Well, last night was the Oscars. I’m not sure I have a lot to say about the telecast, other than I was less than impressed. Now, I think should explain that I’ve generally considered myself of Neil Patrick Harris in the past. How I Met Your Mother will go down in history as one of my favorite sitcoms of all time (not that that’s entirely due to NPH’s portrayal of Barney Stinson, but it’s certainly part of it). And when he’s hosted award shows in the past, I’ve thought he’s done a pretty good job. But for his first outing as Academy Awards host? Not so much.
I really want to give NPH the benefit of the doubt. I want to blame his writers for the majority of the missteps in the telecast. So very many of the intended jokes were just completely unfunny. Painfully unfunny. Remember how, on The Office, when Michael would tell a joke and there was an uncomfortable silence? That was the impression I got from a lot of the show last night. Uncomfortable silences and laughter that came as more of an obligation than of humor. To be fair, it was still better than when James Franco and Anne Hathaway tag teamed the hosting duties. Or what about the David Letterman/Oprah/Uma fiasco?
If we’ve learned anything from 87 years of Oscar ceremonies, it’s that there have been good hosts, bad hosts, and excellent hosts. That said, I would like to offer my services as host for next year’s telecast. I know I’m not famous. In fact, I’d be hard pressed to find more than a few hundred people in the world who have even heard of me in my lifetime and maybe 100 who actually remember me well enough to put a face with a name. But, hear me out.
- I’ll be cheap. Think about it. Being a nobody from Virginia will mean that the Academy or ABC or whomever foots the bill would have to pay me next to nothing compared to what they pay their usual stable of hosts. I’d be happy to host a three hour program for $1000. Now, that’s a lot of money for three hours’ work (at least for me). But I assume it’s much less than they paid NPH last night, considering the gift baskets given out to non-winners were valued at $160,000 each.
- Does anyone really watch the show for the host? Really, when I’m sitting in my living room, I only care about what movies win which awards. Sure, it’s a nice bonus if the host has an impressive opening monologue or even musical number, but when you get into the show, I just want people to open envelopes and read the winners’ names.
- I can’t dance, but I can sing if you really need to have a musical number. Give me some medley of classic Hollywood songs and I’ll do the best I can to make it entertaining. As long as you don’t expect me to follow any serious choreography.
- I promise not to come out on stage in my underwear. You can all thank me later.
- I’ll keep the show to the three scheduled hours. I’d say that I would enforce the short speech time given to award winners by bringing a long hook or a gong with which to play them off. But are speeches that go over by 30 seconds really to blame for a telecast that runs over by 38 minutes? Doubtful. No, I would, instead, limit the ridiculous “entertaining” bits that are done when the host wanders through the audience or claims to have a locked box with his predictions about the show. No one cares about that stuff. Again, let’s just introduce the presenters and let them read the nominees’ and winners’ names.
- Here’s my opening line: “Congratulations to all the nominees on a year of hard work in the motion picture industry. You’ve all proven more or less adequate.”
And there you have it. I would make an excellent host for the Academy Awards. Because the job of the host is to direct your attention to the ceremony, not to himself. So who do I need to talk to about putting my hat in the ring for the 88th Academy Awards? Let me know and I’ll put together a decent audition tape.