I Never Get Invited To Spago

« February 2005 »

Mmmm. Oscar time. Yes, that time of year when Hollywood pretends it doesn't exist to churn out turd after turd, from "Along Came Polly" to "Fat Albert", and instead focuses on the dozen or so heartwarming stories about personal struggle that never make any money until they're nominated for and/or win an award.

This year, of course, there's been a lot of speculation about the actual awards show. And its host, Chris Rock. Fear, concern, or glee that Rock might do something racy! Or controversial! Something beyond the pale! After all, he's ONLY FORTY YEARS OLD. I like Chris Rock, really I do. But he's not exactly a ticking time bomb. He's a middle-aged comedian whose last movie was "Head of State".

He knows exactly where the line is, and I'm sure he also knows exactly how much and how often they would like him to step over that line to create a little bit of that hideous "oooh, edgy" apres-show buzz so that all Monday's stories can mention it in a paragraph or two. Maybe he'll tell a political joke! Maybe he'll say something slightly off-color about a young actress! Maybe he'll piss off some very stodgy person who will longingly recall the classier era, when Billy Crystal would do those lovely and oh so funny song parodies.

About the only entertainment value left in the Oscars is when a celebrity pulls some stupid shit during their acceptance speech. And there's little chance of that this year, with all the nominees being dull and bland. Nobody likely to show up drunk. Nobody likely to turn their acceptance speech into an inappropriate screed for their awkward pet cause. The least stable nominee of the entire bunch is Johnny Depp, and he's outlived his "bad boy" stage by about a decade and a half.

I'm sure all the presenters have had their mind-control implants surgically attached by now. They moved off of teleprompters a couple of years ago, and now just pre-program them with a couple of jokes from the Vilanch 5000 AI they keep in a supercooled chamber in Santa Monica. It failed the Turing test, but so did the real Bruce Vilanch, so it works out OK.

For evidence that this weekend's Oscars are even blander than advertised, just look at Best Picture. You've got the Inspiring Bio-Pic, the Inspiring Bio-Pic, the Inspiring Bio-Pic, the Inspiring Story of Tragedy and Adversity, and the Quirky Comedy That Won't Win. But hey, it's an honor to be nominated. Even if it's just because the only other Inspiring Bio-PIc this year was "Hotel Rwanda", and quite frankly, the Academy does not need movies about genocide to start taking all the awards meant for movies about handicapped people.

You can't even predict the winners this year, because any means you'd use to make that prediction would apply to at least three nominees in every category. Except "Best Animated Movie", which only has three nominees, and they're the same three moives every goddamn year:

  • The Really Good One
  • The Mediocre Funny One
  • The Shitty One We're Using To Make Sure We Have Three.

The only time they ever broke this rule was in 2002, when they inexplicably decided to add two extra shitty ones to the mix to bring the total up to five. Anyway, the Really Good One always wins, unless it's foreign, and since The Incredibles isn't foreign, you should find some sucker in your workplace who really really liked Shrek 2 and is willing to bet you on it.

If you're still planning on sitting through all four hours, waiting for your clusterfuck, your only hope is the traditionally embarassing performances of this year's Best Song nominees. Which is also an incredibly tepid bunch - one French song from a French movie, one song in Spanish from The Motorcycle Diaries, two heartwarming songs from animated movies, and the only nominee from Joel Schumacher's Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom Of The Opera. So, barring a bunch of extras doing interpretive dance in swampgreen leotards to the Shrek song, you're probably shit out of luck there, too.

Sure, there are a couple of Oscar traditions to look forward to. It's always "interesting" to see which unfunny method they'll use in their misguided attempt to make the reading of the rules funny. Every year, I write in and suggest a naked Jack Valenti humping a donkey named Price-Waterhouse, and every year, the Academy changes their mailing address.

I also love the incredibly cruel and mean-spirited Dead Celebrity Popularity Test, where you take everyone who kicked off during the calendar year, and you submit them to the audience for recognition and applause. It's the original amihotornot.com, only with corpses. How many people in Hollywood still know that dead character actor's name? You can find out for yourself this Sunday. If you dare.