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In The End, Aren't We All Winners?
No. No, We're Not.

Anyone who talked to me, however briefly, during last month knows what a terrible fascination I have with the Oscars. I'm at a loss to explain it, I don't know where it comes from, or when it started, but there it is. I'll stand up and admit it. "Hello, my name is carter and I'm addicted to the Academy Awards."

This is the point where you're all supposed to say "Hi Carter."
Go on. Say it.

It won't work unless you say it.

Well, let's get right down to the action. The myriad stars staggered up the red carpet and were forcibly interviewed by Joan Rivers. After last year's win by a nearly bursting Catherine Zeta Jones, I guess Marcia Gay Harden thought it was lucky to be pregnant, but not in that dress. The bluish-purplish number made her look less like an expectant mother and more liker Veruca Salt from "Willy Wonk and the Chocolate Factory."

Then Billy Crystal descended on the audience with his ego on his shirtsleeve reminding us all that he's a comic genius and is still very, very famous (never mind he hasn't made a movie in forever). "Oh it's a wonderful night for Oscar. Oscar! Oscar! Who will win!?" That song. That accursed song, designed to drive you mad and catatonic at the same time. His clever little jingles about each of the best picture nominees were like passable improve comedy (The Lord Of The Rings sung to "A Few of My Favorite Things"or Moon River come Mystic River). Right up until he used the tune of Goldfinger for Seabiscut (which turns into a song more about Pete Rose than any horse), then you realize that Crystal ran out of ideas five minutes into the show and it's nothing but ham, dreck, and gay joke after gay joke for the next three hours.

imagine having to
look at this face for three hours

And what a three hours it was. The Lord Of The Rings won eleven Oscars, which ties it with Titanic and Ben-Hur for the most won in a year. It's the first movie since 'The Last Emperor' to lead the field in nominations and sweep every category it was up for. It's the biggest most expensive cinematic undertaking in the hundred and twenty odd years of film. But even though all those geeks finally got their come-uppances, none of them are getting laid at the after party. Try as they might, there's just nothing sexy about a fat New Zealander who just made a movie about trolls.

Tim Robbins picked up his first Oscar - I guess he can finally live up to his wife now. Or common-law wife, whatever that means. Isn't that when you're too damn lazy to actually get married and the state eventually just decrees it for you after like twenty years or something?

when will the realize that
she is simply not talented

Rene Zelwigger, that whoorish cabbage patch kid come to life, finally got her Oscar. Like I said last month I was really hoping she'd become the Susan Lucci of the Oscars - forever losing to people with actual talent. But no, it was not to be. As she was standing there knees knocking together slightly under that slinky pale colored dress I was just praying for a pee-stain to slowly creep along her front, or anything else that would make her burst into tears. Shucks, maybe next year. Or, even better, maybe next year Patricia Clarkson will actually get the accolades she deserves.

In another expected shocking turn of events, Sean Penn beat out Bill Murry for best actor. This is the biggest disappointment of the evening. I wasn't all that excited about any of these performances (admittedly I didn't even see Ben Kinglsy in Sand of House and Fog, but no one's perfect) but he was the worst of the bunch. In the "Is that my daughter in there?" reel, he sounds more like Gollum from the Lord of the Rings than someone from Boston. And Bill Murry's speech would have been something for the ages, I guarantee.

Model turned actress turned serial killer, Charlize Theron beat out a thirteen-year-old (Keisha Castle Hughes), a sixty-year-old (Diane Keaton), an Irish woman (Samantha Morton), and a girl who looks almost exactly like her (Naomi Watts). I was satisfied with the best actress. Although I would have been happy to see any of these ladies get it.

And then there are the nominees for best original song. The producers deiced that it would be a good idea to group the three most annoying songs together into twenty of the most painful minutes of my life. Liv Tyler (and her hair) decided that she needed some black horn-rimmed glasses to read the teleprompter. They made her (and her hair) look like they had just moseyed off Bedford Avenue. It was so Williamsburg hip that to actually call it hip is to insult those people that think hip is still cool.

Sting and some girl sang the curiously titled "You will be my ain true love" I have no idea what 'ain' means, but it probably has something to do with the hurdy-gurdy Sting was pretending to play. The two of them looked rather like an organ grinder and a well decked out, breast-augmented monkey. Then the monkey stayed on stage and sang "Scarlet Tide" with Elvis Costello. The song, to my shock didn't have anything to do with menstruation.

That a man, baby

Finally, Annie Lennox came out and sang "Into the West" from the Return of the King. Personally, I thought she was dead so boy was I shocked to see her. Cindy and Michael got into an argument over the diva which ran something like:

Cindy: Annie Lenox looks good. She looks really nice.
Michael: She does. She looks really good. She looks like a drag queen, Cindy. Hopefully when I'm ninety I'll look that good too.
Michael can sometimes be quite sarcastic.

For me it wasn't so much Lennox's curiously bronzed skin or her hair that was more of a swimming cap, it was those crazy freaking eyes. And the high school talent show gestures with her arms while she sang and that she stayed on stage bowing for a good minute after she stopped.

About thirty minutes later, they did the other two songs that were nominated. The Triplets of Bellville's "Bellville Rendezvous" which is a fabulous song very poorly lip-synched. And "A Kiss At The End of the Rainbow" from A Mighty Wind, which replaces Robin Williams rendition of "Blame Canada" a few years ago as the best, funniest Oscar musical performance. It was sad too, because the entire audience loved the song and loved Eugene Levy and Kathryn O'Hare and you could just tell that they all wished they could change their vote.

Erroll Morris threatens
to beat up the academy

Aside from that, it was technical award after technical award all going to The Lord of the Rings. This is the first time that I actually didn't mind one movie winning all the gold. I loved the movie, it might not be the absolute best movie of the year, but it's up there. I mean it was much more satisfying than say, Titanic winning every thing, which just pissed me off. But it really feels like almost every award was a gimmie. The Lord of The Rings won everything because it's lost for the last two years. Sean Penn won because he's lost the last two times he was up for best actor. Ditto Rene Zelwigger. Sophia Coppela won best screenplay because she lost everything else she was up for, and so on and so on.

The most satisfying moment was probably Errol Morris winning best documentary and then chastising the academy. "I want to thank the academy for FINALLY recognizing my work." You're such an asshole Errol, but I still love you. But even this was a gimmie. 'The Thin Blue Line' and 'Fast, Cheap and Out of Control' were better movies than 'The Fog of War' but they weren't even nominated. I just hope this trend turns around, because it's getting boring.

I guess that's about it. A mediocre end to a terrible year for Hollywood. Cross your fingers for 2004 and let's hope it starts getting interesting.

Oh, wait. One more thing: Robin Williams must be back on coke, because for the first time in fifteen years, he was actually funny.

--B.C. Edwards
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[email protected] | March 2004 | Issue 48
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