Oscar Fever, I've Got It...How About You? - Don't Get Me Started
Years ago when I lived in LA (one of the two or three times I lived here, who can remember?) I became very aware of the fact that all of LA goes absolutely nuts during Oscar week. Local morning shows spend the entire week before the show handicapping the event before it happens and in their desperation to fill out an entire hour of programming they'll use even the smallest Oscar nugget to keep with their theme. They'll even spend time speculating on what designer a star is going to wear based on her other Oscar or award appearances. I was watching one of these morning shows and when it came back from a commercial break, one of the swishiest hosts in recorded history was wearing a gold jacket and had a cardboard cut out of the Oscar in his mouth. As the camera came in on him, he took the "Oscar" out of his mouth, looked at it and then looked at the camera screaming, "Oscar fever, I've got...how about you?" - Don't Get Me Started!
At the time and even now I think it is one of the queerest things I've ever seen but as I'm writing about this minor moment that happened about twenty years ago it suddenly occurs to me that whether or not this was a stupid bit, it has lasting power (At least in my mind).
I happen to be in LA this weekend and all of this coming week. I'd like to be telling you that I'm here to cover the Oscars or do the red carpet for E! but if you haven't read how I lost that job click here...No Ryan Seacrest For Me No, I'm here doing my corporate thing, having planned a conference for around 50 people so as tragic as it is, I won't even see the Oscars until next weekend when I'm home and I can watch it on my Tivo.
As time has marched on the Oscars have become less and less magical for me. Part of it is that I think in most cases there are no surprises here. We used to always say that if someone was close to death then they would definitely win (oh hello, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Peter O'Toole) and the rest go to the favorite in the category. But the biggest reason I find myself caring less and less about this award show is the method that seems to be prevalent in putting out a best picture for the win anymore. Step one: Release the movie seconds before it's too late to be considered for this year. Step two: Release it in only one or two cities so that the only people who can possibly see it are the Oscar voters. Step three: Have it make little to no sense so that everyone will be intimidated by not going along with the three people who say it's brilliant so with no one wanting to say the emperor has no clothes, they all vote for it. This seems to be the way they do it in recent years and it's ri-damn-diculous. Don't they get that their ratings might actually be better if the television viewing public had actually had a chance to see all the movies?
Another reason I'm not all fired up to watch the show this year and (I know this is going to set a lot of people off so send your nasty-grams to firstname.lastname@example.org ) but if it's not going to be a man in a tux hosting, I want some glamour, not a whoa-man in a pants suit. I don't care if it was designed by Valentino or Jaclyn Smith I don't want to see it. When it comes to a female host, I need me someone who is going to change their dress at least five times and do at least one hair change. As much as I love Ellen and I know that as "a gay" I should be fully supporting her hosting this show, I think we're looking at a night of slacks, blouses and fitted jackets from her, which frankly I can see on a rack in Macy's.
And can we discuss the horrible "banter" they write for these people on these shows? It's never funny and never works - save last year's brilliance by Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep in their tribute to Robert Altman which was oh, guess what, largely improvised by two very talented performers. Once again, we can thank the inventors of Tivo for creating a machine that will allow us to zip through these poorly written and executed bits, go directly to the winner and listen to them ramble, thanking a million people that only they care about.
I may seem more than a little bit jaded but it doesn't stop me from hoping Helen Mirren wins for The Queen, that Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy win for Dreamgirls and since I've only seen one out of the five movies up for Best Picture, I hope Scorsese finally wins one so he can stop being the Susan Lucci of the Oscars. Oh hell, let's face it, Oscar fever, I've got it...how about you? - Don't Get Me Started!