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Monday, 06 March
Ang: Tough

For the past few years, the wife and I have regularly attended the Oscar parties of our friends S. and J. Unfortunately, in the past year, S. and J. shamefully and lily-liveredly moved to fucking CHICAGO, leaving our circle of friends partyless for good old Oscar. (Actors are, of course, genetically required to watch this shit, if by "watch" you mean "cavil at" and "pretend not to notice the roomful of cognitive dissonance." Actors would like very much not to care, but they do care deeply, but would also like very much for everyone else not to realize that they care, while recognizing the same about everybody else in the room. This is another reason why we drink.)

So the wife and I decided that we'd half-assedly host our own this year, and invited dozens of our friends. We cleaned! We tidied! We spruced up the place! (We vacuumed, basically.) And for our pains, about ten people showed up, a little over half of whom stayed for the whole gloomy affair. I don't really blame all the people who didn't show up. For one thing, I am a notorious asshole with a well-documented predilection for shouting horrible vituperatives at the screen. For another, everything about our announcements screamed, "We are not emotionally invested in your attendance." Awesome.

We did the little bring-a-themed-food thing, which was met by yawning indifference by everyone but D., who showed up with a crock pot. "Whatcha got?" I asked. "Cinderella Manwiches," he replied. Even if anyone else had brought properly-themed food, D. would have easily won. The best I could come up with was "Tang Lee," which at least was a decent choice for someone on a budget. I could not actually bring myself to buy any Tang, however. Our friend M. showed up with a bottle of wine and some microwave burritos. I didn't ask.

Oh yeah! There was also the show. Well, that was dull as hell, wasn't it? Jon Stewart was clearly awkward (nervous?) at the top, but later settled in, with some gems, including a nice Scientology wink as well as his standard fare of clever Jewish-themed gags. I didn't take any damn notes, and this has all been done to death anyway, so I'll just hit what high/lowlights I remember.

Early on, of course, there isn't shit to do but mercilessly evaluate the womens' wardrobe choices. A couple of gals had made yet again the baffling choice to garb themselves in skin-ish colored dresses, which always weirds me out. So. . . you look naked . . . but also, either 1. textured or 2. lumpen. Both of which are, I think we can agree, two of the sexiest adjectives in the lexicon. Naomi Watts in particular, who is a ridiculously pretty woman, did herself no favors in an outfit that seemed to highlight prominent abdominal tumors. Or there was Charlize Theron, another lovely actress of South African extraction, whose shoulder anomaly prompted me to speculate that is where she keeps her supply of Krugerrands. Then I imagined the Lethal Weapon boys chasing her down, and her screaming "DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY!" but old Mel Gibson blows her damn shoulder off anyway, and then he and Danny Glover roll around in the apartheid gold. Or something.

Nicole Kidman looked, at first blush, as dynamite as usual on the red carpet. Then something unfortunate revealed itself under the podium lights: she had been lacquered to within an inch of her life. Onstage, her sheened face suddenly began to display unusual sunspot activity; she'd turn her head and one cheek would suddenly fluoresce, and then with another turn, her forehead suddenly appeared bacon-ready. It was terribly freakish. "She has Zellweger Face," intoned D. Indeed. Not to be confused with later presenter Jennifer Garner, dubbed "Man-Jaw," at least until all the guys in the room stopped looking at her face. She had a jaw? She had a face? The men in the room were suddenly silent as we watched her holy jigglewalk. I wasn't even worried when she stepped on her own dress and went into a couple little skids: she laughed it off charmingly, and plus, she had front-impact airbags if she happened to go down. She almost--almost--made Salma Hayek seem like a letdown.

The March of the Penguins guys were met with jeers and derision from our crowd as they took the stage with giant stuffed penguins. "They're French," I moaned, having no real point. D. opined that it would have been better had they lost, so they could be filmed leaving carrying their loser fucking penguins. I then offered that it would have been even better if the Murderball guys had won, because then they could have stormed the stage hoisting giant plushy cripple dolls. Conversation only deteriorated from there, and somehow wound up with the idea of dead babies being dropped from the skies, like the toads in Magnolia. I don't know. This is what happens when we don't want to listen to French documentary filmmakers give acceptance speeches while holding onto stuffed penguins.

Did I mention Ben Stiller? No, I did not, because Ben Stiller fucking sucks. He's milked this not-really, not-really-convincing rageboy act so insistently and so single-mindedly that this comedy cow's tortured udder is chapped beyond medical repair, and the cow has taken the trouble to learn human speech so it can turn to him and say, "Let go of my teat, you fucking tool." He is as funny as a shaving cut.

And blah blah blah. When it came down to it all, nothing was very surprising at all. Even in our small field of entrants (five), I took the prediction contest. The only big category I lost was the same one everybody else did, when Crash took Best Picture. My friend K. screamed, "NO!" with more force than the rest of the room, since she was the only one who had seen it. (I really don't give a shit if I ever do. It sounds awful.) I yelled, "Cut to Ang Lee! I want to see all his hair fall out!" There was more than one of us who thought that when Jack "RRRRR!" Nicholson was simply making a horrible, cruel joke when he barked out that fateful syllable . . . but no.

In the end, after all the talk of whether or not Hollywood (and, by laughable extension, our whole beknighted country) was ready to fully laud a film where rabbit-eyed cowboy Jake Gyllenhall happily takes it up the ass . . . the answer was a clear "Nope." We just weren't ready.

Ang Lee, though? Well . . . bend over.

Note: Comments are closed on old entries.


Your writing keeps me entertained and pulls me in. I really enjoy reading your blog. Your Oscar commentary is great. The Nicole Kidman stuff is too funny... I wish I could have seen it.

Comment number: 006683   Posted by: tooners on March 7, 2006 01:43 AM from IP:

I've been waiting for Skot's annual Oscar Love-Fest! It is the highlight of the whole high-speed multicar pileup that is the "occasion."

My wife thought Penelope Cruz was fat; I thought she was Salma Hayek and hot. Was it really Salma?

Maybe not your type, but I almost creamed my jeans for Zhang Ziyi. Damn if I didn't miss Jessica Alba, though.

As one of my students said, who wants to see a movie about gay cowboys?

As I said, who wants to see a movie that's sympathetic to suicide terrorists?

Comment number: 006685   Posted by: Squidley on March 8, 2006 12:07 AM from IP:

Well, the Oscars (the repeat) didn't get my heart to racing like yours... no cute men, except for Georgey boy. What happened to all the cute guys at the Oscars? I didn't see Salma or Jessica Alba... oh no, I forget, I did see her, I think. Or maybe it was a commercial... hmmm, can't remember.

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