Yesterday the fiancee and I did the big obvious thing and watched the Oscars; a couple friends of ours have a large annual party, so a couple dozen of mostly theater people got together for an old-fashioned evening of unwise pre-Monday drinking and outraged howling at the television set. We also participated in the usual voting pool, where we both naturally lost. E., the little bastard who won, had set the tone of the evening earlier by showing up with his “theme dish:” a half-case of “About Schmidts.”
J. and S., our hosts, were of course also enabling our profligate behavior; unfortunately, so was I. The house drink of the night was Manhattans, and I had brought along a couple quarts of Bloody Mary mix and a jug of vodka; there was also lots of beer, not to mention certain people other than myself making stealthy trips out to the balcony clutching lighters and sinister pipes. (Of course, by “stealthy” I mean “publicly;” a la, “I’m gonna go get high. Anyone want to come?”)
The food was also good. There was fondue, and cheese and sausages, and at one point my friend C.–who had proudly started drinking as early as possible–hauled out a homemade deep-dish pizza that looked like a fucking geological core sample of the Umbrian countryside. In addition, our host J. is an aspiring pastry chef, so he kept rolling out various fiendish tarts and choco-whatsits and all sorts of addling sweets. So we weren’t hurting for food and drink, unless one was in search of something remotely healthy, in which case that someone would have been laughed at raucously and then dragged out onto the balcony, and then probably would have had a belladonna suppository forced on them, or something equally deranged.
So the Oscars eventually started, and with it of course came the real sport: viciously mocking everything about them. C. got the ball rolling early on when he spotted the very pregnant Catherine Zeta-Jones (like you could avoid the photographer’s loving downshots of her rollicking uberbreasts), and shouted, “Hey, she’s not thin! Lose some weight, fattie!” On the other side of the equation, I noticed a certain cooling-off of my longstanding crush on Renee Zelwegger (which originated with Bridget Jones’ Diary), because she now looks like a piece of utility grade flank steak with a smile-shaped klieg light mounted on it, blasting out THIN-RAYS all over fucking creation, because Christ knows that a dry, desiccated woman is the only kind of tolerable woman. Sigh.
Anyway, things proceeded apace, and we were having a good time; we enjoyed Steve Martin’s calculated viciousness, for the most part, and suffered through all the contest categories that we had utterly no idea how to vote for: short form animation, sound editing, most enthusiastic fluffer, etc. And also the no-brainers, such as visual effects, where even on the small screen it was obvious that The Two Towers made Spider-Man look like it was made by hydrocephalic, piebald donkeys. Foreign films? None of us had seen any of them, of course, not because we wouldn’t enjoy them, but because when you do a bunch of shows it makes it hard to get out and see any fucking movies in the first place, and when it comes to choosing between Chicago and, say, Klimt et Pjuk der Gotterdammerung, what do you suppose your average actor is going to pick? Unless you’re my friends K. and E., who delight in getting stoned and going to see horrors like Dude, Where’s My Car?, an experience that in my opinion still counts as seeing a foreign film.
Then, as everyone now knows, including people trapped alive under miles of glacial ice, the Michael Moore Thing happened. It was another no-brainer vote for Best Documentary, and we waited suspenselessly for his name to be called, and plus nobody in the fucking world saw any of the other films anyway, so it was, and here came good old professionally pugnacious Mike, jowling up to the mic and wasting no time in unleashing his barbless screed to a suddenly booing audience. My friends, lefties all–as am I, mostly–loved it and cheered him on, but it made me sad and angry and despairing. Is this guy the best we can do? He’s just a carping, bloviating sack of crap, a tiresome pedagogue loudmouthing his way into the public arena with hoary nonjokes and toothless nips at our Prez about “fictitious elections” and duct tape references. Fresh, tough stuff, Mike! It really raises the level of discourse! The man is our very own fucking David Horowitz or Rush Limbaugh, a bomb-throwing little paper tiger whose own blast shielding of arrogance and attention-whoring provides the only protection against burning up from his own heat–though of course, precious, precious little light. If we’re taking wan cheer in this guy and his cock-waggling, I’m just going to go to bed for the next few administrations.
Anyway. Sorry, I’ve been doing that all day, and I think it’s out of my system.
So the evening went on, and with a bit more pizzazz than usual in the WHAFUCK? department. For example, Adrien Brody: WHAFUCK? This one knocked pretty much everyone right in the gut, including him, as his face seemed to register about as much hope as Diane Lane had alloted herself for the evening: none. It sure blew me away; I didn’t see The Pianist, natch, but I had pretty much written off the entire field anyway after I saw Daniel Day Lewis in Gangs of New York, which was one of the most ferocious performances I’d ever seen. But Mr. Brody seems like a nice chap, and it was kind of endearing when he absentmindedly swatted away the annoying flybuzz of the orchestra’s “You’re done now” swelling with an annoyed, “Cut it out!” and then placidly continued on with his say, while the conductor stood around wondering who the fuck this anemic little shoe-pisser was.
And then of course the final WHAFUCK? was the Roman Polanski nod for Best Director, which brought a massive standing O, led by Marty Scorcese, who apparently doesn’t mind the decades-long cornholing he’s been receiving from these bastards, but never mind, POLANSKI! And poor Rob Marshall sat there with Harvey Weinstein lurking behind him whispering things like “I’ll eat your head if you show emotion,” and everyone else wondering who the fuck Rob Marshall was and where he came from, and secretly knowing, “Back to oblivion for you, you poor bastard. Harvey’s done with you and now he’s going to push you off the ice floe.” He’ll show up in a couple years on IMDB with credits like L.A. Doughnut Girls and Beckett’s Revenge with Tom Sizemore.
Finally, it was all over, and we sat around the living room like catatonics for a bit before people started realizing that it was 9:00 or so, and that we’d been drinking for hours, and we had to get to fucking work in the morning. The aftermath to an event like the Oscars or the Super Bowl is a lot like what I imagine the end of a porn shoot is like: people are shuffling around with their heads down, reality seeping back in to addled brains, mumbling about cleaning up and needing to get home to feed the dog. And then in the morning, America’s productivity takes a massive plunge as millions of muzzy-headed people listlessly fuck up their daily routines and gingerly sip coffee. That massive hit the stock market took today? That was our fault. That’s right. Me and my couple dozen friends. Who says a few people can’t make a difference?