The Academy Awards Go Disney

We’re not sure if you realize this, but the Oscars are this Sunday! We’d say they snuck up on us, but since the awards season is now longer than a pregnancy, we’d be lying to you if we did. The Hugh Jackman-hosted 81st annual Academy Awards were supposed to be cloaked in secrecy, but fortunately for us, producers Bill Condon and Laurence Mark are leaking information out faster than Scooter Libby and Dick Cheney used to do in their heyday. And if you’re a 14-year-old girl, prepare to get excited! E! Online is reporting that Beyonce, High School Musical stars Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens (who are totally in love!), and Mamma Mia! co-stars Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper are all scheduled to appear and perform, despite the fact that none of their movies were nominated for… well, anything. Additionally, Mr. Efron joins Twilight’s Robert Pattinson as a presenter, meaning for the first time in Oscar history, at least two winners will be getting their awards from people who have previously appeared on the cover of Tiger Beat.

This news, combined with the reports that Queen Latifah will be singing during the In Memoriam segment, and, new mom M.I.A. might perform on stage while in a bed, have us wondering: what the hell is going on here? We know the Academy Awards are in a tough bind, increasingly becoming a niche broadcast–instead of Hollywood’s version of the Super Bowl, the Oscars now play more like Hollywood’s own NBA All-Star Game–but do they have to seem so desperate? If Messrs. Condon and Mark think that throwing a bunch of pretty looking teens and Top-40 stars onto the stage will get a younger demographic to watch the show, they are just completely lost. Lest we forget, does everyone remember what movies got nominated this year? The Reader. Milk. Frost/Nixon. Combined those three films haven’t even grossed as much as Twilight did during its opening weekend. Even Slumdog Millionaire hasn’t attacked the zeitgeist; Juno, it is not. People, both young and old, aren’t going to watch the Oscars this year because they simply don’t really care about any of the movies that were nominated. And to paraphrase a slogan that we heard ad infinitum during the presidential election: it’s the movies, stupid.

Of course, there was one simple way to get more viewers to watch this year: The Dark Knight. Nominating the biggest movie since Titanic would have been like having fifty Zac Efron’s on stage at the same time covering a Jonas Brothers song. Not that we’re bitter… The Academy Awards Go Disney