In a yearly tradition—despite who actually wins the Oscars—the Oscar ceremony is a total bore. The worst of recent memory was probably 2012 (yes, even worse than this year, even with Neil Patrick Harris praying for jokes to land, and going out of his way to make all the token black actors who were invited feel like a part of the show). A 2012 refresher: Billy Crystal came in to replace Eddie Murphy because Murphy's producer—not even Murphy himself!—Brett Ratner said a gay slur at a screening. Ratner stepped down, and then Murphy kinda had to, too.
The Oscars were incredibly safe and stale with Crystal (no surprise). But like most boring things—it didn't have to be that way.
Will Ferrell revealed that he had a great pitch to the new non-gay-slurring producers. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Ferrell revealed that he had his manager call up Brian Grazer to pitch Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis as hosts, but the duo added a twist.
"We will host the Oscars if you do a campaign that you can't find an Oscars host up until the last second," Ferrell said of his idea. "It's going to be a surprise and we'll walk out on stage. The whole premise of our hosting was that we were asked at the last second. So we're always flustered. We don't know the jokes. We don't know where the cameras are. We do the entire show as if it's unrehearsed."
While that actually sounds funny on paper, it probably would've worked live as well because Ferrell and Galifianakis can actually improv—something song-and-dance guys like Crystal and Harris cannot do. Why did Grazer pass? Marketing. Ad spots.
They said, 'Ha ha ha, we think it's so funny, but no, we have to do promos.'" Ferrell said. "We said, 'Why do you have to do additional things?' We gave them gold and ... they've got to be willing to be unconventional."
You're fucking kidding right? Put a spotlight on an empty stage with a question mark. It's the stupid Oscars. People tune in regardless. And it's not like the kids are more likely to tune in if they know they're going to see grandpa's favorite song-and-dance man Billy Crystal sing about The Artist and The Tree of Life. The first ten minutes of the Oscars could've been huge for a year when a silent, black-and-white French film was winning all the Oscars (yeah, that's what cleaned up that year). And we're pretty sure that Ferrell and Galifianakis could've kept the audience beyond the initial mystery period.
The Oscars are trash.