Oscars 2019 telecast axes four categories: What The Academy can learn from Bollywood award functions

Karishma Upadhyay

Feb 15, 2019 15:47:14 IST

Congratulations are in order to the Academy Awards! Hollywood has finally seen the light, or rather turned the lights on all of us for what we obviously don’t want to see.

Who, after all, wants to know about things like editing and cinematography? Isn’t editing something that people at magazines do? What’s it doing as a category in the world’s biggest award show for cinema? Forget relegating it to the commercial breaks, scrap it completely. And just because cinematography has the word ‘cinema’ in it doesn’t make it legit. It might be better to replace this award with “Best cinemagoer” and do a Twitter poll instead. What’s life without a Twitter poll these days?

The good news is that the Academy has finally taken a leaf out of Bollywood’s award function playbook, and one sincerely hopes that they don’t stop at just taking leaves.

Appropriate the entire forest, we say. A right step in that direction would be completely axing make-up and hairstyling too, as a category. Instead of pushing it to the breaks, completely break away and institute a new award category called the Academy Glamour and Style Awards, and get it sponsored by someone trying to market chai lattes in Tallahassee. It’s what we do best, they could learn from us.

Oscars 2019 telecast axes four categories: What The Academy can learn from Bollywood award functions

The Oscars selfie that broke the internet.

Think of the possibilities when it comes to instituting real and meaningful award categories like ‘Hotstepper of the Year’ and ‘Trailblazer of Fashion.’

This insistence on telecasting the event live also needs to go. It doesn’t make for good television. Think of the advantages. You could shoot the entire thing a month in advance, and then cut teasers to put on television. Advertisers who are on the fence can see what they’re paying for, and pick what they want to sponsor; toothpaste brands for every smile, shampoo brands for every flick of the hair and mixer-grinder brands for every dance move, and so on and so forth. It’s just more moolah for the television channel, which means higher rates for the rights in future. We’ve got this one down to a T.

Shooting a three-hour program over seven hours also means your A-listers could arrive whenever they like, stick around for a few pictures, pick up their awards and leave. Think of it as separating your first class passengers from cattle class, and rewarding them for who they are. It’s like an award on top of an award; dare we say the Inception of Awards?

The challenge then is to really juice what you can from those A-listers who do attend, and get them to deliver a dozen dance performances. The answer to cracking this one is simple, and something Bollywood has mastered decades ago. Hollywood’s blueprint needs to change—drastically reduce the number of award categories that you know won’t end up in the hands of A-listers, and increase the number that would. Essentially, have an award for all the A-listers that attend, it’s only fair.

We have this super ancient, top-secret code in India that goes, “Atithi Devo Bhava” which some guy on Quora helpfully explains as “Gods come to one's home as disguised as a saint (sic).” And if these gods attend your event, you can’t send them back without a return gift, can you? This opens up the need for the Academy to institute new award categories, and this is where India is the shiznit! We’ve got categories like:

Unstoppable Beauty

Charismatic Beauty

Emerging Beauty

Power-packed Beauty

Basically one for each of the A-listers who agrees to give us a dance performance. And if mummy comes along and is an actor-turned-politician, we also have an Ageless Beauty award.

Opening up Bollywood’s playbook to the Academy, however, isn’t complete without mentioning how we keep it fresh year-after-year-after-year.

It’s our deep Indian mysticism that comes into play here, with new categories like the “I Am More Than You Can See” award that was handed to Kareena Kapoor Khan a year and some ago.

If this isn’t good, wholesome family entertainment for television, we really don’t know what is. Dear Hollywood, this is what televising stuff is all about, trust us on this one.

Updated Date: Feb 15, 2019 17:33:10 IST