Academy Panic: 'Not Even Hollywood Wants to Participate in Oscars'
If you thought you couldn't care less about tonight's Academy Awards you're not alone for many of Hollywood's top stars are refusing to participate in Sunday's festivities other than just being in the audience.
So wrote Deadline Hollywood Daily's Nikki Finke Saturday:
The people who put on the Academy Awards are in a flopsweat panic as the hours tick away before this year's big broadcast, which is having its major rehearsal and technical run-through today. For weeks now, they've been begging me and the other journalists who cover the Oscars not to trash the planning and performances for this year's telecast like we have in years past. Because their frustration and fear is that, if Sunday's top-to-bottom reworked show can't bring back viewers after 2008's sunk to its lowest ratings ever, then nothing will. And the worst part is that not even Hollywood wants to participate in the Oscars anymore.
I can report that this year's producers are privately complaining that the biggest movie stars in the world like Jack Nicholson, Nicole Kidman, Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, and Kate Winslet gave them reasons galore -- some serious, some trivial -- for why they didn't want to present awards, once considered a huge honor. (For instance, Kidman said she appear onstage without the "right" hairdresser. George Clooney wouldn't reschedule his current visit to Darfur refugee camps in Africa. And Winslet, the Best Actress shoo-in, claimed she was too "nervous" to take it on.) One of the few bigtime actresses who didn't balk was Reese Witherspoon. These behind-the-scenes embarrassments are one reason why the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences took the unprecedented step this year of failing to make public the list of Oscar presenters. There's even talk now of bringing back those official $100,000+ Oscar baskets of expensive freebies that used to be given to the show's presenters and performers (before Uncle Sam decided to tax the giveaways) as a way to bribe Hollywood into lending its star power.
Isn't that special?
Some of America's wealthiest stars have to be bribed to speak at an awards ceremony honoring their peers. Where's Barney Frank when you need a sanctimonious, self-serving, anti-capitalist rant?
But I digress, for the best was yet to come:
One new idea thought up by the producers that will be seen Sunday? Trophy boys. The result is that very handsome young men will now join very beautiful young women on stage carrying out the Oscar statuettes. If that's not an acknowledgement that viewership for the Academy Awards these days is limited to only females and gays, I don't know what is.
Neither do I...but I'm glad she said it!