Understand, I'm not saying Sunday night's debacle was Stewart's fault. Rather, I started to get deja vu that it was this year's Golden Globes all over again, where people simply read off the names and there wasn't any show. Hell of a way to celebrate the 80th Oscars, by keeping the spoken words and the skits and everything else enjoyable to a minimum. Because of the plethora of film clips, it became painfully obvious that Gil Cates really expected to put on an actorless and writerless and directorless Oscars due to the strike. As a result, the show lacked spontaneity. For chrissakes, the winners couldn't even thank their mothers, much less their lawyers, without being cut off by the music.
I'm sure AMPAS head Sid Ganis, Gil Cates et al. will blame the writers' strike for this year's ratings. The real people to blame are the Hollywood CEOs, for petulantly dragging out a settlement. And the Oscar voters, for being such horrible snobs. For instance, why wasn't The Bourne Ultimatum nominated for Best Picture? I mean, it was a great film, and The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy were satisfying too. Clearly, I'm out of step with the Oscar voters. Or is it the other way around?
I understand that several Hollywood power players on Sunday suggested that AMPAS should do everything it can to promote big, popular studio movies that people have seen for Best Picture awards. One mogul even seriously recommended that the "smaller movies" be relegated to the IFC Spirit Awards from now on. Maybe AMPAS should learn something about audience appeal and aggressive marketing from, say, the MTV Movie Awards. And it wouldn't kill the academy to include crowd-pleasers — like 2007's Transformers, The Simpsons Movie, Knocked Up, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Bourne Supremacy, Spider-Man 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean 3 — in the show more prominently.
In the end, Viacom and Disney, which both distributed Best Picture winner No Country for Old Men, won seven Oscars each, the most among the major studios. Films from Universal won five, Time Warner won four, and News Corp. won two. Sony Corp. took home one. Had the Oscars been held, say, in the first or second week in January, I think Michael Clayton would have won hands down. But then the fever (or was it flu?) for No Country for Old Men took hold because it was winning so many other awards (SAG's, film critics', etc.). Usually, academy voters are painfully out of touch with the tastes of the American public. Now the show is a pathetic anachronism too.