I love the Oscars but let's face it, the event needs an overhaul. It might be working as an award ceremony but it is failing as a TV program.
Here are my recommendations to the Academy producers to make it a better show.
Make it longer
Didn't expect that one did you? There are just too many awards to fit into a 3.5 hour broadcast. I suggest moving the show up two hours to 6:00 PM (EST) but broadcast the first two hours on cable. Film buffs like myself like to see all the awards but the general public just isn't interested. Let ‘E’ do their red carpet show from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM. Then at 6 PM show the lesser known awards like short film, documentary and costumes. These awards deserve recognition but not on prime-time network TV.
Then have the broadcast switch to prime-time on ABC and have the big awards from 8 PM to 10 PM. This is strictly for the 4 acting awards, best screenplay (adapted and original), best editing, best director and then best picture. That is still 9 awards plus a lifetime achievement award. Then if it goes long, it just goes to 10:30 PM and then there can be an Oscar recap/interview show from 10:30 to 11 PM.
Bring back the Lifetime Achievement Award
These tributes make for good entertainment and deserve to be in prime-time. One of the greatest moments in Oscar history was Charlie Chaplin's return to America in 1972 for his Lifetime Achievement Award and if that was to happen today it would have never been shown.
Pick one good host ...and stick to it
People like tradition and part of the reason why the hosts that have endured worked, was that they did it year after year. Bob Hope, Johnny Carson and Billy Crystal were among the best. Hosting is a big job and they are never going to hit it out of the park on the first try, so if they find a host that the public likes, then get him or her on a 5 yr contract. My pick for next year is Conan O'Brien but if they want a song and dance man, bring back Hugh Jackman.
Go back to 5 films for Best Picture
Ten is too many and all it does is water down the award show with films that don't deserve to be there.
This section needs to be longer and shouldn't begin the camera shot so far away from the screen again. It is also a good idea to have a section for major stars and important filmmakers to have their own tribute. So even though it was fitting that there was one for John Hughes this year, there should had been special tributes to people like Stanley Kubrick and Ingmar Bergman when they passed.