March 24, 2003

Why do I hate the Oscars®?

Let me count the ways.

More accurately, I should ask, Why do I hate and almost never watch the Oscars®, also known as the Academy Awards®?

First, that damned "®" the grandiosely named Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences insists everyone use when writing about their little ceremony and its mantelpieces.

Second, and probably most important, I rarely go to the movies. In the last three years I have seen one, just one, movie in a theater, and that was when I accompanied two of my nephews to the first "Harry Potter" film. I prefer to watch at home.

(Why so infrequently? Shall I count these reasons as well? Topping the list: patrons acting as if they're watching the movie in their living room, with their incessant chatter, the constant inquiries such as "Wait. Who's that again?", "I must have missed something.", "What did she say?", shoes removed to reveal socks ridden with holes or poorly tended bare feet, legs thrown over the seats in front, etc. And don't even get me started on popcorn: I hate the taste, smell, and very sight of it, and the sound is even worse, particularly as it's shoveled into the mouths of moviegoers who apparently fasted for days beforehand. Oh, for the glory days of the "Paris" on New York's W. 59th St., back when that theater had no concessions whatsoever.)

Third, it's a stupid and venal industry, reeking of self-importance and self-righteousness from top to bottom. Acting is a difficult craft, they tell us. Yeah, right. Give me 60 attempts -- "takes," they call them -- at virtually anything and I'll get it right at least once.

Fourth, but by no means the last (I'll stop here), all too often the wrong people win Oscars®. Nicole Kidman? Kidman is the "best actress"? This woman is considered an actress at all? (By the way, I have it on very good authority -- Popbitch, to be specific -- that it's a wig. No, not what she was wearing during the filming of "The Hours," what she wears all the time.)

Speaking of the wrong people winning Oscars®, it happened again last night. Just yesterday I learned the always-outstanding Kathy Bates was up for best supporting actress for her performance in "About Schmidt." Recalling that this is normally one of the first awards of the evening, I figured I would tune in for at least a brief while, simultaneously writing checks and dealing with other miscellanea.

And she lost. Bates lost to someone named Catherine Zeta-Jones, one of the two overly made-up faces that sneer at me day after day in the newspaper advertisements for "Chicago," the night's big winner.

Granted, I didn't see "Chicago." I didn't even see "About Schmidt." (The film stars the insufferable and wildly overrated Jack Nicholson. I may never see it.) So you're probably muttering to yourself, "You don't know what you're talking about." But I do. I know Bates's work well. She is uniformly excellent. I know, I simply know, that when I finally succumb and watch "About Schmidt" -- fast-forwarding through the Nicholson parts -- I will be dazzled, amazed, and thoroughly impressed.

To hell with the Oscars® and the Academy Awards®.

(Oh, and in case you missed it, and you probably did, the presumably uniformly thin entertainment reporters at the Philadelphia Daily News think Bates and Geena Davis are fat.)


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