Ichabod's Kin
A place for politics, pop culture, and social issues

Once More for the Oscars

The Oscars 2010

You could swear that watching one night of the Oscars is to see a lifetime of them. Celebrity, we know, is America’s way of re-creating royalty: somewhere in our DNA we miss what we had when we were unborn and British, but they don’t run it all up the flagpole as often as we do–the Brits have to have a Royal wedding, funeral or a new monarch to match what we do every year.

A good way to vastly improve the Oscars is to get rid of the overdone Red Carpet walk–a parade of senselessness and trite conversation–unoriginal interviewers repeatedly fawning, “Can I say first that you’re just beautiful… stunning…gorgeous…” Oh, gag us with a spoon. As if Hollywood’s not the first place where those blessed with fairy-tale looks don’t go when they take the first stagecoach out of Dodge. Walk around Tinseltown for a day and even beauty begins to lose its value. With apologies to Mae West, too much of a good thing is not always wonderful, but don’t tell that to those for whom celebrity rescues from what Thoreau called “lives of quiet desperation.”

Given all the money thrown at this sextravaganza, you’d think they’d get everything absolutely right. So the real fun is knowing that heads will roll for screw-ups like this year’s failure to mention Farrah Fawcett among the Dearly Departed. And there were lines that cried out to be said but weren’t–like neglecting to add that Michael Jackson didn’t die–he melted.

And why does anyone want to Host these vile annual proceedings, but apparently the world holds its breath to see what the next comic will do with the task. Of course, we know Steve Martin will deliver–as will Robin Williams as long as he’s on something.

But I’m more amazed at the staying power of Alec Baldwin, who can do no wrong regardless that women will put a fork in most guys who are found to have an ugly side, and if ever an actor has anger issues, it’s Alec. Despite the phone rant to his daughter, heard universally, and given that his ex, Kim Basinger, is absolutely terrified of him, he remains the centerfold of Distaff Nation–right down to the body fat that’s starting to pop his shirt and collar buttons: at the Oscars his invisible girdle was evident in that his arms stuck out like a body builder’s, which he definitely is not. Anyway, Martin got the great lines, e.g., “Damn Helen Mirren” and calling Meryl Streep a “loser;” in Alec’s mouth such would have been reminders of his temper-temper with womenfolk.

And there’s the curious and perpetual love affair with dissipated, chauvinistic male character roles who’ve ruined their and the lives of everyone who’ve loved them–Jeff Bridges being the latest (Mickey Rourke having preceded him); please notice that it’s only among older-men roles that these traits are tolerated: younger studs are less forgiven. Why is that?

There is proof positive that the show isn’t about the statuette and what it means. The old Hollywood joke is that two actors met and one said, “Let’s talk about you: how did you like my last movie?” Hence we are not surprised that instead of cradling Oscar like a baby, it is wielded like a knife or spear, or used during wild gestures. I still wait for someone to drop it or, faux pas of all, walk off and leave it on the stage.

The sleepers in all of this are animations, the sad truth being that such are better actors than real stars. Which is to say even Hollywood won’t last forever, but someday succumb to technology that can produce box office hits in basements of pimply-faced adolescents who skip school; and cartoon characters will people all our movies, not to mention Shakespeare.

Equally intrusive around the Oscars are certain critics, one saying Mariah Carey should have been nominated; oh, please, while doing a creditable job in “Precious” she lacked both face- and script-time to challenge those with major roles. Worst of all was Barbara Wa-Wa, whose last (thank god) pre-Oscar special showed that she’s lost none of the banality for which we’ve come to know and love her. Her exit line, if you can believe it, is that after all these years of making tons of dough for asking stupid questions, she’s “kind of sick of it.”

Gee, wish we had known that long ago and been spared her annual tedium, but I do hold in fond memory her attempt to get Richard Pryor to admit free-basing, only to have him look her straight in the eye, totally poker-faced, and say that one late-night, sleepless, he went to the kitchen for a bite and dunked a cookie–only to have the milk explode. Scientists, he added, are still trying to explain the occurrence.

Barbara was not amused. But then she was never amusing, either.

One Response to “Once More for the Oscars”

  1. SO curmudgeonly, but SO much truth!

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