I moved to California to become an actor and failed. I can’t say I gave it my best effort. That was when I peaked as a screw-up. I spent more time watching movies, up to three a day, to escape, than I did practicing my craft, though I did take lessons. And when I took the time to memorize my lines, I did well, but that was the exception.
Perhaps if I’d spent more time acting instead of watching movies and the Oscars, dreaming that one day I’d be up there thanking my agent and everyone at William-Morris, including the lowly assistant that once brought me a diamond-studded bottle of Evian when my mouth was dry from negotiating the size of my trailer’s hot tub on the set of my next blockbuster movie, I would have had an acting career.
So, as a long-time Academy Awards freak, who used to watch every minute of every show, I feel they’ve become so “yesterday” and stale, delivering the same formula every year. Even worse, each year is more sanitized than the previous year, going as far as casting two harmless young actors to host for fear a comedian might tell a joke making fun of spoiled millionaires who have the greatest career in the world and can order anything they want from the Pottery Barn catalog. Poor, sensitive show-biz folk.
Where did the surprises go? The unpredictable moments? The politically incorrect? The causes? It’s definitely show “business” now, wrapped in a sterile Kraft cheese-slice wrapper. How many thank you’s to agents, mothers and God can one take in three-plus hours?
There’s something disconcerting about watching all of these masterpieces of make-up and genetics get up on stage to receive a reward for having the greatest job in the world – and thanking others who have the greatest job in the world. They are rewarded for being the most pampered of the pampered.
Then there’s the apples to oranges problem. How do you compare these talented people and works of art to each other and say one is better, or the best? It would be easier to get over this hurdle, as it was in previous years, if the show was better. Now it’s lack of meaning and quality opens it up to criticism and the picking of rotting meat from its bones.
I say blow it all up and give it an Ultimate Fighting Championship flavor mixed with a dash of Wipeout and spoonful of Survivor. I’d like to see the actors battle for the award. Put them all on stage, the Oscar in the center, and let them run for it like a Barry Bonds homerun ball. Spray wet cement and margarine on the stage while they fight it out. The actor who comes up with the Oscar, keeps it. Perhaps, the Oscars could go Pay-Per-View?
Even this concept might get old after a while with the winners constantly thanking their trainers: “Thank you to my Ultimate Fighting Coach, Busta Cap, who taught me how to crush a man’s ribs with two fingers. Sorry about the hurt I put on you, James Franco, but the Oscar is mine. All mine. ‘F’ all of you. I am the best actor – and I got the gold in my hand to prove it.”
It might get old eventually, but it would keep me off my DVR remote’s fast forward button for a few years.