Friday, January 4, 2019

It's Time To Get Things Started - An Appeal to the Academy

The Academy still needs a host.

For those who have not been keeping up with the Academy's search, Vanity Fair ran an article yesterday on how the search for an Oscar host has so far yielded no results.  After Kevin Hart stepped down as the announced host on December 6, 2017, following the re-surfacing of his previous anti-gay/homophobic tweets and comments made during his standup-routines nearly 10 years ago, the Academy has scrambled to find other options.  Hart has recently appeared on Ellen Degeneres' talk show to apologize for the old material and discuss the fallout.  Ellen, for her part, offered a lengthy defense and said she called someone at the Academy to request that he be reinstated.  Despite Hart's appearance on the talk show, he has told others that he would not reaccept the position.  Ellen's support for Hart has sparked its own controversy.

According to the Vanity Fair article, this has left the Academy with no clear sense of who they want, but a definite sense of who they do not want.  The host should not be anyone "socially divisive," with a high enough profile whose appeal does not primarily attract older audiences, who is not strongly identified with another network (not ABC), and who is not already hosting another awards show this season.  That rules out a lot of previous hosts.

And while I always love to see Billy Crystal host (though at this point, he is probably in the "primarily attracts older audiences" camp, unfortunately), I want to throw out a more ... unique suggestion.

It's time to start the music.

It's time to light the lights.

It's time to get things started...

And let the Muppets host tonight.

It's time for the Muppets to host the Oscars.  They've presented.  They've been part of the show.  Let's let them host.

This is not the first time the idea has surfaced.  A Facebook group was started in 2012, which still has 33,000 followers.  Paste magazine has suggested it this year.  Even Forbes.

And it makes a bit of sense.  The Oscar ceremony is a bit of modern variety show.  Opening song montage and monologue, hosting duties, bad jokes.  These are all part of the Muppets' schtick.

The Muppets are definitely not "socially divisive."  They would be about as "safe" a choice as they could make.

They have a broader age appeal down to toddlers now with the new Muppet Babies cartoon on Disney Jr. and have a greater presence thanks to their successful live shows at the Hollywood Bowl and the O2.  In fact, it's these shows that convince me they would be able to successfully host.  One of the concerns was that the show would be largely improv by necessity.  I think the well-received live shows prove the Muppets can hold their own in that arena.  Plus, there is still great nostalgic affinity for the group.

 The Muppets are strongly tied with ABC as part of the Disney family and would represent a great deal of corporate synergy.  And they are definitely not hosting anything else right now.

There's really no reason not to do it.  It's not like the Oscar ratings of late have been stellar.  Last year's ceremony was the lowest-rated telecast ever.  Maybe injecting a little mayhem and making the ceremony fun, is just what they need.

So, come on Academy, let's make the 2019 the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational Academy Awards show possible!

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