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Do The Oscars Even Matter?

The buzz this morning - many are asking if last night’s 83rd Oscar telecast was the worst ever.

Perhaps more importantly, with the majority of Academy voters over the age of 50, do the Oscars even matter to the all-important 18-49 demographic?   The King’s Speech overcame The Social Network, afilm arguably more relevant to a younger demo.  (ABC wrote an interesting analysis of why The King’s Speech dominated.)

The King’s Speech was the audience favorite safe choice, but not the forward thinking choice.

Randy Newman’s uninspired We Belong Together from Toy Story 3 won for original song.  The win was another geezer selection.  The Academy overlooked If I Rise by Dido & A. R. Rahman, gorgeously rendered by Florence Welch (Florence and The Machine).

My friends (lmost all in the left coast geezer class, btw) were perplexed by the Randy Newman selection, although everyone felt the Academy redeemed themselves by awarding Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross the Oscar for original score for The Social Network.

The 83rd Oscars also felt a bit heavy on the rude this year.

Although not unexpected, the producers used the orchestra to bestow acceptance speech time favors on stars.  They slammed best adapted screenplay winner Aaron Sorkin (for The Social Network) who delivered his speech over the swelling strains of the music.

For a terrific graph of speeches and orchestral meddling go here to

In accepting the Oscar for documentary feature, The Inside Job -  which chronicles the 2008 financial meltdown and Wall Street greed - Charles Ferguson still had something more to say:  “Forgive me, I must start by pointing out that three years after a horrific financial crisis caused by fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail — and that’s wrong.”

But he too was unceremoniously slashed by the orchestra after about a minute.

There were a few lovely, inspired moments, some of which ironically came from the courageous geezers.  A flirtatious 94 year-old Kirk Douglas basked in what might be his last moment in the sun.  The producers did have the good grace not to cut him off with the orchestra.  73-year old David Seidler, a child stutterer, faced the microphone to accept his Oscar for original screenplay for The King’s Speech.

Otherwise the telecast flatlined.  The winners had been pre-coronated.  The show lacked dramatic tension.

Then there was The King’s Speech acceptance speech mini-scandal.  The winners were interrupted by the orchestra after about one minute thirty in order to cut to the concluding number of Somewhere Over The Rainbow sung by kids in green and blue t-shirts.

Perhaps the most curious choice of the evening was a what-were-they-thinking montage of the ten nominated films for best picture.  On one level the scenes stitched from all ten nominees set to the audio of The King’s Speech was a brilliant piece of editing.  On the other hand, it was poor taste to favor one film over the others.

I might have given up on the 83rd Oscar telecast, except for Twitter.  Following the clever observations and occasional snark rescued what would’ve been a very long evening.

UPDATE: ratings are in, and it’s not good.  Audiences bailed.