Day Fourty-Seven – Thank You, Oscar

16 02 2010

I don’t think I’ve ever watched the Oscars completely live. As much as I love the movies and the spectacle the Oscars bring to the business, I just couldn’t sit through the entire four-hour show without some sort of edge.

Way back when, I would flip back and forth, being sure to catch the winners while watching something a little more entertaining on another network. Even if that happened to be a rerun of Friends. In recent years, I’ve used my PVR to skip all of the commercials and bad speeches, getting straight to the good stuff.

Nominees have been asked to save the "thank you"s for a second speech to be broadcast online.

This year might not be as much of a problem. Apparently the Oscars are finally taking steps to eliminate the worst part of the broadcast – the “Thank You” speech.

While I don’t have a problem with a well written or thought-out story about how an actor’s agent was the only one willing to take a risk on him/her when he/she was a nobody in the town, and without them would likely remain a nobody, most speeches don’t go that way. Instead, they usually end up being a huge list of names. Names that I don’t know, as well.

“I’d like to thank Harvey, Bob, Mike, Sarah, Jim, my kids and my wife/husband.”

That’s a short version. That usually goes on for a couple of minutes, all of it as boring as hell. I’d rather watch Ross beg Rachel not to get on the plane for the 200th time then have someone cry some names into a microphone.

I’m not alone, which is why I think allowing the winners to split their speeches in two is a great idea. They still get to thank everyone they want, while still attempting to be entertaining to those watching at home. At the end of the day, it’s a telecast for a reason. If the goal was to thank the people in the room alone, it wouldn’t be on television at all, with the winners listed on blogs and newspapers the following morning.

I always found that those who were willing to tell some kind of story had the best speeches. Regardless of how well the story is told, or how relevant it was to me, I would always hear them out. Writers disappoint me the most. You would hope that they would have the best speech of the night, yet they fall back on listing names more than anyone.

Still, good speeches become a part of the culture. People still talk about Barbra Streisand and Julia Roberts. Sure, they listed names, but they also took the time to tell a bit of their story. Becoming a part of the history with a good speech is just as important as winning the Oscar. You become a part of the club, and better yet, actually remembered for it.

This year, everyone will be forced to do it. It’s about time.

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