OSCAR WEEK 2003
"...and I especially want to thank
my dress designer for keeping
all my hidden assets from
spilling out on camera!"
He'll watch the Oscars,
hoping for miracles
By CHUCK McFADDEN
I have not seen any of the films nominated for Best Picture this year. That is not a point of perverse pride with me. It just happened that way. Ill undoubtedly see at least some of them, post-Oscar, whether they win or not. Some of them sound like terrific films.
Ill probably watch ABCs televised show on March 23 as well. The Oscarcast is usually fun television, even though the critics line up every year to lambast it.
Its probably a legitimate question why anyone would watch the outcome of a competition where the winners have so often not been the years best picture, best performance and so on. Every year around Oscar time, newspapers run feature stories on marvelous films that have stood the test of time, but didnt win Oscars.
There are also winners that by now look awful. Cavalcade in 1933 is an outstanding example of an Oscar winner that now looks pretty bad, even allowing for the passage of 70 years. Same thing for actors. Some of the best never seem to win. Moreover, fierce and sometimes underhanded campaigns have been waged on behalf of nominees, making you wonder if its all pure artistry.
Still, its a great show and everyone has a marvelous time. I am always touched when the host, or the people entrusted with the magic envelope, painstakingly explain whats involved, and how important some of the lesser-known categories are. I hope they keep the remaining lesser-known categories on television, because explaining them every year, and reassuring the television audience that the magic of movies would be lessened without them, gives the whole shebang more integrity.
The usual questions will be uppermost in my mind and Ill bet in yours, too.
I will wonder if the advanced engineering obviously present in the top half of the outfits worn by the some of the nominated and not-nominated actresses will withstand the supreme test of containment vs. the Law of Gravity. Some have come close to structural failure in the past. A certain percentage of the male audience will adopt the following philosophical outlook: Theres always hope.
I will wonder, along with everyone else, if this time someone is really going to be so unrestrained as to embarrass themselves beyond all measure in their acceptance speech. The bar has been set pretty high.
I will wonder if the red carpet, on-the-way-into-the-auditorium interviews will hit a new low for oleaginous, sycophantic inanity. Theyll have to go some to beat past performances.
And, of course, the supreme question: will any of the acceptance speeches revolve around Iraq, war, peace and President Bush?
The answer to that last is: You bet.
Remember Marlon Brando not showing up to accept his much-deserved Oscar for his performance in The Godfather, and sending an Indian princess instead to make a political statement?
Well, you aint seen nothing yet compared to whats going to be poured out by movie idols come March 23.
Whats really interesting is if anyone is going to say that its a splendid notion to go to war against Iraq; Give War a Chance.
Not likely. Itll probably be a series of pleas for peace.
And do you suppose anyone is going to dump on France?
Again, not likely. Ill bet someone says Vive la France! before the evening is out.
Will anyone register shock, anger and disappointment at not winning? Remember, all nominees present in the hall will be televised live with ABCs merciless five-way split-screen announcement-reaction shot.
As our friend Bette Davis once said: Fasten your seat belts. Its going to be a bumpy night.
©2003 by Charles M. McFadden. The McFadden caricature is ©2001 by Jim Hummel. The illustration is modified from an illustration in IMSI's Master Clips Collection, 1895 Francisco Blvd. E., San Rafael, CA, 94901-5506, USA. The "Oscar" logo and the phrase "Academy Awards" are the registered trademarks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
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