Monday, January 17, 2011

How to be a good award show host

Movie stars don't need validation. Validation is a beautiful thing when one receives it, but it becomes a non-issue when you make millions of dollars a year. With that being said, there is a whole market for award shows. It's perfectly fine to follow award shows and become sucked into the award spirit. At the same time award shows can be seen as masturbatory galas, where the rich and famous come together choosing winners out of arbitrarily chosen nominees. The award show concept is not for us viewers though. We only get a glimpse of that world during that prime-time window.


It's your childhood trophy ceremony, only instead of you and your teammates in cleats and uniforms it's people you will never meet wearing clothes you will never wear. The whole ceremony is as fake as the tans of the people that walk the red carpet. I never saw the reason to obsess over the red carpet and the people that walk it. Why devote hours of discussion over someone's dress? Then again I never saw the point of tabloids like Entertainment Tonight either.

God I hate these shows.

The only saving grace for these award shows is the host. Usually some popular comedian at the time or a late-night talk show host, these masters of ceremony are depended on for keeping our attention until they reveal the best actor award. After every poorly-scripted presenter reveals the winner, it's the hosts job to keep you watching and segueing into the next Bruce Vilanch joke to come out of a dim actresses mouth.

Bruce Vilanch, the man responsible for everything said on stage.

With all the counterfeit pomp and circumstance, you need somebody there that gets it. Somebody there that is self-aware of all the smugness packed on one tiny dais. That's what makes a host good or not in my book. A host that doesn't let the artists and stars sit idle. Stars make millions of dollars and are now being given awards for these achievements that they're already being awarded for by a paycheck. In this way the very best hosts must cut the icons down to size with the only thing legally allowed: quips. Just how in Roman times, a man would whisper in a victorious general's ear that he is still only mortal, the host uses his microphone to remind the glorified line readers that they too are normal people.

Ricky Gervais is up on stage hosting the awards, not for the stars benefit, but for the audience's benefit. Gervais is up there shouting memento mori to a whole theater of tuxes and gowns so that we may see that this pantheon of award-winning artist are one of us. A good award host shouldn't make the audience in front of him comfortable. His performance is for the audience at home who have no say in that insulated world. The fawning that is inherent in award shows can only be balanced by the wit of a comedian.

Pictured: a man who gets it.

As much as a I wish that comedians like Gervais are hosts for all the awards, producers decide to go the easy route most the time. They don't want an opening monologue that makes people squirm in their reserved theater seats. They want the easy Jay Leno jokes that are new only to your grandmother. Only very rarely do you have a host like Billy Crystal who appeals to everybody. Usually it's the producers choice between a real comedian or an empty suit to introduce the next presenter.

With so may award shows out there, the awards themselves are basically meaningless at this point. Yes, the Academy Awards do hold credence, however who remembers the Golden Globe winners a few years later? With so many awards and opinions out there, the host is being relied on more and more to keep the same song and dance interesting. That is why a perfect host is the whole Friars Club rolled into one. Actors inherently have thin skin and are sensitive, this is true. But when they have a whole night dedicated to themselves, the least they can do is put up with some jabs at their ego. I'm sure their ego can handle it.

4 comments:

  1. Apparently my comment last night didnt post. I'm Malcolm, Romina's boyfriend, and she sent me this link. I was going to do a blog about awards next actually, so I guess I should change mine haha. Good looks and check out my blog if you wish

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  3. Did I do the topic justice you think? And I'll defiantly check yours out

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