In Contention


Gervais invited to repeat at Globes — but what about Oscars?

Posted by Guy Lodge · 6:38 am · August 29th, 2011

Obviously it’s too early to be concerned about who’s hosting next year’s Golden Globe ceremony. The day before next year’s Golden Globes ceremony would to be concerned about that. But the pre-weekend news that Ricky Gervais has been invited (if not confirmed) to emcee the show, in his typically irreverent manner, for a third straight year is more interesting for a disputed side note: his claim that the Academy requested his services too.

Gervais is currently playing coy about his offer from the Hollywood Foreign Press — claiming that he’s considering it, but is wary of outstaying his welcome — though I have a hunch he’ll end up accepting. He’s more adamant about refusing the Oscars gig, dismissing it as “a thankless task for a comedian.”

Oscars broadcaster ABC, however, denies that the Academy ever approached Gervais in the first place. Take whoever’s word you find more fun to believe.

Gervais further states his conviction that comedian are ill-suited to the Oscar gig, arguing that the audience “[doesn't] want to hear jokes, they want to hear who’s won the most important award of their career.” As well as being an extra sideways jab at the Globes (subtext: “Nobody cares about those awards!”), it’s an interesting way to phrase the Oscar host’s dilemma. Though I disagree with Gervais’s belief that comic hosts aren’t the way forward, there’s truth between the lines: the implication is that his particular brand of verbal, irony-based humor, ideally suited for the shabby party atmosphere of the Globes, would be too small for the room at the Oscars.

It’s no coincidence that the most broadly liked Oscar host of recent years, Billy Crystal, is the one whose comedy incorporated the most visual gags and theatrical aspects, with a line in banter more clever than caustic. (Fans of the unadorned, anti-celebrity sarcasm that colored Gervais’s Globe stints, of which I am one, would likely appreciate a similar performance at the Oscars; it’s probable, however, that it would settle about as comfortably in the formally seated auditorium as Chris Rock’s awkward 2005 attempt.) It’s a balance that next year’s Oscarcast producers Don Mischer and Brett Ratner — who have already promised a comic emphasis — would do well to bear in mind.

Meanwhile, whether Gervais winds up accepting or not, good on the Globes for continuing to pursue an entertainingly divisive host, thereby ignoring over-sensitive media commentary: there’s little harm in ribbing amply rewarded Hollywood royalty, and I didn’t exactly notice Angelina Jolie bursting into tears because he didn’t think much of “The Tourist.” On another note, it’s canny of the Globes to seek a perennial host, thereby solidifying their brand, at a time when the Academy’s recent choices have made them look somewhat insecure about theirs.

[Photo: Spinsouthwest.com]




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→ 7 Comments Tags: , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

7 responses so far

  • 1 8-29-2011 at 7:45 am

    /3rtfu11 said...

    Sean Penn was awkward when Chris Rock hosted.

  • 2 8-29-2011 at 8:10 am

    Andrej said...

    I don’t recall where I had read this, but I think that at the Oscars they don’t serve or allow any alcoholic drinks for the stage performers? I wonder if Gervais will be willing or able to pull off their hosting duties without his big “fuck you” glass of beer on sight.

    Hopefully he’ll accept the Globes gig again, though.

  • 3 8-29-2011 at 9:34 am

    Maxim said...

    “I don’t recall where I had read this, but I think that at the Oscars they don’t serve or allow any alcoholic drinks for the stage performers?”

    You probably heard that during the broadcast of Independent Spirit (no pun intended) awards. They make a point of brining that up seemingly every year.

    In any case, I seriously doubt Gervais is coming back. And as far as I’m concerned the only thing enterteining about him is how desperate he is to offend.

  • 4 8-29-2011 at 10:38 am

    Matthew Starr said...

    I thought he was great at the Globes last year and even more so when you compare it to how poor Franco and Hathaway were at the Oscars.

  • 5 8-29-2011 at 1:53 pm

    Dana Jones said...

    “In any case, I seriously doubt Gervais is coming back. And as far as I’m concerned the only thing enterteining about him is how desperate he is to offend.”

    Yeah, I don’t see that at all. If you’re familiar with Gervais’ brand of comedy, it’s pretty apparent that he’s never been one to hold a punch. His job is to get people buzzing and entertain, and he did just that.

    Also, I vote Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin reclaim their hosting duties for the upcoming Oscars.

  • 6 8-29-2011 at 1:54 pm

    Al said...

    The fact that some were offended says more about them then it does about Gervais.

  • 7 8-29-2011 at 2:53 pm

    Speaking English said...

    I think it’s less that people were outright offended and more that being blasted with verbal attacks isn’t really why you go to a celebration where you’re supposed to be honored and rewarded. And I’m saying that as someone who very much liked Gervais last year.