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Top 10 Oscar Moments February 19, 2009

(I wrote a few of these while in the throes of being a Vick’s Vapo-Rub Vixen so I’m posting this now before ‘Oscar Fever’ becomes a plague and everyone’s sick of it)oscar_statue1

I have a love/hate relationship with most award shows but none so much as the Oscars. It’s an arbitrary thing to reward one performance and not another, it’s not like each actor or actress did the same role so there could be a sense of symmetry. Then people talk about ‘snubs’ and ‘disses’ which makes me a little sick, because in my opinion, these people are blessed just to be able to make films. To me, they’re lucky already. It’s also hard to take it seriously when you think about the fact that people like Alfred Hitchcock, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne and Stanley Kubrick, among many other huge talents, never received one. I guess it’s like watching a beauty pageant – all the contestants are beautiful in some way but which one carried themselves off the best and campaigned the most convincingly? Still, it’s enjoyable to have friends over, do a pool, make your choices and hope to God somebody does a fun or outrageous stunt or wears a bin-bag so it livens up all the nepotism. And sometimes, your ‘guy’ gets their award, an underdog triumphs and someone says something cool. And ya don’t want to be the pleb that missed it. Here’s my picks from the past:

Stanley Donen’s Honorary Oscar Speech: Even an awards-show-cynic like me couldn’t help but want to just *squeeze* Mr. Donen after this unparalleled acceptance speech; where he combines his effervescent personality, love for song and dance, his youthful enthusiasm for this business we call show and his genuine gratitude into one big ball of happiness. I usually say my Top 10’s are random but this is actually my number one, favourite, can’t-be-beat Oscar moment. There are reasons Hollywood was once known as ‘golden’ and Mr. Donen is one of them. Thanks, Stanley.

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Jack Palance Is A Tough Bastard: He was a million years old when he won for ‘City Slickers’ (“Lord, we give you Curly. Try not to piss him off” – How I longed to say that at my Dad’s funeral! He would have loved it! I was, of course, overruled but I THOUGHT it.) and he put the younger men to shame. Ms Lucky-Pants Melora Donoghue was once at his house and he did the one-armed push-ups for her. I was so jealous when you told me that, girl!

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Will and Jack Sing That Comedians Don’t Get No Oscar Love: There’s many truths spoken by jesters but this truth is sung. The only comedian who seems to get any Academy recognition is Woody Allen (until he married his adopted daughter, that is) and it’s unfair. Mel Brooks once said, “Tragedy is when I cut my finger, comedy is when I fall down a manhole and die.” Comedy is HARD!!! The irony is that it’s always comedians who end up hosting and performing at the Oscars. If I was one of them, I’d rally all my fellow funny men and women together and strike (a FUNNY strike!) until there are some changes in attitude. Get over yourselves, Academy, would it kill you to throw in a nomination – and not just a ‘Supporting’ one now and again – for one of the many deserving comedic performances that grace our movie screens each year?? Sheesh.

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Chris Rock Speaks The Truth: So they didn’t ask him back. Too bad because I freaking loved the guy. I wish I could find the clip of him coming back with his ‘accountants’ (two large, burly men) to challenge Sean Penn when Penn took offence to Rock saying he didn’t really know who Jude Law is or why he was in every movie that year. I love Sean Penn but, come on, man! It was a joke! Hey, Jude Law thought it was funny. Also, it’s not like he didn’t make fun of himself too – (“Hollywood! If you want Denzel and all you can get is ME? Wait”)

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David Niven and The Streaker: Niven gets top billing because of his composure at this uninvited guest’s appearance and the witty, off-the-cuff remark he made. (I confess that I’m tempted to think this was arranged because of the convenient camera angles but it’s more fun to believe that it was all spontaneous, so I will!)

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‘Platoon’ Wins Best Director – Now, If Only The Cameraman Could Find Oliver: Oh Oliver! This would only happen to you. So misunderstood, so controversial, so…who’s the bloke with the ‘tache? In a pack of outstanding talent; Lynch, Joffe, Allen, Ivory; Stone came out ahead and won his Oscar for a picture that meant a great deal to him personally. His speech has become quite prophetic as well (Iraq, anyone?) and many a Vet nodded along in agreement while he said it. And pity the mysterious ‘Moustache Man’ that was mistaken for Stone – he looks sooo embarrassed.

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Billy Crystal Comes Back For One Last Show: Sure he’s corny but so is the whole thing. You can’t deny that he’s a great mediator for this back-slappin’ fest and since the Oscars are something children and the oldsters also watch, you can feel comfortable sitting down with the whole family and not worry you’re going to have to explain to your Grandma what a ‘pimp’ is. He puts so much into it as well that it’s hard not to smile at his parodies.

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Marty Gets His Due: The trifecta of Coppola, Lucas and Spielberg presenting should have told the other 4 directors they could leave right then, get to the parties early and avoid the exit crush. This is what Shakespeare was talking about when he coined the phrase ‘foregone conclusion’. I hate saying people get ‘robbed’ at these things because, like I mentioned before, I think these people are lucky to be given the money and recourses to make their movies but Marty’s case is a unique one. The man who had been robbed SIX times (twice in particular – ‘Raging Bull’ and ‘Goodfellas’ – Coincidently, both times to actors-turned-directors; Robert Redford for ‘Ordinary People’ and Kevin Costner for ‘Dances With Wolves’.) finally got his award after directing so many others to theirs. And he’s such a gent about it. What a class act.

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Michael Moore Has A Bone To Pick: First of all, I applaud Moore for bringing the other nominees up with him. This was the year after someone had the ‘bright’ idea of having these poor people stand on the stage, like at a school prize-giving, to save time but documentarians have long memories – it’s part of the job. What a huge, enormous, big-fat-middle-finger to get on an evening that is supposed to be a career highlight! Everyone who watches the Oscars knows it’s a long show and to have insulted these film-makers (in what certain people call a ‘ghetto category’, for shame…) in order to shave 10 minutes or so from the broadcast was a disgrace. However, a few of them look a little uncomfortable when Mike starts his anti-Bush rant. Hahaha! Oh and I love the fact that pot-stirring Michael looks more happy at the booing than the cheers. Check out Harrison Ford, laughing at all the commotion. Beside him is his original whip-prop from ‘Indiana Jones’! No…sorry…my mistake! That’s Calista Flockhart. (Zing! That’s what you get for messing around with my man, you hussy.)
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Issac Hayes Is A Bad Mutha…Shut Your Mouth!: Pause for a moment to bask in the glory of that incredible tux but don’t let it take away from what is an endearing, heartfelt speech. Mr. Hayes dedicated his award for Best Song; ‘Theme From SHAFT’, to his Granny for her birthday! He may have been a Bad Mutha but he was obviously a very thoughtful and loving Grandson too. Sweet. I can dig it.

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