This is precisely why the Academy Awards telecast sucks. Because the Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences doesn’t seek out the best people, just its closest pals. So AMPAS president Sid Ganis made his selection of Dreamgirls team Larry Mark and Bill Condon to produce the 81st Oscars over a long and cozy Polo Lounge lunch that “turned into a mini-think tank” about how to fix the show. Don’t get me wrong: I think the duo are a fine producing-directing team. But not only did Ganis fail to search far and wide for something different, he merely reached across the table for the same old same old. Then again, Sid always acts like he’s entered in some dopey contest to be crowned one of Hollywood’s ultimate insiders — when it was necessary for him to pick outsiders who can say no to the usual AMPAS bullshit. (Some serious and facetious suggestions: Mark Burnett, Simon Fuller, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, the MTV Movie Awards people, James Carville, Roger Ailes, Magical Elves Productions, the Chinese government.) Look, I know full well that Larry privately feels the same way most people do about the Oscars: you watch this borefest and you want to hang yourself. But last February’s was the worst-rated kudoscast since Nielsen started tracking them in 1974. And, afterwards, several Hollywood power players vowed to radically change this year’s show. (One mogul even seriously recommended that the “smaller movies” be relegated to the IFC Spirit Awards from now on.) The Oscars need major reconstruction before February 22nd, not just cosmetic surgery. I wish Larry and Bill well — and they should know that I’m more than happy to lend them my balls.
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