And the Winner Was...

Brian Johnson expertly handled the Oscar live-blogging, but once you’ve finished reading that, come back here (where I wrongly believed that Avatar was the front-runner) and answer this question: what do you think of the decision to bring back “And the winner is…” when announcing the recipient of the award?

As the article explains, in 1989 producer Allan Carr, not content with producing one of the most-hated awards shows of all time, decided to change “and the winner is…” to the more neutral “and the Oscar goes to…” This was the golden age of kinder, gentler language, and the idea behind the change was that calling someone a “winner” implies that everyone else is a “loser.” This is, in fact, true, but that’s not the point.

The producers this year decided to bring back “and the winner is…” precisely because it is a little nastier and more blunt than “goes to.” They told Steve Pond that for those in the know, bringing it back feels “naughty” and “rude.”

Now, I remember hating the change at the time, and ever since then, I have felt it sounded wrong to use the bland “and the Oscar goes to.” The important thing is not that they got an Oscar, it’s that they won and four or more other people lost. So I’m happy to have “and the winner is” back. It’s one of the few really good decisions these producers seem to have made.

However, people who started watching the Oscars any time since 1989 are probably just as used to “and the Oscar goes to” as I was to “and the winner is.” When Kate Winslet slipped up and said “and the Oscar goes to Jeff Bridges,” some Twitter reactions lauded her for using the “traditional” phrase “and the Oscar goes to.” And I suppose that since it’s been around for 22 years, it is traditional now.

So what do you think? “Winner” or “goes to?”

And after you think about that one, here is something to play us out after that disappointing show: the wise and temperate observations (with dialogue by Harlan Ellison) of Frankie Fane and company.