Sunday, February 21, 2010

Who Wants to Host the Academy Awards

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There’s no doubt about it. The Academy Awards is one of the most prestigious and most awaited awards ceremonies in the film industry. Movie buffs take some time off from work to watch the presentation live.

There are even those individuals who love throwing Oscar parties come February. With all the eyes and ears tuned in this show, who would not make a deal with the devil to become the host of the evening? It will be an honor, a highlight of career, and a stepping stone to more TV and movie offers. Or so you think.

Insiders look at hosting the Academy Awards as the “most thankless job” in Hollywood. If you are not convinced then let us count the ways.

Critics don’t love award shows. Most of the time, they find the results unfounded or bias. They ditch the fashion on the red carpet. They say something negative about the stage design. If all goes well, they turn to the host. They are going to highlight every wrong pronunciation, every dry joke, and every mismatched outfit. There’ s simply no getting around these people.

People have their eyes on the rating of the show every year. If this year’s Academy Awards only have 38 million viewers compared to last year’s 55 million, the first one to blame is the host. Never mind that he did a good job and that he was engaging enough to keep the smiles on the faces of the audience. If the rating is lower than the previous year, he must have done something wrong.

Being the Master of Ceremonies does not only require a complete set of wardrobe, with glittering jewelries and perfectly made-up face. You have to have some tricks up your sleeves. Notice how the hosts of the Oscars are likely to be comedians. The people of Hollywood are anxious for the results. They can’t wait to hear the verdict.

They want to get it over with as soon as possible. Despite their beautiful gowns and tuxedos and calm faces, there are Godzillas jumping in their stomachs. How can a person coax a laugh from a tough crowd? Now that’s the challenge.

On the other hand, you are selected as the host of the awards night and not a stand-up comedian. There are other ways to keep the audience engaged and it is up to you to find those ways. You can’t get help from the audience or production staff, they have their own worries.

If you manage to please the critics, get a high rating, and make the Hollywood crowd cry in laughter, the pay is not even a fraction of what you normally earn given you are one of the best comedians in the industry. It will be around $15,000 on top of the expenses. For David Letterman, the amount is incomparable to his net income.

So if hosting the Academy Awards is a Herculean task, to say the least, with an unjust compensation, who would want to take the job? Maybe, it’s simply out of respect to the Oscars that’s why there are Hollywood personalities who still accept the most thankless job. Or maybe a gun in the head or the person is plainly a masochist.

Summer Lyndon

The author is a contributor of Academy Awards

If you want to be an insider of the Academy Awards, visit the website and be on familiar terms with Oscar.

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