Are you excited about the Oscars? I’ve only seen one of the films, “A Star is Born,” so I have very little skin in the game. Maybe I’ll catch up with some of the others, but probably won’t. It isn’t that I don’t like movies. I just don’t like sitting in one place in the dark for 2-3 hours unless, since it reminds me of the time my family toured the U.S. House and Senate chambers where most everyone who sits there is in the dark.
My issue today, however, is not the worthiness of movies as a form of entertainment. I did enjoy “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” back in the 60’s because it was packed with stars, funny gags and was really, really long, which meant I didn’t have to do my homework.
My issue, however, is the award itself. Formally known as the Academy Award, of course, it’s also known as Oscar. Now Oscar is damn fine name. I named my first goldfish Oscar. Unfortunately, a month or so after we got together, Oscar decided to jump out of his bowl and ended up inside a steaming radiator in our Queens, New York apartment.
My brave brother attempted to rescue Oscar, but the poor little mini-carp was steamed into eternity. At least my Oscar, when he was alive, briefly, he had fully functioning fins, gills and a mouth. The Oscar award is basically a casting of a naked eunuch with his arms clutched to his bare chest..just like one of the hapless nominees who was only put on the list to fill out the ballot but has zero chance of winning. Oh, the camera will show them in their seats with a look of hope as their names are read, but honestly, they’re nothing but high profile seat fillers doomed to disappointment. An honor just to be nominated? Really. It just means you were chosen to be one of the designated losers cast aside so the actor or film with a biggest kiss ass budget could be paid off with a fancy nutcracker, with no nuts! Now that itself warrants an award–so many people screwed without benefit of a weenie.
It also makes no sense to me because the Oscar trophy doesn’t scream “awesome acting! Awesome movie!” It’s just a functionless guy mounted on a pedestal. Kind of like Sean Hannity.
At least the Grammy award is an old gramophone–a device on which music was once played–so it makes sense.
The Tony really looks more like a Chinese gong and no Broadway show or actor wants to get the gong, especially before intermission. Maybe something that looks more like a marquee or a likeness of the late great Carol Channing or Zero Mostel.
The Emmy is also stupid. It looks like someone on the ladies Olympic beach volleyball team ready to spike the pumpkin, but is disqualified due to her use of wings. An award for television should look like a teenager with zombie eyes.
So I’ll probably watch the beginning of the Oscar broadcast because there’s no host, which mean no embarrassing monologue, although I think they should have given Dave Letterman a second chance. “Uma..Oprah!” Heh. I don’t care. Dave could do no wrong in my book.
If you do watch, and care about the outcome..enjoy it. But when they start handing out those statues, just remember, all those winners are going home with a guy who can only gather dust…but can’t satisfy their lust..except for attention..and, as the song that will probably win a guy with no poopik..is pretty, um, Shallow.
Like many people beaten to boredom by the endless Oscar ceremony, I went to bed early and missed the monumental screw up in announcing the wrong movie as best picture. So I’ve already wasted half my morning reading about it and watching the clips. It also got me thinking about mistakes I either made or affected me.
I have two brief examples, both of which occurred while I worked at CNN. I was producing the morning show, then called “Daybreak,” back in the 1980’s. There had been a train wreck in Oregon. It wasn’t fatal, but it was a mess and there was fear hazardous fumes were leaking from some of the tanker cars. It was a pretty slow news day so it led the hour. Our assignment desk jumped into action to get us someone on the phone they identified as both a witness and employee of the railroad. Remember that word “witness.” We were about to witness another disaster from the control room. During that era, CNN was still located in a former Jewish Country Club across the street from Georgia Tech. The newsroom was the old gym and it was a completely open floorplan. The writer and producer work stations, assignment desks, satellite desk, anchor set and control room were within a shout from each other…no walls. Someone from the assignment desk yells “got a phoner with a witness!” We quickly arrange to put the guy on the air and I tell the anchor, through her earpiece who she’ll be speaking with.
Anchor: “We have with us now on the phone (guy’s name)…a witness to the Oregon train wreck. Tell me sir. What does it look like from your vantage point?
Guy on phone: “Well, considering I’m about 350 miles away, pretty small!”
Anchor: “Thank you sir. Goodbye.”
Then there was the time I was assigned a story on the 40th anniversary of the Ford Edsel. I must have missed a key note in the background material before interviewing the grandson of the failed car’s namesake.
Me: “How did you grandfather feel about the car being such a failure?”
Edsel Ford II.: “He didn’t really care. He died before the car was produced. Would you like to ask that question again…a different way?”
Which I did…after many apologies and my shooter confirming he had the whole thing on tape and would make “good use” of it.
I’m afraid I didn’t get to see any of the films nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award, but was able to view incredibly cheap, but wildly entertaining alternate versions of those big budget movies that deserve some recognition.
1-A young student who is incredibly clumsy is given a chance to play the drums in the school jazz band. Indeed, the band is so bad the students call it the Spazz Band. Our young drummer fits right in and repeatedly misses the cymbals with his drumsticks and ends up with deep cuts on his hands. The film’s title: “Whipgash.”
2-A actual seal, adopted by the crew of an aircraft carrier, ends up to be an incredibly effective assailant, showing uncommon speed and accuracy in biting the butts of Naval officers targeted by put upon Navy seamen. When the carrier reaches its home port, the seal finds it cannot put the fight against uptight officers behind it and attempts to enlist on a destroyer bound for Sausalito to fight Marin County vegans. The film’s title: “American Flipper.”
3-A washed up actor attempts to revive his career with a risky plan to stage non-stop reenactments of the duel that killed Alexander Hamilton. The film’s title: “Burr Man.”
4-The concierge of the most expensive hotel in Akron not only provides sexual services for the clientele, he kills them, then, in an act of extreme chivalry, embalms and buries his victims. The film’s title: “The Grand Put To Rest Hotel.”
5-The British intelligence agency hires a code breaker who speaks only in Morse Code. The man’s constant “dihs” and “dahs” get on everyone’s nerves even though he’s a genius at deciphering messages from the enemy. Sadly, he’s bounced from the service when it’s revealed he also knows all the words to “It’s a Small World After All” in Navajo. The film’s title: “The Irritation Game.”
You may not have heard of them…until this very moment. But I assure they’ll be on the film festival circuit in enlightened cities and towns around the world…that still have Blockbuster stores.