that she has never presented even though she is the most oscar nominated person in history?

Peter said...

I remember being shocked the year that Nicholson and Keaton did it that it wasn't Nicholson and Streep. I think that was the year she broke Hepburn's nomination record so the idea of the two most-nominated actors of all-time presenting together seemed to irresistable to pass up. Guess I was wrong. Would love to see her do it though.

Peggy Sue said...

I love movie couples. Probably my all time favourite presenters were Taylor/Newman.

Unfortunately we won't have the chance to see MacLaine/Lemmon so I will go with Redford/Fonda or Redford/Streep.

Anyway, love this post. And Yes! enough with Nicholson, unless he's paired with Anjelica...

Anonymous said...

It's 70 years after Gone With the Wind winning best picture. If something defines best picture material, it's Gone With the Wind an we all know what a big moment it'd be to have all (seven) surviving cast members on stage presenting the final Oscar. It could be a moment to remember. And of course, Olivia de Havilland is going to hold the envelope. It could be a wink to having ten nominees as well.