Are the Oscars getting desperate? In yet another effort to appeal to the younger generation — hopefully one that will go over better than the Anne Hathaway-James Franco fiasco — the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has now teamed up with mtvU to host a contest that gives college students the chance to appear onstage at the telecast.
This year's host, Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy fame, launched the Oscar Experience College Search this week. According to Anthony Breznican of Entertainment Weekly, "you get to go up onstage and help me hand out some Oscars." The Facebook page for the contest is a little less enthusiastic, saying that if you win, you only get to "deliver Oscar statues to this year’s celebrity presenters during the show." But still! What, were they going to get in on the song-and-dance routine on the cold open? Anyway, to enter, students are required to fill out a form that asks questions like "What is your favorite Oscar category and why?" — hypothetical answer: best Actress because Meryl Streep — and submit a video of themselves answering the question "How will you contribute to the future of movies?" — hypothetical answer: by getting in on the song-and-dance routine on the cold open.
The crucial young-person vote has eluded the Academy Awards for pretty much ever. The last ceremony "fell far short of that show in terms of reaching the young adult viewers most prized by advertisers," Bill Carter of the New York Times wrote. We're not totally sure that a contest like this will help raise the ratings, but it does sort of make the Academy's big night seem like a looser and more fun (all with scare quotes) enterprise that's not afraid to open its doors to the less-than-elite.