Oscar Gets a Facelift
Producers have promised a slimmer, more streamlined Academy Awards. Will less mean more (ratings?)
Nothing says Hollywood like an octogenarian getting work done. Yes, dahhlings, Oscar is now an elderly 81. In recent years, the awards program has shown its not-so-golden age with sagging ratings, excess yardage of red carpet and a bulky midsection. (And broadcast in Hi-def, no less!! Eek!)
So what’s the most glam-gluted guy in Tinsel Town to do? First-time producers Lawrence Mark and Bill Condon have their scalpels at the ready to oversee Oscar’s 2009 facelift.
Here’s a peek at some of the nips and tucks you can expect from Sunday’s 81st Annual Academy Awards on ABC:
Less is More
The duo of Mark and Condon (Dreamgirls) have promised to trim the excessive clip montages, corny banter and orchestral hurry-ups from the bloated broadcast. They plan to capture the entire elegant fete in three hours or less. (Hmm. Did anyone ask them to pinky-swear?)
Presenters under wraps
In a ratings-grubbing gamble, the Academy will keep the names of many of this year’s presenters top secret. Why? Usually, the previous years’ winners hand out awards to the honorees in their respective categories. Producers think this is too much like seeing the bride before the wedding. They’d like to build a bit of (..er) drama this year.
Academy spokeswoman Leslie Unger teases in the Los Angeles Times, “There will be fantastic movie stars that appeal to a whole range of movie lovers and fans… We’re just not going to tell you who they all are.” By keeping the spotlight off the presenters until they sweep across the Kodak Theatre stage, organizers hope to restore an element of glamorous mystery to the show.
Svelte Red Carpet
While nominees and other attendees will still swan along the velvet ropes, some of the super-secret superstar presenters will enter the Kodak Theatre from an off-camera location. (Translation: No popping flashbulbs or choruses of “Who are you wearing?!?”) This means fashion-philes will have to wait to feast their eyes on all of the glam gowns and luxe tuxes. The tactic might build suspense, but it also might hurt designers who count on label-dropping starlets to keep them in chiffon every year.
Hottie Aussie Hugh Jackman will work it (woo-hoo!) as host of this year’s ceremony. While the star of blockbusters and Broadway alike has proven his charisma as host of the 2003 and 2004 Tony Awards his selection marks a departure from the choice of a stand-up comedian-type. (I love Ellen DeGeneres and Jon Stewart, but maybe Mr. Jackman is the better-than-Botox refresher the Oscars need.)
So, will viewers embrace this sleeker, trimmer version of Hollywood’s biggest night? Los Angeles-based fashion stylist Michael Serrato remains enthusiastic about the show’s luster, “Regardless of [who] stomps across the red carpet, I’m on pins and needles waiting to take it all in, it’s unavoidable glamour, he tells Betty, adding, “Yipee for the Oscars!”
Meanwhile, L.A. talent manager Keith Brown has a few Academy Awards makeover tips of his own. “They need more nudity,” he laughs, “and they should let [rapper] Lil’ Wayne do the live performance of the ‘Best Original Song; nominees…”
Of course … we’ll have a front row seat for you right here on Betty – we’re sending our L.A. Correspondent Carrie Seim to the Oscars and we’ll be streaming LIVE video of her adventures on the red carpet and the famous Night of 100 Starsparty!