Oscar 2013 controversies and criticisms (photo: Daniel Radcliffe and Kristen Stewart at Oscar 2013 ceremony)
[See previous post: "Oscar 2014: Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron Return."] There’s more: In reference to the repartee between the talking teddy bear Ted and Mark Wahlberg, the Jewish Anti-Defamation League lamented that "it is sad and disheartening that the Oscars awards show sought to use anti-Jewish stereotypes for laughs." The ADL added, “for the insiders at the Oscars this kind of joke is obviously not taken seriously. But when one considers the global audience of the Oscars of upwards of two billion people [sic], including many who know little or nothing about Hollywood or the falsity of such Jewish stereotypes, there’s a much higher potential for the ‘Jews control Hollywood’ myth to be accepted as fact.”
(Non-Hollywood insiders everywhere should be deeply offended that anyone could think they’d accept as fact the utterances of a talking teddy bear blatantly mocking ignorant bigots.)
And in Time magazine, TV critic James Poniewozik wrote: "In the run-up to Sunday’s Oscars, ABC promoted the broadcast as: ’Finally! An Oscars the guys can enjoy!’ What did that mean, exactly? … Time for me to turn in my Guy Card, I guess. I’ll give ABC credit for taking a chance. But where James Franco and Anne Hathaway were inept two years ago, and Billy Crystal was fine-but-dull a year ago, MacFarlane was uncomfortable, smarmy, unfunny — and not even bad in any memorably creative way."
Yet, whether or not because of Seth MacFarlane’s "uncomfortable, smarmy, unfunny" performance, the "Boob song," and the ill-informed teddy bear, and/or a desire to see Bella Swan and Harry Potter (for the uninitiated, that’s Kristen Stewart and Daniel Radcliffe) join forces to present an award, or to watch Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum attempt to emulate Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, or to check out Barbra Streisand performing at the Oscars for the first time in more than three decades, or to witness non-nominated director Ben Affleck take home the Best Picture Oscar for the political thriller Argo, those television ratings were up. Way up. (Scroll down to check out a few Oscar 2013 images.)
Oscar 2014 host?
Seth MacFarlane has already said he will not be returning as the Oscar 2014 host. As to be expected, there have been the usual online rumors about a whole array of celebrities doing it: Justin Timberlake, for one, or Tina Fey (who co-hosted with Amy Poehler the Golden Globes earlier this year), or U.S. talk-show host Jimmy Fallon — or maybe Justin Bieber, or Oprah Winfrey, or North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. The last one would be quite a coup. We’ll find out soon enough if the Academy is that influential.
A couple of things, however, are certain. As per the Academy’s press release, Oscar 2014 ceremony producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron "plan to bring back … the Oscar Experience College Search, which allows young filmmakers to assist with bringing the Oscar statuettes on-and-off stage during the show." Okay, not something to lure a few more million 18-49 TV viewers — unless, of course, those college students have really large extended families — but probably exciting for those taking part in the gig.
Also, the Oscars will be held once again at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in one of the several hearts of Hollywood. In the U.S., the Oscar show will be televised live by ABC; in addition, the telecast will be broadcast live "in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide." (Note: The Academy has gotten its geography right this time around; it used to be "225 countries" when the world actually has at most 206 such political entities.)
What are the Oscars about?
In her anti-Seth MacFarlane piece, Jamie Lee Curtis asks, "I’m sure public executions would get big ratings too, but is that what the Oscars are truly about? Ratings?"
No Oscar given to those who guess the correct answer.
Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron: Oscar 2013
Ben Affleck, Jack Nicholson, George Clooney, Grant Heslov: Oscar 2013
Barbra Streisand performing a tribute to Marvin Hamlisch: Oscar 2013
Ben Affleck, Jack Nicholson, George Clooney, Grant Heslov photo: Matt Petit / ©A.M.P.A.S. Barbra Streisand, Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron, Daniel Radcliffe and Kristen Stewart photos: Michael Yada / © Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.