Monday, February 28, 2011

A MEMO FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE ACADEMY: Congratulations on being selected to host the Oscars. Just wanted to go over the ground rules with you:

For men hosting the Oscars:
  • Most important rule: be funny
  • But don't forget whose party this is, so no jokes that might be interpreted as being directed toward or inspired by anybody in the audience or any friends of people in the audience
  • This includes any jokes about alcoholism, drug addiction, anti-semitism, prostitutes, infidelity, promiscuity, divorce, poor parenting skills, greed, vanity, intelligence, temper, talent, has-been-ism, or made-up religions
  • Also, don't forget that this is a television show designed to appeal to the widest possible potential audience
  • So no jokes about sex, politics, other religions, or world events
  • Try to focus on jokes that would make your granddad laugh
  • Pretend your granddad was a Catskills comedian
  • But less racist
  • For example, dressing up like a lady is never not funny
  • Because the gays are funny
  • But don't say anything about the gays
  • Also maybe something about how old-timey baseball films are all sped-up
  • Exactly like Billy Crystal except with the kind of sex appeal that will get the teens to watch is what I'm saying
  • And just be yourself
For women hosting the Oscars:
  • Smile
  • Diet
  • Wear a bunch of dresses
  • Don't slap anybody who cops a feel
That's it. Enjoy! Also, if you violate these rules you'll be blackballed.


Tom Sherak
President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences


  1. isaac_spaceman12:21 PM

    In other words, don't blame James Franco. 

  2. Meghan12:28 PM

    I've said it a million times now: they were set up to fail.  Both of them.

    And, since we're talking about expectations, I'd add, "Be funny like a man, only with cleavage," for the female host.

  3. Paul Tabachneck12:34 PM

    I didn't see the last hour (I was in some unsavory company and had to bounce), but I thought there was some pretty hilarious stuff.  The two of them were nervous and stiff, but her "On My Own" was, I thought, pretty fun, and Robert Downey Jr. v. Jude Law was awesome.  I would watch that movie allll day.

    I was rooting hard for "Toy Story 3" for best picture, but I guess it was too much to ask. Since I haven't seen King's Speech, I'm not qualified to speak to its merit, but I'll see it soon, I'm sure.

    But hey! Can I get a Hell Yes for Randy Newman?

  4. I can blame him for seeming disengaged and unenergetic during material which nonetheless required him to be lame.  

    Also, all religions are made-up, except for mine which is the true one.

  5. isaac_spaceman12:46 PM

    Not for that song, you can't.  And I say that as a person who loves Randy Newman and treasures "Good Old Boys" as one of his favorite albums. 

  6. Joseph J. Finn1:05 PM

    Sosume, but I was enjoying Anne Hathaway a lot.  I'm not understanding all the bile towards her this morning in various news reports.

  7. Joseph J. Finn1:06 PM

    For both last night and for the song, that would be a big Hell No.

  8. Wouldn't "don't show up stoned" make that list?  I enjoyed Gawker's rundown of the various euphemisms used to describe Franco's demeanor last night.  "Mellow" was my favorite.!5771998/was-james-franco-stoned-when-he-hosted-the-oscars

  9. Tosy and Cosh1:11 PM

    For the song? No. For his speech? Hell, yes. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

  10. Aimee1:15 PM

    I thought Anne Hathaway did pretty well -- not great, but she looked spectacular and I really enjoyed "On My Own."  James Franco did seem stoned, but he always does so I'm not sure if that means he always is, or if that's just his natural demeanor. 

    Overall, I think it tends to work better with a single host.  Banter like that on stage ALWAYS feels forced over a long period - when it's just for a minute, like with RDJ and Jude Law, it can be great, but over the course of an entire evening it feels canned.

  11. StvMg1:19 PM

    I agree with Sepinwall's take, which was pretty much that Hathaway overcompensated in her attempt to make up for Franco's utter lack of energy.

  12. In Franco's defense, he also wrote two term papers and a short story during the commercial breaks, so he was somewhat distracted.

  13. Paul Tabachneck1:22 PM

    I agree that it's not his best, but his best haven't won the award, so I'm considering it an apology.

  14. Joseph J. Finn1:25 PM

    Oh, sorry, the speech was lovely.  My hell no was completely song-oriented and Mr. Newman's speech was a big Hell Yes.

  15. Joseph J. Finn1:26 PM

    I have to give him props for the "Go NYU!" moment, which was slightly surreal.

  16. Anonymous1:43 PM

    He was also directing the show, ushering people to their seats and selling refreshments in the back, so he was a little distracted.

  17. mikeski2:57 PM

    It's not a "childrens' movie".

  18. Eric J.3:21 PM

    To be fair, he was also selling weed and trying to convince his customers to hang out and play some "Marvel vs. Capcom 3," so he was kind of distracted.

  19. Raoul3:43 PM

    But the gays are funny

  20. NYMag: "(Franco) left Hathaway hanging in the wind, exposed as a Rachel Berry in front of 100 million people."

  21. Maddy7:08 PM

    <p>For what it's worth, I was watching with a bunch of people in my dorm and we all loved it, in large part due to James Franco and Anne Hathaway.  One of my friends even declared it her favorite Oscars ever.  So maybe we're a bunch of whippersnappers with no taste and maybe also the appealing to the younger demographic thing worked?

  22. Yes.  "Political Science" and "You Can Leave Your Hat On" by themselves excuse any number of Pixar throwaways.

  23. Anonymous12:51 PM


  24. Jim Bell11:29 AM

    Can you elaborate...