Folks, I’ve been away all week building The Wrap News, now playing catch-up on the actual news. From what I hear, the financial markets are a mess. Billions on the line for the banks, credit impossible to get for the average business, new banks about to crumble. Something about McCain, and a debate.
Never fear: the Oscars are coming! The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has announced that the team that brought you "DreamGirls" — producer Laurence Mark and writer-director Bill Condon — will be in charge of this year’s show, in February.
Does this mean a musical production? Back to the days of the "best song" interpreted in dance moves? Clearly, Academy director Sid Ganis is looking for fresh ideas for a telecast that, like most award shows, has been losing audience. This year’s Oscars attracted the lowest audience since ratings began to be tallied in 1974; it was seen by about 32 million viewers.
The question is — can anything that Mark and Condon do make a difference? The biggest problem, year after year, has been the movies themselves. This year was an audience killer, with the subtlely-themed, brutally violent "No Country For Old Men" dominating the awards. (Its rival, "There Will Be Blood," was not exactly cheery, mainstream entertainment either.)
Unfortunately for the producers, this year’s early Oscar buzz does not point to any particular production as raising the glamour quotient of our one annual national event that is supposed to be all about glamour. "Milk"? "Choke"? "Zach and Miri Make a Porno"?
The gifted Mark Condon and cheery Laurence Mark will certainly give it their best shot. But I think you can pretty much rule out Jon Stewart as a host.