Good Morning Oscar, December 1: Quest for Pizazz

It's apparently Neil Patrick Harris’ fault that the Academy hired hosts who aren't pizazzy enough

In this morning's roundup of Oscar news 'n' notes from around the web, it's apparently Neil Patrick Harris' fault that the Academy hired hosts who aren't pizazzy enough.

I missed this one yesterday when I was rounding up reactions to the selection of James Franco and Anne Hathaway as hosts for the 83rd Academy Awards. Jeff Wells: "Excuse me and due respect, but this is close to ridiculous. These guys would be great for hosting the MTV Awards, maybe, but they're not skilled or funny or pizazzy enough to handle the Oscars." (Hollywood Elsewhere)

Neil Patrick HarrisAnd here's an odd reaction: Joal Ryan says it's Neil Patrick Harris' fault. The logic: NPH did such a great job hosting the Emmys and Tonys and whatever else he hosted that he changed the game and raised the bar and meant that the Academy could no longer just hire a standup comic who had made some movies. They needed to look, apparently, for "showmanship." I like this prediction: "Hathaway'll probably sing; she'll probably dance; Franco'll probably take a college course in between numbers." But if you're gonna lay this booking at the feet of any previous hosts, you've got to look not to Harris, but to 2008 Oscar emcee Hugh Jackman, who made the Academy really, really  want movie stars up on that stage hosting. (E!Online) (Photo by Michael Yada/AMPAS)

Sasha Stone assembles her annual Oscar Roundtable, which is basically a bunch of pundits answering questions that she sends us. "All are deep thinkers," she says of the crew, which is no doubt giving us too much credit. The conversation ranges all over the Oscar map, and there's no real consensus; to the question of what one thing you would change about the Oscar race, for instance, answers include junking the Animated Feature category, overhauling the Foreign Language process, going back to five Best Picture nominees, shortening awards season, and outlawing "prognosticating about a movie you haven't seen." (Awards Daily)

At the Indie Spirit Awards nominations, says Tom O'Neil, "the biggest surprises were the snubs." Those snubs, he says, including Julianne Moore not getting a Best Actress nod for "The Kids Are All Right" (which he thinks reinforces his silly contention that she should campaign as a supporting actress), Ryan Gosling missing for "Blue Valentine," and Robert Duvall being overlooked for "Get Low." On the plus side, he thinks "Greenberg" and "Rabbit Hole" did better than expected. (Awards Tracker)

On the non-fiction side of things, AJ Schnack looks at the Spirit Awards' Best Documentary nominations, pointing out that "Exit Through the Gift Shop" was nominated on the heels of confusion over whether it was even eligible. (Films made by British directors, as "Exit" was, can be deemed ineligible in all but the Best Foreign Film category.) Schnack also looks at the Gotham Awards – where, he says, the Oscar curse lives. No doc has ever won the Gotham and the Oscar in the same year, and this year's Gotham winner, "The Oath," won't either: it didn’t even make the Oscar shortlist. (All These Wonderful Things)