Warm up your recliner and toss that flat popcorn bag in the microwave, friends, because once again it’s time for the Oscars.
I have to admit, I could just as easily skip the big show this year. I can’t imagine any awards show could top Brandi Carlile’s appearance at this year’s Grammy Awards; her impeccable, gut-wrenching yet glee-inducing performance of “The Joke” has ruined me for all other awards shows. If you haven’t seen it yet, crawl out from under your rock and Google it up.
But for me, not watching the Academy Awards would be like not watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s tradition. Even though I don’t recognize many of the participants, and drags on far too long, it’s still entertaining to watch all the big, bloated balloons and their handlers float their way down the street. You know, just like on Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
This year’s Oscars ceremony apparently is fated to air on February 24 without benefit of an emcee, following the big anti-gay kerfuffle caused by Kevin Hart, who had been tapped to run the show. In 2011, Hart made a “joke” on Twitter that basically said he would beat his son if he turned out to be gay. Classy. Oh sure, he apologized, sort of.
I applaud the Academy for its decision to disinvite Hart from the emcee’s podium. I question their decision to choose him in the first place. Call me an overly sensitive delicate flower, but I like comedians who don’t have to scream their jokes to land a punch line.
Or maybe it would have been better for the Academy to allow Hart to proceed with his assignment. Rather than the Academy doing a take-back of its original offer, perhaps it would have been more illustrative to let Hart do his thing, but then for so-inclined, LGBTQ-supportive audience members to stand and turn their backs each time he took to the stage. That would give him something the scream about.
Instead of the de rigueur habit of heaping the heavy emcee duties onto just one set of shoulders, there’s talk that that role will be carried out by multiple celebrities this year. While no names have been formally announced as yet, here are some candidates who would make memorable, LGBTQ-affirming (and admittedly L-centric) Oscar emcees.
Shirley MacLaine. She’s done everything, won everything and been here forever (reincarnation pun completely intended). MacLaine is the Grand Dame of show biz royalty who, at almost 85 years old, has a grand total zero f*cks to give and isn’t afraid to say so on a live mic. Plus, she wasn’t afraid to play a lesbian in 1961 in The Children’s Hour, which, all by itself, is a feat deserving of an award. Having her dish for more than three hours on the foibles of the film industry could be the performance of a lifetime.
Sarah Paulson and Holland Taylor. Devout What a World readers are well aware that I am mildly (OK, completely) obsessed with this May/December couple. And why shouldn’t I be? They’re smart, funny, sexy, adorable and — as if all those heady attributes weren’t enough — they are lesbians who have won buttloads of industry awards, themselves. The Oscars’ organizers have long longed for upping their appeal to a trans-generational audience. Helmed by this dynamic duo, that goal would be achieved with style and grace.
Cate Blanchett. 2019 is an odd year for so many reasons, not the least of which being because Blanchett didn’t receive an Oscar nomination. Her last nomination came in 2016 for her stunning portrayal of Carol in that equally stunning movie of the same the name. Let her return to the Oscar stage and sling that Australian accent around.
The Other Six Women featured in Ocean’s 8. In this time of national emergency, last year’s silly indulgence led by Sandra Bullock came as a welcome distraction with its wit, revenge and eye-popping eye candy. Anne Hathaway has experience after emceeing the ceremony in 2011, pulling co-emcee James Franco’s baked-up bacon out of the fire. With a little music from Rihanna, a little sass from Awkwafina, a little comedy from Mindy Kahling, and a little attitude from Helena Bonham Carter, all together this abundance of estrogen could easily tear up Oscars’ stage like nobody’s beeswax.
Whoopi Goldberg. Talk about experience. After winning the Best Actress in a Supporting Roll statue in way back in 1986 for her portrayal of the sweet-and-beat Celie Johnson in The Color Purple, Goldberg went on to host the Oscars no less than four times. And wouldn’t it be nice for a change to listen to Whoopi talk without being interrupted by Meghan McCain?