Friday, March 03, 2006

Oscar Etiquette - Our Do's and Don'ts List

Oscar Etiquette and some Pre-show closing thoughts.

As we are settling in for the Oscar weekend . . . what? Doesn’t everybody celebrate Oscar night as if it were Independence Day, Mardi Gras, Christmas and their wedding all rolled up into one? We certainly do. The icebox is stacked full of caviar and poppers, the liquor store is on speed-dial, and we just placed an order with our coke dealer in case the evening’s festivities extend into Tuesday morning. As we gear up for this Sunday’s extravaganza of Hollywood Hubris and mega-wattage name dropping red carpet finery – we were all set to call it a day with our comments until post-Oscar mania. And then we read this. It seems that the Academy is all a thither about the possibility of long acceptance speeches and rambling actors lost in a miasma of self-congratulations and tearful remembrances. This just makes us want to take the Academy’s new president, Sid Ganis out behind the Kodak theatre and beat him within an inch of his life.

Hey, Sid! You stupid deluded fool, if you really want to keep the show tight and rolling, you are focusing on the wrong points. How about making the hideous set slightly smaller than the hull of the Titanic? How about limiting Jon Stewart's opening monologue to five minutes? How about forcing all the smaller technical categories into one three minute segment? It seems this Godforsaken homemade DVD wrist slapping featuring everybody’s least favorite double Oscar winner, Tom Hanks, (who by the by is the last fucking person on the planet to symbolize "good acceptance speech etiquette".) is the utmost in psychotic self realization. The Oscars are meant to be “the” show of filmdom’s year. They are the most sought after, respected and talked about Awards show in town. There are no comparisons to be made, and we for one are perfectly willing to sit through eighteen hours of telecast to find out who the eventual winners will be. Other people who bitch and gripe about the duration of the spectacle are obviously completely unaware of their original intention. If you read our piece on the Best Picture nominees with the brief history of the Awards . . . you did read it, didn’t you? Sigh. Go ahead. Okay, this is the BIG FUCKING NIGHT PEOPLE, get over it!!!

So, we decided that we should pull our own list of Do’s and Don’ts of the Oscars for the nominees. Please pay attention. It will be very useful.

The Bloody Red Carpet’s Oscar Etiquette Cheatsheet for Nominees Only!

The Do’s.

Show up. The worst thing that can possibly happen to you in your entire film career is having to pull a Michael Caine and be on location filming the third sequel to “Jaws”, co-starring Lorraine Gary when your name is called on Oscar night. Hold your producer at gun point, quit the film, or just leave and don’t tell them. They’ll get over it. You won’t.

Don’t pull a Marlon Brando, or George C. Scott, or even you should be so lucky a Katharine Hepburn and miss the evenings show. Go, already! (Despite a record setting four Oscar wins for Best Actress, the late great Kate never showed up Oscar night for any of her twelve nominations. She only deigned to appear to present the Thalberg award to her good friend, producer Lawrence Weingarten in 1973. To a tumultuous standing ovation, but we don’t recommend you attempt to echo her footsteps. There was only one Kate. And you ain’t it.)

Dress up! For pity’s sake, ladies. Fire you current stylist and beg, borrow or steal a top designer’s frock to wear come Awards night. Don’t take a page from Oscar winners Celeste Holm and Joanne Woodward who actually . . . excuse us, we’re throwing up in our mouths a little while we type this . . . don’t make your dresses yourselves.

It’s cutesy and homespun and a recipe for disaster! This ain’t fucking “Project Runway”, thank God. It’s tacky and a sure fire recipe for ending up on our Worst Dressed List.

Listen for your name! Then Rise to the Occasion. Several times in Oscar history, the “sure fire bet”, the lead in all the polls, the one to beat . . . are you listening Miss Witherspoon? L-O-S-T!!! As in nothing. Bupkis. Nada. You may have won all the year end Awards, but this is the Oscars. You never fucking know. Don’t believe us? Just go ask Frank Capra, who back in 1933 when host Will Rogers opened the envelope to congratulate his “friend Frank” on winning the Best Director prize, shot up out of his chair and almost made it to the platform until he realized that his fellow nominee Frank Lloyd had won instead. Or in 1947, when the frontrunner and industry insider Rosalind Russell appeared to be a complete lock for the Best Actress prize, lost to veteran Loretta Young and had to quickly improvise a standing ovation lest she appear to be too eager to accept her non-prize. Take it easy, people. It is the Oscars, but there’s no need to embarrass yourselves.

Don’t embarrass yourselves. If you’re not handicapped, don’t pretend to be one. When Jane Fonda copped her second Best Actress prize, unjustly we might add, for 1978sComing Home”, she started her acceptance speech by using sign language. Which might be nice if you were 1975s Best Actress winnerLouise Fletcher for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” – whose parents were actually deaf. Or Marlee Matlin in 1986 for “Children of a Lesser God”, ‘cause . . . well if we have to explain that she’s actually deaf . . . WE SAID, IF WE HAD TO EXPLAIN THAT SHE IS ACTUALLY DEAF . . . oh, never mind. Our point being, this handicapped shtick failed miserably and stole attention from your moment, and was just plain embarrassing Jane.

Granted, not anymore than photos of you poised behind a Viet Cong gattling gun, but we digress.

Smile, You’re On Camera! Pull yourselves together people. And ladies, hike up your damn skirts. Don’t pull a Shirley Booth who won Best Actress in 1952 for her stage to screen triumph “Come Back, Little Sheba” and almost fell flat on her face on her way up to the podium. Or worse, get so wrapped up in the moment you start to masturbate as Simone Signoret did way back in 1959 just prior to her name being called as the Best Actress for the steamy kitchen sink drama “Room at the Top”, fiercely clutching her breasts as the envelope was being ripped open. Yul Brynner practically fainted, and Burt Lancaster popped some major tent just watching you. Of course, Rock Hudson wasn’t paying attention, but that’s another story.

Be Brief. But, you might live to regret it. In order to appease Sid Ganis and his Nazi like staff, go ahead . . . pull a Joe Pesci. As he did in 1990, when accepting his Best Supporting Actor prize for “Goodfellas.” Here is his acceptance speech. In total. And we quote: “It’s my privilege, thank you.” That’s it. Of course, you might have some explaining to do to your agent, manager, producer, director, co-stars, mother, father, wife, children, mistress, illegitimate children, gardener, last night’s hooker . . . you get our point, don’t you?

Be Honest!!!! If you’re able. This is a tricky one. Not everyone can be as charming and quotable as . . . well, us. But some Oscar winners have managed to pull off the enviable. Case in point. Maureen Stapleton for her Best Supporting Actress win in 1981 for “Reds”, who started off her brief thank-yous by stating: “I’m thrilled, happy, delighted – sober!” And topped it by slaying them in the pressroom with her retorts to their endless queries.

“Did you expect to win?”
“Yes, because I’m old and tired and I deserved it and I lost three times before.”

And the zinger:
“How does it feel to be recognized as one of the greatest actresses in the world?”
“Not nearly as exciting as if I were acknowledged as one of the greatest lays in the world.”


And now, we have some “Don’ts” aimed directly at all Academy voters. Actually, we have just one simple "Don't" for them:

Don't Fuck It Up!!! Seriously, people. Think before you vote. This is not the Presidential election. It can't be fixed after the votes have been cast. It's bad enough you voted for "Chicago", "Gladiator", "Forrest Gump" and "Rain Man". And we're pretty sure the last two are the same movie. But please think back to our favorite worst picture winner of all time. 1976s "Rocky". Which not only launched the deadly cinematic career of Sylvester Stallone, and inflict a seemingly endless onslaught of progressively more disgusting sequels . . . it also won the top prize over the following films:

"All the President's Men" - The masterful and still incredibly powerful examination of the downfall of the American presidency. As timely today, as the day it came out.

"Bound for Glory" - a musical biopic of the famed Depression Era folk singer Woody Guthrie, starring David Carradine in a wonderfully downplayed performance. Directed by the great Hal Ashby, filled with terrific period detail and a solid flick. It may not be as famous as the other nominees, but remains far superior to "Rocky".

"Network" - The years ahead of its time dissection of the commercialism disguised as journalism that is the nightly news. Brilliant acting, top notch cast, and great direction. Still, a must see.

"Taxi Driver" - Although it might be responsible for more bad films attempting to emulate its dreamlike, urban vigilante bloodshed - it remains an incredibly powerful film about the twisted life of an outsider with delusions of grandeur. Plus, you get a prepubscent Jodie Foster acting up a storm as the teenage hooker. And who doesn't enjoy a good teenage hooker?

You see our point? So, please, you all ready screwed up the nominees by allowing "Crash" into the party. Pull yourselves together! Go ahead, you know you want to vote for the best nominee, "Brokeback Mountain", just do it! While we may have slightly preferred some other films this year, of the five official nominees the boys are head and chaps above the rest. So, come on Academy voters . . . just this once . . . GET IT RIGHT!!!! Bless you all!


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