With Brett Ratner and Eddie Murphy now gone from the Oscar equation, producer Gilbert Cates* must be scratching his head and thumbing through his contacts list. Of course there is no shortage of people who could step in -- but none would make as much noise as the beloved Muppets. The @MuppetOscars campaign hit twitter earlier this year, but was silenced once Ratner and Murphy came on board. But today I (and several other excellent twitterers) decided that NOW was the perfect time to resurrect this concept. And here's why:
1. I know it sounds like an insane idea, but given how garish and stagnant the Academy Awards have become over the last several years, I daresay they could use a nice, strange infusion of class, creativity, and good old-fashioned FUN.
2. Statler and Waldorf on the red carpet, asking starlets "who they're wearing" and then cackling like two old hens. It'd be ten times funnier than whatever mannequin the E! Channel jams in front of the camera.
3. A chance to reunite The Muppets with some of their favorite co-stars from years past: Mel Brooks and Scooter presenting Best Screenplay; Miss Piggy and Carol Kane presenting Best Costumes; Michael Caine and Kermit presenting Best Picture. The possibilities are wonderfully endless.
4. Whenever a speech goes long, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem Band will play the chatterer off the stage with style and funk. (Hat tip, Jeremy Kirk.)
5. For the separate, geeky Technical Awards presentation? Janice, of course.
6. Legitimate entertainment! When was the last time the whole family gathered around for a bloated, overlong, and virtually merciless Oscar broadcast? The Muppets would bring the parents and the kids to the program, which may (gasp!) somehow lead to a deeper appreciation for The Muppets! (And movies in general.)
7. Best Song montage: Miss Piggy, Dr. Teeth, and Animal. Flawless.
8. Likeability! I hereby assert that The Muppets are more affable than Eddie Murphy. They can get a little subversive, obviously, but there's always a sense of respect and sweetness found in the Muppets' more satirical material.
9. This is the big break Fozzie has been praying for! Give a bear a break!
10. The Muppets and The Oscars *should* go together like peanut butter and jelly. One of the biggest (and most legitimate) complaints about the Oscars is that it's a giant tongue-bath for the world's prettiest people. We need some hosts who can deflate the pomposity of the event -- without being cruel or classless. Since the first episode of The Muppet Show, these brilliant creatures have done a great job of delivering warm, weird comedy without ever pandering to their audience. That sort of talent deserves a big stage -- and man oh man could the Academy Awards use a nice, healthy shot of positive publicity.
For a whole lot more on this effort, which should be taken seriously by "the Academy," please refer to A) Kris Tapley's In Contention piece, B) Den of Geek's own plea for support (from the UK!), C) the Muppet Oscars facebook page, D) @muppetoscars on the twitter, and E) my own twitter feed, which has been rambling about this idea all freaking day. Spread the word! Thanks!
(* My sincere apologies. Longtime Academy Award producer Gilbert Cates passed away last week!)