Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Why the Long Face, Oscar?

Why the long face, Oscar?

Seven years of Bush will depress anyone, and Hollywood is a grim place these days. Also, the film industry is under the misimpression that comedy is easy; drama is hard. Proof is the breakdown of nominees. One comedy, four looks at the grim side. Most of the actors, on the other hand, were broken down by sex. (That’s an old joke, but consider who’s repeating it.)

  • You want to win an Academy Award? Stay in school and learn a foreign language. Or drop out and become a stripper.

  • Best summary of the night’s nominees. “Thank God for teenage pregnancy,” said Jon Stewart, noting that “Juno” was the cheeriest movie of the best picture nominees.

  • I covered the Academy Awards for many years. What I missed most about not covering the Oscars for TV. Not a damn thing.

  • Lowlight #1. Nancy Kerrigan, sponsored by L’Oreal or some such was available live. My producer said “I don’t want her, she’ll just hype L’Oreal.” “Don’t worry, I can handle her,” I said. First words out of her mouth? “L’Oreal.” If I had a lead pipe, I’d have kneecapped her on the spot.

  • Lowlight# 2: Watching the fire Marshall threaten to arrest me and my producer if we didn’t move our camera “NOW!” Watching producer pull out auxiliary policeman badge from wallet and try to buy time. It worked.

  • Terrifying Moment Averted: I was in mid live shot when a large, looming, tuxedoed figure hoved into view, shoved at me by the same producer. Later I realized in terror--what if I hadn’t recognized Gregory Peck?

  • Most Surreal Moment. Seeing Edy Williams, wearing a completely transparent dress and holding a small dog, being kept out of the Oscar auditorium. Oh no, not because of the dress—no animals allowed.

  • It Could Happen to You, Award: Seeing legendary Variety host Army Archerd, who introduced celebs to crowd on a loudspeaker, asking an actress he’d just interviewed. “And will you tell us who this is here with you?” The man leaned forward and said into the mike. “I’m Steven Spielberg.”

  • Favorite leveling moment at the Oscars: Watching dreaded “Limo Gridlock” as everyone raced out of the Governor’s Ball to attend other parties. It was fun watching people holding a statuette in hand, staring at their claim check and not knowing where the hell their limo went.

  • Thanks a lot, Gil. Oscar ratings sucked. While Jon Stewart was terrific as host, it does him little good to be associated with a show low rated because no one outside the auditorium saw the nominated movies.

  • Biggest shoo-in: Daniel Day-Lewis. Seriously, it wasn’t even close.

  • Best acceptance speech. Ms. Swinton.

  • Worst Acceptance speech: The short Coen Brother.

  • His act is getting old. Jack Nicholson.

  • The author did the heavy lifting award: To Cormac McCarthy, who wrote “No Country for Old Men,” an extraordinary novel, and who sat in the audience while those who “adapted” it for the screen got the credit and the hardware.

  • Thing they used to do, but don’t do anymore--and should. Talent competition. I used to always root for the snappy spoon player and…oh wait, that’s the Miss America contest.

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