The Academy announced last night that they are bringing back Neil Meron and Craig Zadan to produce next year's Oscars. Yes, the men who brought us the unnecessary show tune interlude, Seth MacFarlane's offensive jokes, and, sigh, Kristin Chenoweth's presence are back for a second go-around. There's a reason they were invited back, of course: ratings. On that front, this year's ceremony was a success for the awards.
The ceremony also wasn't all bad, and at least one of the good parts is returning: Zadan and Meron's Oscar Experience College Search, which brought amazing film students to the ceremony.
Alas, a lot of it made us groan. So, if we must have these guys back, here are some suggestions for their second go-around.
Pick a Host That People Will Want to Watch for the Right Reasons
There likely is a correlation to Seth MacFarlane's hosting gig and the ratings success. MacFarlane was from the beginning a WTF choice, and people tuned in to watch to see just how far he would go. (And he did go farther than many would have wanted.) It's unlikely that MacFarlane will return next year, as he has realized that this is ultimately a thankless job—unless, you are Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. Zadan and Meron have defended MacFarlane, but that doesn't mean they need to go the same direction next year. There are celebrities that will intrigue the viewing public as hosts but won't go for quite so many low blows. (Or, well, high blows—see: the "boob song.")
Michael Schneider of TV Guide predicted on Twitter last night that Zadan and Meron will go for Queen Latifah as host. She can sing and dance, but isn't so controversial. It's an interesting choice, but we fear it's not quite flashy or buzz enough. There's been Justin Timberlake speculation, which we think is actually a pretty good idea. And it could be Jimmy Kimmel, who is a reliable, if a little boring, choice.
Then again, are we sure Amy and Tina wouldn't want to do it? Sure?
Think Outside Your Comfort Zone
The Zadan and Meron Oscars this year were very Zadan and Meron-y if you look at their credits. They hewed close to what they know: musical theater. They even brought on Chenoweth, who starred in their Broadway Promises, Promises revival, to sing a nasty closing song about the losers for some reason. Sure, the Les Misérables nominations, helped justify that, but next year's slate of films doesn't really suggest that any musical tribute would be warranted.
Don't get us wrong, we love musicals, but bringing back Catherine Zeta-Jones to lip-synch her way through "All That Jazz" seemed to do more to honor the careers of Zadan and Meron who produced Chicago than actually honor the history of the movies. Next year we hope Zadan and Meron, knowing that it isn't their one and only try, promote themselves a little less. Please, no mention of what is sure to be at that point the dearly departed Smash.
Related to both issues mentioned above was the shows interminable length. MacFarlane's opening monologue went on forever. The musical numbers went on forever. The show went on forever. And just when you thought it wasn't going to go on forever, it did when Zadan and Meron decided that the show needed another number after the awards were handed out.
There were easy ways to make this thing shorter, and yet Zadan and Meron seemed to want to hold on to the show for as long as possible. Next year, let go, you guys.
All photos by AP