Oscar Watch: How many montages is too many?

Whether you’re on Team Brokeback or Team Crash, I think there’s one thing we can all agree on about Sunday night’s Oscar telecast: There simply weren’t enough montages. (I jest!) Okay, in a year in which the nominees included Good Night, and Good Luck, Brokeback Mountain, and Crash, the recap of ”issue” films made sense (though, if I’m not mistaken, it featured a clip of The Day After Tomorrow — sigh). But seriously, considering the telecast ran a full 3 1/2 hours, you’d think producer Gil Cates might’ve left out the superfluous tribute to film noir. Or perhaps the one about biopics. Or maybe the please-go-to-the-theater-and-stop-buying-DVDs montage (a.k.a. the tribute to sweeping epics).

Then again, maybe it’s just me. Cates told the Los Angeles Times’ Channel Island blog he suspected average viewers enjoyed the clips, but "you have to deal with an understandably effete response to it" from critics. (Effete? Moi?)

Cates also talked to Channel Island about the other annoying aspect of this year’s Oscar telecast (which scored an average of 38.8 million viewers, down 8 percent from 2005). No, not that garish set. (But good point!) I was going to call out the fact that the orchestra played ominously throughout everyone’s acceptance speeches. Why not just have a muscle-bound goon stand to the side of the podium with a hook while you’re at it? Cates said he had thought it would add ”a unified thread" to the ceremony, but he’s not sure if he’ll do it again in 2007.

So PopWatchers, with the 2007 Oscars a full year away, any other suggestions on how to improve the telecast? Maybe a montage of middling romantic comedies? Or perhaps something funny, like host Jon Stewart’s gay cowboy clip reel? Holla back!

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  • Sven

    Aside from Jon Stewart’s montage to the cowboys, the others had no place in the ceremony. I personally liked the set more than I have in past years, so I don’t know why folks keep harping about it. And the musical beds behind the speeches was a terrible idea. But this was one of the best academy awards shows in several years. I liked Chris Rock’s performance, but Jon Stewart was spectacular in his role. All I can suggest is they stop wheeling out our grand dames, ala Lauren Bacall and Liz Taylor from a few years back. Let us remember them for their elegance, and not their descensions into dementia.

  • dma69

    What was the point of the film noir montage? Really, that was a waste. The cowboy montage was hysterical. We just need one for a movie theme and In Memorium. Other than that, no more unnessary montages, please.

  • Josh

    One serious clip (besides the serious clips of in memorium and for the honorary Oscar), and the rest must be funny like the gay cowboy one. If they need more time, more humorous bits like the political-satire ads.

  • Todd

    Oh “The Day After Tomrrow.” Are we ever going to be a free of your horrible grasp? The social relevance montage at least provided Jon Stewart with one of the funniest moments of the show. The epic montage was just lame. Were those movies even epics? Let’s see more montages devoted to Don Knotts and fewer shameless ways to cart out Lauren Bacall.

  • brandonk

    Oh, yeah, way too many montages…I was like, what’s going on here? They were interesting in a way, but when everybody complains about how long the show is, shouldn’t they do what they can to keep it short? And I absolutely hated the music being played as soon as the winners started speaking. It made me feel like they were being played off the whole time.

  • brandonk

    LOL…well said, Sven…I wonder if Lauren Bacall just forgot her glasses or something. She usually seems lucid.

  • Howard

    I think we just have to accept the fact that the show is going to be 3.5 hours long, and stop bitching about it. The montages are not a bad idea by themselves, but the content got a little ridiculous. Putting “The Day After Tomorrow” in the Issues montage was stretching a little, but having “Something’s Gotta Give” in it was a veritable taffy pull. Similarly, having “Grease” in the Epics montage was incredlous as well.
    I can take or leave the montages, but I’d rather have more content associated with the current nominated films. That, or let them be a little looser with the time limit for good speeches. There were a few winners (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ang Lee among others) that I would have preferred not to see rushed offstage. If that means that montages have to go, then so be it.

  • pn

    Sometimes shorter is better, just like this comment.

  • Jakeem

    Here’s a surefire way to improve the pace of the Academy Awards ceremony on ABC: Get rid of the red carpet pregame stuff. Entirely. Cable is already saturated with red carpet analyses, so why not start the Oscars at 7 p.m. EST? The show is always going to clock in at three-and-a-half hours plus, anyway!
    That way, the ceremony can end by 10:30 p.m. or just before 11 p.m. And award winners can deliver heartfelt acceptance speeches without fear of being blasted off the stage by Bill Conti and his orchestra.
    I also would try to bring in more Academy Award winners as presenters, otherwise we’re going to wind up with Paris Hilton onstage someday. For the 80th Academy Awards in 2008, it would be nice to see great stars such as Elizabeth Taylor presenting Oscars again.

  • Charlie

    Jon Stewart was a good host, but he seemed a little stiffled. I think Chris Rock, another excellent choice, fell to the same problem. The Academy has to commit to its hosts and not undercut them.
    No montages ever! The show is long enough without having to see some Netflix advertisements in the telecast.
    And the music playing during speeches was rude. For the behind-the-scenes category winners, this is their moment — the music absolutely kills that. They get cut off for more montages? Cripes.

  • charlotte

    The poor winners looked like scared rabbits about to go out in front of a firing squad. And since most of them obviously felt forced to rehearse their speeches in order to make the time they all just came out rushed and emotionless.

  • rachel

    Isn’t this the Super Bowl of movies and, if so, why not make it entertaining? No one really watches the Super Bowl football game until the 4th quarter when the cool ads have all been seen and the game turns into a game.
    Sunday night wasn’t entertainment as much as it was an industry advertisement love-fest and, yawn, a boring one at that.
    Cut the running length of this monster to 2 hours and show only the awards that people care about.
    Or go all out and make this a truly over-the-top fun evening. Make fun of Hollywood and the industry and it will be a hit on TV.
    Better yet, cut the price of movie tickets to $5/ticket so we can actually afford to see the nominated (and those that deserved to be nominated) movies before they hit DVD. No one really cares who wins if they haven’t seen the movie.

  • Burbanked

    This will sound kooky, but I want MORE film montages! They’re well-edited, nicely paced, excellently scored – and they span Hollywood’s rich history. Where else can you see Henry Fonda’s “I’ll be there” speech from the Grapes of Wrath in such close proximity to the look on Tom Hanks’ face when he’s being rejected by Denzel in Philadelphia?
    The show’s long – so what? The Super Bowl’s long, too, but no one ever suggests removing the replays or reducing it to 3 quarters. The Oscars are about the MOVIES – there’s really nothing wrong with producing a well-made montage of classic movie moments.

  • Rick

    I was OK with the montages, but I was getting very annoyed about the fact that the Oscar producers were willing to let presenters blather on endlessly with little or no added value (recall Ben Stiller’s green suit; Will and Steve’s makeup bit) but then had countdown timers staring the winners in the face while the music played annoyingly below the acceptance speech. For me, waste less time with presenters who have no business on stage (Jennifer Aniston? When did she start making Oscar-caliber films?) and let the winners who’ve accomplished something special take an extra 15 seconds to share the joy.

  • blah

    Every year they try to cut down the time of the oscar’s by cutting people off and shortening the presenter’s speeches. I think they need to cut the stupid montages. The gay cowboy thing was funny, it can stay. But not only was the film noir thing stupid, why did we need someone who can’t read a teleprompter to present it? I say not only get rid of the montages, but get rid of presenting the montages.
    And it seems in such poor taste to cut of people’s mics and play over their speeches. I just felt sorry for them. Plus all the fun is when people make great speeches. If they feel rushed, they won’t make it count! Though I do agree that people need to stop thanking all the people they’ve ever met. No one cares who their lawyer is.

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