And the Loser Is...

The moviegoing audience, which is ignored by the Academy, and the telecast audience, which is subjected to an overlong, overwrought Oscars show

Anyone who watched last night's Oscars telecast no doubt came away with one of several conclusions. First, Al Gore, whose environmental documentary An Inconvenient Truth won an Academy Award, is the most popular guy in Hollywood these days. Or maybe that ABC found a new, more boring way than usual to spread out what could be a two-hour ceremony into something almost interminable. But I came away with some newfound respect for Will Ferrell, or the guy who wrote the words to the song he performed with Jack Black. "You're the saddest guy of all," the comedian warbled about big-budget action stars. "Your movies make money but they'll never call your name."

The bottom line is that the Academy Awards have lost their way. Launched in 1929 mostly to provide a little extra publicity for flicks in the winter, today the Oscars are a giant, overwrought extravaganza that seems so taken with itself that the votes are all but protected by armed guards. Please, Hollywood, this year give us films to get excited about—so we can have an Oscars to get excited about.

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