Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Sh!#ting on the Classics: Oscar, Shmoskar, Part Deux
My Valentine this year is the Oscars! I am giving the Oscars a homemade pie made out of poo. Allow me to explain.
Last week’s beshitting got a terrific response, so in the spirit of the Hollywood we all love… to HATE… here is the SEQUEL to last week’s column.
What follows is a random list of other reasons to hate the Oscars, with a hot, hot, molten hate that will not subside and will not abate.
1. After last week’s column was posted, I continued to research the idea that the Academy’s favorite theme is “the troubles of rich white people.” By my count, at least 53 of the total 83 Best Picture Winners (and trust me, this is a very loose and liberal accounting) concern the problems of rich white people. Of course in 2001, seventy-two years after its founding, the Academy finally gave Best Actress to a black woman (Halle Barry for Monster’s Ball), so I suppose I should just be satisfied with their overall fairness and magnanimousness and shut my goddamn mouth. Bottom line—when in doubt while filling out the ballot for the annual office Oscar pool, go with the perennially popular favorite: PUT-UPON RICH WHITIES. That means that The Descendants will win this year, by the way.
Never bet against black—except at the Oscars!
2. I have no patience for the “make good” Oscar. This is the Oscar that comes a year or two late, often given to an entirely different film or actor, to make up for some egregious mistake by the Academy. My favorite of these just might be the Oscar given to the song “Last Dance” from Thank God, It’s Friday to make up for the previous year’s complete and utter snub of the Saturday Night Fucking Fever score. SNFF spawned a cultural movement. No other film is more dependent on its score for its massive impact on the zeitgeist of its time. Hey Academy: you would not want to risk nominating something like THAT, would you? Clearly it is just a fad! And by “it” I mean “the ’70s”. And by “fad” I mean “single most defining cultural movement of the decade.”
3. Speaking of music, just look at the Hit Parade of Oscar winners for best song: “Sweet Leilani” from Waikiki Wedding (which beat George and Ira Gershwin’s “They Can’t Take that Away from Me” from Shall We Dance), “It Might As Well Be Spring,” “Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah,” “Buttons and Bows,” “Chim-Chim-Cheree,” “Talk to the Animals,” “The Morning After,” “We May Never Love Like This Again (Love Theme from The Towering Inferno)”, “You Light Up My Life,” and “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp.” (Thanks for that last one, faithful reader/contest winner Sol.) Timeless music that explores the human spirit, or instantly forgettable tripe? YOU be the judge and jury-- because clearly Academy members abdicated that responsibility decades ago.
4. The Academy continues to play with the nominating rules for documentaries; the Academy continues to get this category wrong. The Thin Blue Line (a film that literally saved a man’s life), Hoop Dreams, Grey Gardens, and Grizzly Man all deserved to win. Only The Thin Blue Line was even nominated. And do not even get me started about this year’s The Interrupters.
5. Here are my nominations for the worst films to ever win Best Picture: The Broadway Melody (1928/1929), Cavalcade (1932/1933), The Greatest Show on Earth (1952), Around the World in Eighty Days (1956), The English Patient (1996), and Gladiator (2000). In the words of Groucho Marx, I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me as a member.
6. Inception/The King’s Speech—need I say more? According to the Academy, we should just be glad Inception was nominated. It IS an honor just to be nominated, you know, and blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blather blah blah.
7. Let me conclude with the sad, sad story of a naive 14 year-old boy. He snuck into a screening of Network in 1976 and thought it was one of the most amazing films he had ever seen. This poor boy had been raised on a diet of sunny Disney films and other pabulum, so the red-hot, searing script by firebrand Paddy Chayefsky spun his little head around. The boy had never seen a film so cynical—until that time he had never seen a film so bitterly funny. Needless to say, that boy was… wait for it… ME. I watched the Oscars in frenzied anticipation that year, rooting for Network to win Best Picture.
When Rocky won, I was crestfallen. Even at fourteen, I could recognize that Rocky was populist, feel-good claptrap (though I will now admit that it is well-made, well-intentioned, populist, feel-good claptrap) and I could not believe that Network lost. Thirty-six years later I am still angry that Network lost, although in the spirit of trying to see the silver lining in even the most miserable of situations, I have arrived at the following conclusion: Watching Network at a very young age contributed to my growing cynicism. Seeing a clearly superior film lose to a clearly inferior film also contributed to my growing cynicism. So, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, I am now a miserable, hard-hearted, cynical bastard because of YOU!
8. Happy Valentine’s Day, Oscar. Sometimes, you make it very hard to love you. Sniff.
BETTER YET: Oscahs! Live Twittah feed, dahlings? Sunday night, February 26th. Join us, bitches. It is going to be a party. #ftheoscars