Every year, the folks behind the Oscar telecast promise a show that's livelier, funnier, hipper, shorter ... and yet they never deliver. Here are five things we'd do to fix the show:

1. Inject some girl power: Hire Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as hosts. They were a hilarious hit at the Golden Globes and play so well together.

2. Jazz up those speeches: Hollywood has assistants for everything. It's time to assign a speech writer to each award nominee so we can avoid those long, boring laundry lists of names.

3. Dump some categories: Let the behind-the-scenes techie nerds have their own night to themselves. Our rule: If you've never appeared on screen, we don't want you on ours.

4. Get back to five best-picture nominees: Nine or 10 films are too many to care about and it takes too much time to honor them all. Less is more.

5. Always have Jack Nicholson in the front row: This is a must. No exceptions. Even if the Lakers are playing across town.

Read Chuck Barney's TV blog at http://blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/category/tv and follow him at http://twitter.com/chuckbarney.