5 Things I learned from the Academy Awards (and the Tonys could learn too).
It’s been over a week since Seth MacFarlane offended a whole bunch of people (did people expect less?) and Anne Hathaway pi$$ed off a whole bunch of people (did people expect less?) at this year’s Academy Awards. For the first time in years, I watched the show from beginning to end (admittedly with my computer in front of me googling things like “Charlize Theron in Cider House Rules” and “How old is Barbra Streisand now anyway?). Since the Oscars are so well viewed, I wanted to see if there were a few takeaways the Tonys could steal to help increase our lagging ratings this coming June.
Here’s what I learned:
1. The Show Before The Show might be more entertaining than The Show.
Every year the Red Carpet Coverage seems to get bigger and better. It’s a chance for us to get up close and personal with the stars, see who’s hot, who’s not, and apparently to see how short Kristin Chenoweth is compared to every other human being (I found that pretty entertaining, actually). I always enjoy hearing who’s nervous. It shows that people in Hollywood are actually human.
2. If you’re not in the industry, then a lot of the Awards don’t matter.
I’m gonna say it. I don’t care about the winner for short animated feature. Just don’t. And that’s when I went back to the Google machine and starting searching for things like, “How long is this $#(*ing awards show going to be?” We all want to recognize excellence. But we have to be careful if it costs us viewers. Not showing the short animated feature winner’s speech on television doesn’t mean they aren’t getting the award. It just means people might actually get to go to sleep before the sun comes out tomorrow.
3. Controversy keeps The Buzz going.
Who would have thought CNN would be talking about the Oscars as of yesterday? What did it? Michelle Obama. I’m not sure anyone thought that the choice to have Mrs. First Lady giving out the big trophy at the end of the night would be such a talking point, but it was definitely a big, bold choice, and it got a lot of folks attention, for better and for worse. And I thought it gave the industry a lot of authority. If you can get one of the most powerful women in the
country world to show up to your party, even on Skype, you’re throwing one helluva party.
4. Being Prepared isn’t always Best.
My favorite moment? Jennifer Lawrence’s sweet blushy face after she fell up those stairs. It was real, authentic, and all of us out there said, “Mega millionaire stars fall up stairs too, just like me!” While I’m a big believer that all nominees should have some idea of what they’re going to say should they get to run up those stairs, it’s much more endearing to shoot from your cuff. Sure, you may trip up the stairs or over your words, but so what . . . save the memorization for when you’re at work. Use improvisation when you win.
5. When there are more Musical Numbers, we all Win.
After the show was over, a friend of mine texted me and said, “Weren’t The Tonys fantastic?” Thanks to Broadway Lovers (and Producers) Neil Meron and Craig Zadan (along with help from Rob Ashford), the show was filled with numbers and music of all types and genres . . . and that’s certainly when I had the most fun, didn’t you? We’re watching something live . . . so we want to see something live. And the more of it, the better.
The Oscars took a lot of flack in the press this year, despite the fact that ratings were up about 3%. What did you think of the show? What would you like the Tonys to adopt? Not adopt? Let the comments begin!
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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.