To keep me occupied, here's how I'd change the Oscars:
- The host of the show presents all Oscars. No more need for awkward, unfunny jokes and presentations by celebrities. No more "Adele Dazeem" issues (hopefully). Too often while we're watching the host suddenly disappears for long periods of time and you get bad celebrity after bad celebrity presentation. The switching to these also slows things down. The host is there for a reason, use him/her.
- If the host is a song and dance person, then have multiple short areas where he/she can perform. If he/she is a comedian, then provide time for him/her to tell jokes and keep the audience "warm."
- Build up to best picture. I know, I know, the argument is that no one will watch the first hour or so of the ceremony of the show if there aren't any of the "big" categories in it. I counter argue that if you make it entertaining, they will watch. Also, by cutting out the celebrity presenters, the show will move more quickly and people will have to watch more of the program to keep up.
- Have the host tell the audience to save their applause for after the list of nominees has finished. This includes the In Memoriam section.
- Limit ALL acceptance speeches to 20 seconds. Saying thank you is enough, people. We don't need a political statement, we don't need to hear a list of people read out loud on camera; the people who helped you get there should know who they are and your saying thank you should be inclusive enough.
- Seat people by category, so whenever a particular award is presented, those people up for it are seated relatively together. If a person is in more than one category, then they are seated with the "most prestigious" award group (say, a writer/director would be seated with the directors, etc.). Alternately, have a section with twenty chairs in it at the very front of the auditorium. As each category comes up, the people nominated and their guest are moved to that section so that, again, they are seated together and so that their trip to get their award is as brief as possible.
- Decide if you are presenting a somber, serious show or a lighter, funnier show and go with that throughout. Too often the shows get bogged down because they open light and funny, and then turn somber for section on certain movies or the In Memoriam, and then try to go back to light and funny. Pick one. Stick with it.
I'm sure there are more things and I may add to this as I think of them. But these, as a start, would allow me to pay more attention and watch the Oscars.