The Oscars are a mess. And the problem is not the host. It doesn't really matter which movie star or stand-up comic or pundit decides to host the extravaganza/train wreck every year. It's the show itself that stinks.
I have the solution, fortunately. The solution does not exist in making the show shorter (or, heaven forbid, somehow longer). We need new and different categories.
The excitement of the evening every year lies in the acting awards. And yet, there are only four of them. Why doesn't the Academy add a plethora of acting awards, then?
Here are some ideas that could make the show more watchable and enjoyable — and my plan would also boost the ratings! A win-win-win, everyone benefits including Hollywood, the TV viewers, and the network showing the awards broadcast.
1. Best newcomer: In earlier years, you might have had Al Pacino taking home a statue for "Panic in Needle Park" or Dustin Hoffman for "The Graduate" or any of the Beatles in "A Hard Day's Night." You get the idea — award a relatively unknown actor who appears to have a bright future.
2. Best Ensemble Cast: This year, "The Help" could have gotten its proper reward for a job very well done. In past years, any number of highly popular movies, which didn't get the Best Picture award, could have walked away with some degree of recognition.
3. Best Love Scene: This category would turn the heat up. Perhaps people think this would lower the tone of the stately show — and that is precisely the idea here. The show has grown overly pompous and dull. It's so predictable and boring. Why not try to spice things up and make the show fun and slightly more informal.
4. Retrospective: We can look back and honor a terrific movie from 10 or 20 or 30 or 40 years ago. Again, this would make the show more appealing for both movie-philes and ordinary fans who appreciate the history of the film industry and enjoy the nostalgia of a bygone movie.
5. Best line: Hollywood should give credit to the most memorable spoken moment of the year. Remember Robert DeNiro asking himself, "You talkin' to me?" Or Marlon Brando declaring, "I'll make him an offer he can't refuse" or Al Pacino shouting, "Attica!"
Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column.
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