5 Lessons Every Award Show Can Learn From the 65th Annual Tony Awards

Despite a list of nominees almost completely foreign to this TV Addict, who is embarrassed to admit how long it has actually been since we hit up the Big Apple, last night’s Tony Awards served as a blueprint for television’s seemingly never-ending parade of kudofests. But how did they pull it off? Well, as a public service to those of us who are still smarting from the five-or-so hours we’ll never get back as a result of last February’s Anna Hathaway/James Franco hosted Oscar telecast, we’ve compiled 5 lessons every Award show can (and should) learn from the 65th Annual Tonys Awards telecast.

Hire the Host with the Most
Between his pitch perfect opening number (“Broadway! It’s not just for gays [and jews] any more”) to his closing rap recap that rolled over the credits, second-time Tony host Neil Patrick Harris didn’t just steal the show, he set a new bar for Award show hosting. Jane Lynch, it’s your move.

Know Your Audience
Unlike Oscar producers Dan Jinks & Bruce Cohen, who made the fatal mistake of attempting to cater to a younger demographic by hiring two untested and unproven “Movie Stars” to host Hollywood’s biggest night, the producers responsible for the Tony telecast played to their strengths. Complete with the ideal mix of splashy musical numbers, quieter moments honoring Broadway’s history (Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones FTW!), and Hugh Jackman, there was quite literally something for everyone.

Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
Whether it was presenter Robin Williams looking out into the audience and quipping “What an incredible room here tonight! The only beard here is on my face,” Bono and the Edge humbly apologizing for their much-delayed Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Of the Dark, or Chris Rock’s hilarious riff prior to handing out the final award of the night, “Had told me that I would miss the best basketball game ever to hang out with Nathan Lane,” the Tonys — unlike some other award shows which seem to be under the mistaken impression that their profession is akin to say, curing cancer — gets it. Adding up to a show that perfectly balanced the reverence the Tony’s deserve, while still managing to cram as many Spider-Man: Turn Of the Dark jokes into a thirty second time period.

Keep it Moving
With the notable exception of Ellen Barkin’s acceptance speech for her much deserved Tony win for her work in The Normal Heart, an acceptance speech which by the way we’re fairly certain as of this posting is still going on, last night’s three hour telecast felt like two thanks in no small part to the plethora of — with apologies to all the hardworking and talented behind-the-scenes artisans — less interesting awards that were handed out off screen.

Splashy Musical Numbers
And finally, it sure as heck doesn’t hurt to pepper any telecast with dancing Daniel Radcliffe, raining men and a hosting duel between Neil Patrick Harris and Hugh Jackman. We’re just sayin’

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  • Well now I have to watch it.

  • Liz

    Yeah, it was kind of awesome.  Well done coming in at a mere couple of minutes past the 11:00 mark.

  • MindyB

    Agree, except I’m one of the old-fashioned types who enjoyed the so-called “lesser” awards being handed out. Understand why CBS cut it years ago, but thought the PBS pre-cast used to be a great compromise. I wanted to see the Athol Fugard tribute etc.

  • AJ

    another thing they did is give out “lesser awards” during the commercial breaks.  they came back and said who just got which award with a 5 second one liner of thanks.  it was GREAT!!!  NPH should host more than just the tony’s!!!  he is the new billy crystal!!!  the next oscars should be hosted by NPH and justin timberlake, with a hugh jackman cameo.  LOL