How to Improve the Oscar Ceremony

I'm writing this right before the Academy Awards begin and I'm looking forward to a production that celebrates show business and hopefully has more than a few memorable moments.  Some people tune in for the fashion, others to see who wins (let's see if my toddler has correctly picked the big winners through her random pointing method), others to stargaze at all the celebrities, and still others to see what happens during the live broadcast.  Many criticize the annual Hollywood extravaganza as being too long and too boring.  Here are a few ways I think the show could be better.

First, implement my suggestions from last year and add some cooler categories.  Yeah, the sound mixers need their moment in the sun, and I'm not suggesting we mimic the MTV Movie Awards with silly topics like Best Kiss or Best Villain, but my ideas of having an award for Best Casting and Best Stunt/Action Sequence are worth considering.

Second, the Oscars are an award show honoring film, not theater or television or the music industry, so you would think the Academy could find ways to creatively focus on cinema.  The singing and dancing numbers can be fun when done right, but they should limit the live productions and offer more video segments.  Keep the stage work to the award presentations and the acceptance speeches, and hire talented young artists with a cinematic vision to produce the Awards show. 

Third, respect the history of Hollywood while embracing the youthful audience that the industry craves.  Find ways to match up older movie legends with today's hot new stars.  Bring back some of the classic actors, actresses, directors, screenwriters, cinematographers, etc., and have them side by side with the "it" kids who might someday be legends of their own.

Finally, I know that the Academy frowns upon using the Oscars to promote upcoming films, but it's a shame that they do not capitalize on the built-in audience of movie lovers that tune in to the Awards.  The international viewership is enormous, and they love movies, so why not hype upcoming films that they can watch in theaters during the coming year?  The Academy Awards are commercial as it is. I'm sure the integrity of the voting process could be maintained even if a few trailers or montages are shown during the commercial breaks of the evening. 

Any other suggestions?  Let's hear them.

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