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    No More Written Award Acceptance Speeches Ever!

    By Jan Wahl–

    The practice of writing out an acceptance speech for an awards show should not be allowed, period. The trend only gained steam a few years ago and it drives me, and some of you, crazy. Watching winners pull out a list of agents, friends … whoever and go through it is a cop out and is incredibly boring for many viewers. To winners I say: Speak from your heart and then get the hell off the stage.

    We saw from the cold and disconnected Golden Globes that awards shows that do not bother with pithy writing, production values, and imagination die a slow death. Even a bad host can disguise flaws with a few well-written comments, or can sing or dance their way through an intro. Having absolutely no visual “bumps” in and out of commercials and showing a bare stage remind us that the producers left out the show in showbiz. But the biggest sin of all for this particular show was that the creators demonstrated no love whatsoever for the business of movies and television. They presented a near-empty stage with the world watching.

    Conversely, and ironically, the Emmy’s had it all: creative ideas, a nostalgic appreciation of classic television, and production values that kept the show moving. Here’s hoping that the Academy Awards’ production staff is taking notes. 

    Hopefully the Grammy’s can up their present game, too. One year I was a network stage manager for the Grammy’s. Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Tormé did amazing scat singing; Paul Simon and a band of incredible South African artists slayed with their memorable performance. These are just a few of the many iconic moments from the Grammy’s. Why not now give us some musical thrills from the past, whether mixed in with the upcoming Grammy broadcast or even in a separate show?

    From Streisand’s “Hello, Gorgeous” to David Niven and the streaker, from Clint Eastwood forced to go on for Charlton Heston to Madonna’s “Sooner or Later,” there are also Oscar moments so many of us will never forget. First televised in 1953, the Academy Awards has resulted in many wonderful moments to pull from. The Academy Library is well organized, so the producers should have no trouble selecting the best or most surprising moments from years past. A credo that they would do well to remember is that showbiz builds on itself and it is something to celebrate.

    Thinking of nostalgia, I miss Joan Rivers and the Fashion Police! The gowns and other attire tend to be fabulous or weird, and I so enjoy them being discussed and described. In the right tone and context, throwing shade can be fun and stimulating. People for the Oscars have been dressing up beautifully, big and bold … and strange. Hopefully reporting on such fashions will return. I vote for Laverne Cox leading a show with experts! And do not leave out the jewelry.

    I will be hosting an Oscars event at The Academy SF a few weeks ahead of the ceremony on February 29. Do not miss it. There will be lots of shade, fun, and laughs.

    Jan Wahl is a Hollywood historian and film critic on various broadcast outlets. She has two Emmys and many awards for her longtime work on behalf of film buffs and the LGBTQ community. Contact her at

    Off the Wahl
    Published on January 25, 2024