The irony is that, when Brett Ratner, the human personification of a knit cap worn indoors in pleasant weather, was announced as producer of the show, I started calling it "History's Worst Oscars" and now it seems like that has come to pass even after he
quit. Brian Grazer, the very safe choice to replace Ratner after he said the "fag" word outloud in public like an asshole, is producing something that seems like your mom's wild night out on the town. The only thing it needs is one of those fishbowl drinks from Applebee's.
We've now got Brian Grazer, Billy Crystal as host, Cirque Du Soleil, and The Muppets. This Oscars is so safe it's going to be like sex with eight condoms, a diaphragm, and a sponge. And will probably feel just as good.
The thing about it is that it is just so damn expected. It's like Oscars paint-by-numbers. Cirque Du Soleil? Really? They have about a dozen shows across the world where acrobats do insane things in kooky costumes to soundtracks that sound like they were composed entirely on an auto harp, but it is not an original choice. Remember when Pilobolus danced out the Best Picture nominees? No one had heard of them before and, while extraneous, it was fun and different and something people still talk about today. The only thing they're going to be saying about Cirque is how much Velveeta they're going to splash all over the Kodak theater next weekend.
The Muppets, while in a cute movie and nominated for Best Original Song, are like giving people the nostalgia pill they really want. It's like when your kids ask for donuts for dinner and you give it to them and then they feel like shit later and they're like, "What's wrong with us?" and you knew you shouldn't have given them the donuts, but you did anyway and now you can't believe they don't feel good and are upset at you for giving it to them. The donuts are the Muppets. Don't feed your kids the Muppets for dinner.
Sure, directing the Oscar telecast is a thankless job. Everyone is going to hate it, everyone is going to say the changes are horrible, and the new leader will probably only last a year. (It's sort of like working at Gawker, that way.) But all we really want is to be wowed. In between the stylist-approved dresses, the publicist-vetted speeches, the writer-scripted banter, and the focus group-tested This Is Who Died This Year montage, we want to see something new and memorable that will make us want to come back to the show again next year. Something that contains just a fraction of the joy that most of us feel when watching movies in a theater. Right now Brian Grazer's Oscars are shaping up to outstink what Brett Ratner's would have been. They're going to be something worse than bad: they're going to be boring.
[Image via Getty]