Grouching About Oscar


Watched the Academy Awards last night, naturally, but can’t say I felt too connected to any of it. Maybe it was having seen only 13 out of the 52 nominated films this time around (and only three of the actual winners). We’d planned to see Chicago Saturday night (well, or at least promote the possibility to the friends we were planning to go out with), but my wife threw her back out doing our taxes (long story).

Anyway, I thought the ceremonies were fine. Nothing spectacular, just fine. They did manage to finish before midnight (barely), but they’re still trotting out all of the crap that irritates people about Oscar night. The whole thing reminds me of the commercials you see (usually by local car dealerships) where the owner of the company insists on doing the ads himself — any idiot can see that this is a bad idea, but the boss’s ego won’t accept the possibility that maybe, just maybe, he might be wrong on this one.

Top three suggestions for future ceremonies (yeah, like nobody’s ever thought of these before):

1. Lose the production numbers. And don’t give me any of that crap about there not being any production numbers; they just stuck a whole slew of them into a montage video instead of doing them live: same thing. I can live with the song performances — hey, nothing wrong with seeing Paul Simon and U2 live — but it’s amusing that the song that actually won the award wasn’t performed.

2. If you’re going to trot out the Academy president, do it right at the top of the show. Let him introduce the damn thing, then get him the hell off. And for god’s sake, don’t do a montage of past Academy president appearances; nobody on Earth wants to see a collection of obscure production bureaucrats any more than we have to.

3. Drop the “parade of old people” display of past winning actors and actresses; it’s positively embarrassing. You might as well hold them up and say, “Remember when everybody thought you were something special? Well, not anymore, buddy!” They’ve been honored for their achievements, back when they won their awards. Don’t exploit them like this. (And why is it limited to actors and actresses anyway?)

Michael Moore’s little speech was amusing (and I agreed with pretty much everything he said) but come on; do you really think you’re winning any converts with a rant like that (particularly when you pronounce “fiction” as “fictition”)? Granted, the S.P. are too dense to understand Pedro Almodóvar’s far more articulate phrasing of the same sentiment, but mass comprehensibility does not equal persuasiveness.

All told, I was more intrigued by events in my personal life this weekend (what, real life taking precedence over movies?). First, our kitten Lily managed to climb more than twenty feet up one of the trees in our back yard; every time she tried to climb down, she ended up going higher. Eventually, she came down the only way possible — plummeting to Earth; fortunately, she managed to brush enough branches (and land at least partially in my arms) on her descent to avoid injury. Second, I made some (though not nearly enough) headway on my next critique for Inkblots, but given the magazine’s recent hiatus, it remains to be seen whether it’ll see publication. And third, I finished an extraordinarily funny book, Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About, by Mil Millington. If you’re at all into sharp British wit, I highly recommend it (with one qualification, but I can’t go into it unless you’ve read the book); the author’s currently adapting it into a screenplay for Working Title Films (so we can probably expect to see Hugh Grant in the lead, though I think he’s a little straight for the role).


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