Oscars 2024 Takeaways: Let That Dog Go Home (And Let John Mulaney Host Next Year)

1. Please Refer to Our Earlier Statements Regarding John Mulaney & the Oscars

I’ve said this already earlier this Awards Season, but it bears re-emphasizing: Let. John. Mulaney. Host. You. Cowards. Yes, he and Kroll have toe-tagged the Spirit Awards two years in a row with monologues still fondly remembered and re-posted to this day. But now it’s time for the big leagues. And almost as if to let the Academy know they fucked up going with the safe bet and only hitting his line for a presentation, Mulaney just absolutely charms his way onto every Top 10 Oscar Moments list with a classic Mulaney Bit: wry dismissiveness (of those who speak a bit too fondly of the Silent Era), then breathlessly ranting about a niche insight into a pop culture obsession. (In this case, the Costner classic Field of Dreams.) Behold the crowd actually doing more than polite chuckles, then imagine if he was doing bits like that about movies from last year instead of a 35 year-old one. Here’s hoping award show producers get the hint next year. —FRAZIER THARPE

2. Shorter is Better, Part One

Back in 2020, I put forth a truly visionary and inspiring proposal on GQ.com: make the Oscars 30 minutes long. It was a plea that fell on deaf ears, and the Oscars have continued to run for around three hours and 40 minutes every year since. (For comparison: the first Academy Awards ceremony, in 1929, lasted all of 15 minutes. Those night bloggers had it so easy.) However, on the morning of the 96th Academy Awards, I learned there was going to be one serious timing-related change—instead of starting at 8 p.m. ET, the ceremony would start at 7. Which, with Daylight Savings Time taken into consideration, was basically 6. I reacted to the news with a spontaneous expression of joie de vivre not seen since Nicole Kidman’s divorce finalization photos. Was this a strategic move by ABC to attract more viewers rather than the result of one weary writer’s call to arms? Who can say? But this is a move in the right direction. Now, let’s keep the momentum going: Lunch Oscars! Monday Afternoon Oscars! Email Blast Oscars! The possibilities are endless. —GABRIELLA PAIELLA

3. Shorter is Better, Part Two

And while we’re talking about ways to improve everyone’s quality of life by making things shorter, another proposal: Awards season should be 30 days. There is no reason we need to spend Q1 of every movie year trapped in the previous year’s never-ending Q4, no reason we need to risk the mental and physical health of our celebrities by making them grind it out on a circuit this long. Messi doesn’t even remember what his life was like before he became an awards-season dog, and neither does Bradley Cooper. Tonight’s Oscars honored one of the strongest groups of best picture nominees in recent memory, but I don’t want to think about any of them ever again, because as a culture we have spent what feels like eighteen months talking about almost nothing else, watching these same performances in these same movies win over and over and over, so that nearly everything that happened tonight felt like the coronation of some 96%-favored-to-win mortal lock who’d already won approximately 75 other awards since January. The only way to keep the Academy Awards from feeling this much like Hollywood’s Most Anticlimactic Night? Speed everything up. Drop the nominations on February 1st and give out the hardware on the first Sunday in March. Forbid campaigning outside that window. Forbid giving awards outside that window, too. You want to put on a road-to-the-Oscars awards show and make celebrities show up? As long as you can book a hall and roll out a carpet during what will henceforth be known as Awards Month, you’re good, chief—otherwise, don’t bother. Let’s collapse the whole seasonal orgy of recognition into four weeks of gonzo awards-giving madness and never look back. —ALEX PAPPADEMAS

4. Presenters: Who Needs Them? (Us, Possibly)

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