Last year, as you avid Oscar watchers may recall, Academy Awards producer Gil Cates (pictured, right, with his hand in a rather, er, compromising position on Mr. Oscar) unveiled a daring new plan to speed up the Oscars - let's eliminate that long, boring walk from the back of the auditorium to the stage by seating some of the nominees on stage. Not the ones from those craftsy categories no one cares about, though - just the big names. This year's plan is not "quite as dramatic" as last year's (in other words, it was designed in response to the bitching from the folks in the crafts categories that they, like lower classes from time out of mind, were being relegated to the lower decks of the Oscar cruise ship).
Instead of segregating nominees into "deserves to be on stage" and "hide him at the back where no one can see him", this year the nominees will be hustled up to seats at the front of the auditorium just in time for their camera "face time" as their category is announced. Then the winner goes up to stage to snag their prize, the losers are shuffled back to their seats, and the next group moves up.
This sounds waaaaay too complicated to me, but at the same time, it has the delicious potential for a major screw up as some lackey forgets to get Keira Knightley or Heath Ledger into their front row seats within their allotted face-time window. Can't you just hear the publicists clearing their throats in anticipation of a mass bitch-out if their clients aren't on camera? Watching the musical chairs take place could prove to actually make the Oscars more entertaining than ever. Now I'm getting excited.