Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Kevin Hart Hosts the Oscars

(This is a very dated post, which I decided not to update!)

Choosing the host for the Oscars reminds me a little of picking the performer for the SuperBowl Halftime Show: he'll need to tick a lot of boxes.  And it can start to feel pretty messy.

Consider the SuperBowl Halftime Show: I was surprised they chose Maroon 5.  Let's go back to 2012: Bruno Mars with Red Hot Chill Peppers making an appearance, followed by Katy Perry in '13 with Missy Elliot, followed by Coldplay with Beyonce and Bruno Mars showing up again, followed by Lady Gaga, followed by the oh-so-meh performance of Justin Timberlake.  

Do you notice a pattern?  Boy-girl-boy-girl.  So what's with the boy-band in '19?  Anyway, not only does the NFL need to be sensitive to gender, but the musician needs to have that special combination of being bubble-gum-popular and being a seriously talented musician.  They also be need to be of the moment.  Or at least somewhat anyway.  I mean, Fleetwood Mac is great, but won't be hosting the Halftime Show even if they wanted to.   

Looking at the Oscar hosts, starting from the same year:  
2012: Billy Crystal
2013: Seth Macfarlane 
2014: Ellen Degeneres
2015: Neil Patrick Harris
2016: Chris Rock
2017: Jimmy Kimmell
2018: Jimmy Kimmell
2019: Kevin Hart

What I notice about all of these choices is that, with the exception of Seth Macfarlane and Neil Patrick Harris, they all seem so safe.  Polished, harmless-ish, huge-ish comedians were chosen to helm the show.  And so many men!  I guess that it goes to show that women aren't funny.  Except for Kathy Griffin, who would do a damn good job.  

I'm a little struck that Seth Macfarlane was chosen at all; doesn't it seem a little out of his depth?  Kevin Hart will be about the same age as Seth Macfarlane was when he hosted; 39/40.  So definitely on the younger end of the spectrum.    

Now let's be clear: Kevin Hart is funny as hell.  I wonder, though, if he'll be out of his depth?  If he is, however, it won't matter, as this will be overshadowed by the sympathy he'll receive for being the politically correct choice for the job.  

And though sounds terrifically trite to say that, it is true that the Oscars have become a battleground of sorts for the woke vs. staid mindsets.  Or that is to say, the woke amongst us are trying very, very hard to upset certain, erm, patterns that they've noticed in the Academy's selections.  (As an aside, are these woke people at all upset at the number of times Meryl Streep's been nominated?)

Anyway, after Moonlight won for Best Picture in 2016, and Get Out for Best Original Screenplay last year, and the enormous fit the woke people threw after the Academy tried to insert a "Best Popular Film" Category this year (they saw this as the Academy's way of making sure Black Panther would get a nomination), it's hard to see a black host and not think: oh, the Academy's making a statement!

It's a statement about how they're trying to ingratiate themselves to woke audiences (at some point I'll stop using that word but it's just so, you know, woke).  

However, I also think that the more the Oscars become a playing ground for identity politics, the less interest people will have in watching them.

Additionally, what the woke people didn't seem to grasp is that the Best Popular Category was actually a sincere attempt to bring the general public back to the Oscars, as this category would include the box-office behemoths; Marvel, Fast and Furious, and Mission Impossible movies; that are always, always, always overlooked in other categories in favor of artsy movies (Moonlight, Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri) seen by only a fraction of the audience. 

That is to say, the more the Oscars caters to woke audiences, and rescinds on changes that cater to general audiences, the more esoteric the ceremony will become.  It's dwindled from 43 million in 2014 (its 10-year high) to a paltry 26 million in 2018.  

What's your estimate at the viewer's it'll have this year?  My guess is even less than the record low of 2018.  There just don't seem to be a lot of "gotta see it" movies in the running.  Maybe as much as 10% fewer viewers.  But it'll still be worth the watch.  It always is.  If nothing else, to see Kevin Hart.  At least, that is, if he brings his true colors.    

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