It's here at last, one of my favorite nights of the year. Sunday night the Academy Awards will be passed out in Hollywood, and I will be perched in front of my TV sets for the entire spectacle.
One of my friends likes to refer to Oscar Night as "My Superbowl". I feel the same way, even though I take at least a passing interest in the football bowl as well. For performing arts people like us, things just don't get any more exciting, moving, cheesy and charming, often all at the same time.
I'm not sure when I first watched the Oscars, we didn't have a TV when I was young so I was probably about 9 or so. But the first Oscars I remember watching was the legendary "streaker" show of 1973. For those who don't remember, running naked into camera range at public events was quite the fad back then, so naturally the Oscars got it as well. The streaker himself would be barely remembered however, if it weren't for what came next: David Niven's brilliant ad lib.
In later years it has been suggested the line was prepared for Mr Niven. I maintain it doesn't matter. What mattered is that he kept his composure and got the line out. I judge all future ad libs by comparison with this.
When I got to college I met a number of other people who were equally crazy about the Oscars. Some of my fondest college memories revolve around our Oscar Night parties, complete with Oscar pool--I even won one year.
In those days it was easy to handicap the pool, because I went to a lot of movies. An on campus movie theatre showing cheap movies was most helpful here. After college I usually waited for the movies to get to cable, which was usually long after the awards were passed out. In 1993 I saw Schindler's List before the awards ceremony. It was the last time I saw the winner in a theatre until 2011 when my daughter and I saw The King's Speech at the cinema. (It was also the last R rated film I saw in a theatre till the King's speech, the interim was filled with a lot of Disney films and Harry Potter)
In a way though, its even more fun if you don't have a particular film you are rooting for. That way you are free to focus on what really matters: politics, personalities, and dresses.
Oh the dresses. Who can forget (without therapy anyway) Bjork's swan dress:
Or the year Cher came out in this, then announced she had read the memo on dressing like a serious actress.
Or how about some of these?
Like people who only watch the Super Bowl for the halftime show, for some folks this is what the Oscars are all about.
It will come as no surprise to those who know me that I get my hanky out for the In Memoriam segment. Moreover I pride myself on only occasionally saying "I didn't realize _________died" or worse yet, "I thought _________died years ago"
My favorite awards are the upsets, and what I like to call "High Effing Time" awards, as in "It's High Effing Time_________________won an Oscar.
For the last 15 years or so, as all those college friends moved away, I usually watched the awards alone. (My composer husband was only interested in the music awards), unless there was a film up the kids were interested in. (This year the Boy is pulling for Zero Dark Thirty, the Girl for Les Miserables). But modern technology is a wonderful thing, and now I am able to text and chat all through the big show. Nothing closes the miles between us like watching the same
In all its overblown glory there is nothing quite like it. Roll out the red carpet and let the Awards begin!
Before I watch the awards I am hanging out at Yeah Write Moonshine Grid. You should go check these awesome bloggers out too.