So…About That Oscars Host (or Absence Thereof Anyway)

Just a few months ago Saturday Night Live did a clever sketch in which several actors audition to be the new host of the 91st Academy Awards after some particularly bigoted tweets of a certain host came to the surface. (I think you know who I’m talking about) It featured the SNL cast impersonating people such as Hannah Gadsby, Allison Janney, Kanye West and Rami Malek.

Fast forward a few months later and Kevin Hart finally issued an official apology for his homophobic tweets after much pressure and decided even after Ellen DeGeneres’ persistent efforts to forgive him and get him back his reputation, he finally stepped down. And so there probably won’t be a host this year.

Not only that but The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced it is also going to cut four very important awards from airing live during the ceremony: Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Live Action Short, and Best Makeup and Hairstyling. This means we won’t get a chance to stand up and cheer from the comfort of our living rooms when these people win. However, they will be somehow edited back into the broadcast at a TBD time, so we’ll get to see the speeches. Just not during the time when they’re supposed to be seen. (aka on our television screens)

This is just sad, and also, quite unfair. All these behind the scenes positions may not seem important for ratings’ sake, and honestly in the past all I cared about when seeing the Oscars was who won for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Picture. I wasn’t really concerned about Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Live Action Short and Best Makeup and Hairstyling. But in retrospect, as I started doing more of my own behind the scenes work (administrative work, food service, hospitality, dishwashing, and even learning HTML, CSS and Javascript to build a website), I started becoming more interested in behind-the-scenes work in general, including that which goes into making films. I realized if I want to be a more well-rounded person of the arts, I would do well to watch more short films. I’m so used to watching 2 hour movies that it escaped my mind that even films that are four minutes long (or 10, depending on the film) can really say so much. In college I was indifferent to short film festivals and didn’t go a lot of the time. But I wish in retrospect I had done so because it would have made my college experience more enriching (I spent most of my time studying and only really went and saw long movies, plays, and concerts. And occasional performances by the dance department).

Also, cinematography, makeup, hair, and editing are all things that make films the masterpieces they are, whether or not they become popular movies. As much as I didn’t enjoy the overall message of Black Swan, the cinematography was incredibly captivating. The blends of dark shades of color, the incredibly nuanced lighting…even the end credits (I talked about those at some length in my post about the film itself, but not enough) where they have the black lettering of the film crew’s names against the cream white background while black feathers are floating around the screen gives the film its deeply scary effect. None of this would have been possible without Matthew Libatique’s incredible behind the scenes camera work. And the masterful way they transformed Nina from the White Swan into the Black Swan? That’s the makeup and hairstyling crew for you.

In all, I am rather disappointed by the Academy’s decision. I’ll still watch it, but I’m probably going to not like it as much as previous awards ceremonies. Although I wouldn’t mind if they had Rachel Brosnahan as a host, or Hannah Gadsby.

Thoughts about the Oscar’s changes? Let me know in the comments!

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