The 2005 Oscar Awards are creating quite the stir and this time it isn’t because Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is about to take 11 for 11 Oscars, but because the awards are not exactly as clear cut as they were a year ago, not to mention Chris Rock is hosting leaving the generation of Billy Crystal, Steve Martin and Whoopi Goldberg behind, and a little worried it seems.
Oscar show producer Gil Cates has gone on record saying that the show will be presented in a much more unconventional way, and not to grab ratings but simply to make a better show. What does this mean? Well, for some categories all the contenders will be brought up on stage, other awards will be handed out in the aisle.
Not to grab ratings I think is a stretch of the truth as the show reached 43.5 million viewers in the United States last year, which was about 12 million short of the reported figure for 1998 when Titanic took home 11 awards.
Cates has said he hopes the addition of Chris Rock will bring in younger viewers, but there are skeptics, which think the show will continue on the decline considering there is a large lack of blockbuster films nominated for major awards, unlike last year when geekdom hit a crescendo with the sweep Return of the King accomplished.
As for the Rock factor, Cates was quoted after the announcement of Chris Rock as the host for the Oscar telecast saying, “I am a huge fan of Chris Rock… He always makes me laugh and he always has something interesting to say. Chris represents the best of the new generation of comics. Having him host the Oscars is terrific. I can’t wait.”
Simply having Rock as the host has generated some controversy, it was even reported by Matt Drudge on his Drudge Report website in an article titled “HOST CHRIS ROCK SHOCK: ONLY GAYS WATCH OSCARS” that certain unnamed members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had expressed outrage at some Oscar-bashing comments by Rock in an Entertainment Weekly interview. One member is quoted in Drudge’s article saying, “This guy is out there saying ‘awards for art are f—ing idiotic’ and he is hosting the show produced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences? I guess the joke is on us!”
Apparently Rock’s comments in the EW interview went on to say, “Come on, it’s a fashion show… What straight black man sits there and watches the Oscars? Show me one. And they don’t recognize comedy, and you don’t see a lot of black people nominated, so why should I watch it?”
Well, now don’t I feel all warm and fuzzy? Actually I couldn’t care less, the Oscars are a sort of fashion show, but as a movie news reporter I find them intriguing and I enjoy the hoopla just as much, if not more than anyone else. Oh yeah, and Chris Rock is easily one of the greatest comics alive, so more power to him.
The Rock controversy didn’t stop there however, and Cates didn’t stop his comments, as the subject of the seven-second delay for the telecast on ABC. Cates was quoted as calling it a “terrible idea” and a concession to political correctness.
Cates went on to say, “I’m very happy I’m not the person who has to push that button and decide the difference between something that may be out of step in terms of what the culture thinks is appropriate and something that’s political… My feeling is it’s a terrible idea but it’s ABC’s network.”
If history has told us anything the concern over obscene remarks is just a way of brining in the ratings. While Rock is known to hold nothing back, he is not a fool and chances are he won’t be tossing out any f-bombs on stage, even though some high profile actors may find their names dragged through the proverbial mud and I don’t think it will be limited to J-Lo butt jokes this time.
Ultimately the show comes down to the awards and if you haven’t boned up on who is competing you can check out the list of nominees here. As for predictions we have up six prediction articles which cover Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress and Director starting right here.
You want a to satisfy your photo fix? Then why not check out our Oscar Gallery from the 2004 Oscars and stay tuned for a full gallery from 2005 once the show is over.
And finally if you need to bone up on your Oscar history then this is the place for you as we give you the ability to travel WAY back in time to the very first Oscar presentations in 1929 in which a little film called Wings won the Oscar for Best Picture. Get your history fix starting right here, and stay tuned as we will be updating the 2005 Oscar Winners page as the awards are announced, until then… Enjoy!