Monday, February 27, 2012

Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill show the Academy how it's done

Every year that I morbidly watch the Oscars, I always wish someone would call out the things we're all thinking at home. It never happens, of course. The bland host makes a few "risque" shots at the other rich people in the room, much gafaw-ing, and more teleprompter reading.


Sorry, I nodded off.

To my amusement, I ended up watching the Independent Spirit Awards Feb. 25, hosted by Seth Rogen. And if the goal of the rich old white men running the Academy is to bring in young people, the Spirit Awards are a lesson in candid humor.

The high-quality laughs and shots at award season started with Rogen's relentless monologue, making Ricky Gervais look like Bob Hope. Rogen threw hard punches at most of Hollywood, landing almost all of them. Some of the best landed on Mel Gibson, Bret Ratner and Chris Brown who received the best punchline.

"At the Grammys," Rogen observed, "you can literally beat the shit out of a nominee and be asked to perform twice!"

Like it or not, that's good comedy. Good luck, Billy Crystal. Make sure your hearing aid and Depends are a go.

Even the banter of some of the presenters was more entertaining than recent Oscar hosts. Jonah Hill and Kirsten Dunst got great laughs when Jonah Hill nearly took out the microphone with the wave of a hand.

Also at the Spirit awards, you'll see some kudos to films whose titles haven't been heard 40,000 times in the last month. While "The Artist" did clean up Best Film, Best Male Lead, Best Director and Best Cinematography, other notables included Michelle Williams (Best Female Lead, "My Week With Marilyn"), Will Reiser (Best First Screenplay, "50/50") and Shailene Woodley (Best Supporting Female, "The Descendants").

So, Oscar producers? Looking for a way to pump some youth, humor and ratings into your show without watching James Franco and Anne Hathaway freeze the room? Class is in session.

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