Nick Leshi

Nick Leshi
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Bronx, New York, United States of America
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December 13
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Writer, actor, media professional, fan of entertainment, pop culture, and speculative fiction. Contact nickleshi@aol.com for more info.

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FEBRUARY 26, 2012 9:09PM

Why I Still Watch the Oscars

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The current cover story in AdWeek magazine is about "Why Oscar Still Matters," titled "I'm Still Big -- It's the Pictures That Got Small." It argues that the Academy Awards are still very relevant, despite the detractors, at least from an advertising point of view. It's still a perennial top rated show, and people like me keep tuning in.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, host Billy Crystal implies that the Oscars might get a bad rap lately because of all the other awards show competition out there.  He says that back in the day, the Academy Awards were the only film awards in town, and now they compete with dozens of other ceremonies that steal the Oscars' thunder. Personally, I don't think that's any excuse to explain away the demerits of a dull production, but he has a point -- we have to ask ourselves, "What makes the Academy Awards special anymore?"  The answer is that it is (or should be) the gold standard (no pun intended) by which all other awards shows are measured. 

While some tune in for the fashion, it's still about the movies, stupid.  For an industry that's all about entertainment, it still stuns me that the Academy often struggles to put on a captivating show.  But folks like me keep tuning in because we love cinema, we love seeing the stars who bring those wonderful characters to life and those artists who make magic by turning stories into our modern day mythology.

So I'm watching the Oscars right now and I'll be sharing my reaction tomorrow. The Academy should forget about trying to be edgy or being a slave to its past and not take any risks. Instead, they should just remember who the show is for -- to honor show biz professionals, of course, but also to delight the millions of viewers tuning in because movies inspire their dreams.

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film, movies, academy awards, oscars

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The demographics of the academy released this week by Roger Ebert - overwhelmingly male, white, and old - give me pause. I would expect the academy to be a little more representative of the population.
I am watching now too. I like to let the people who win speak more than the weirder bits of entertainment...
Nick, lets face it, the Oscars are dull because Hollywood is dull. We don't have Taylor and Burton, L.B. Mayer, casts of thousands, blockbuster hits, big premiers, jewels, glamor, scandals, 1 million is chump change, gossip, gossip, gossip! No one goes to drugstores for Malts anymore. Everyone marries 3-4 times anyway, gay and hiding in the closet? Everyone is out, proud and loving it. Tabloids are just plain stupid. So, you tell me, Nick, where is the excitement??

It takes a weeks pay for the family to see a hour and a piece movie and to get popcorn and a drink. Will you remember this years nominated movies 50 years from now? (Except the Tree of Life"). I can identify two, Judgement at Nuremberg and West Side Story (only because I read it somewhere, but still have instant recognition.)

Lets face it, its up to everyone in the Academy to put the Gold back in Oscar.
I think one problem is that the ubiquitous media - Internet, Twitter, the tabloids, TV talk shows - removes some of the mystique from the stars. And there is a bigger separation between what's popular and what's critically accepted than there used to be. Still, as you say, it's the gold standard of awards shows; unlike the Emmys and Grammys, they only give out a handful and victories are rare and to be savored. Saying you've won an Oscar is way more prestigious than winning any other award.
And also the whole world watches so every ceremony enters the global mythological language of our times.
Yes, Wren Dancer, the demographics are not fair. As Art & Life are not but this does not stop us enjoying them.
My post Oscars reaction. Billy hit it out of the park. The show was good. It will never be great for the reasons Billy Crystal gave. Right now the show with spontaneity, and unpredictability, like the Oscars used to be, are the Republican Debates. I also don't like the inevitability of certain wins, such as THE ARTIST, which are done deals long before the curtain rises. I used to participate in an Oscar contest, but this really lessens any original guessing. The one happy result, Meryl Streep's win. She deserved it, and I was afraid she was going to be shortshrifted again. Also, the younger generation isn't on board. My 18 year old granddaughter watched the Red Carpet with me, but then left the room, saying, "Enjoy your show, Grandma." My Gen X son, in his forties, is still a big fan. I think it stops with that generation.