Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Award Shows: They're Kinda Like Crack -- Only With Commercials

I watch all the awards shows. Well, not ALL the awards shows. The big ones that have to do with movies and theatre. Oscars, Emmys, Tonys, SAG Awards (my new favorite), Golden Globes. I'll also tune into the Grammys for a few minutes here and there. Awards shows are the ultimate guilty pleasure. Oh, sure, I could be watching a great re-run of Law & Order: SVU or trying to catch up on Burn Notice or making sure that the episode of Bones isn't the One that my wife keeps telling me about but I can NEVER find..., but awards shows are just too much for me to miss. The drama, the beauty, the ego, the BS, the ridiculous clothing, the bad hair, the unshaven masses, the terrible local coverage. I love it.

Things never work out the way I think they should. Of course, the movie I thought was heads and tails above the rest is always slighted somehow. The one film I didn't see always wins something huge. The actor I thought just sucked out loud is guaranteed a trophy of some kind. Someone will always say something rude and stupid. And, thankfully, something nice and good and kind and maybe even inspiring will eventually occur. At least once. Maybe twice.

I'm still amazed, though, at how an industry who's sole purpose is to entertain us can't put together a better 3 hours of entertainment. With few exceptions, the opening numbers are labored. Getting presenters on and off stage takes forever. They have to walk FAR! The writing is a little heavy handed at times. Oh, and why does everyone have to be announced in? Don't we know who these people are? They are famous after all. If we know Kate Gosslin and Chloe Kardasian, sure we know who Matt Damon and Charlise Theron? Don't we?

Someone or something is always forgotten or flubbed. Leaving Bea Arthur and Farah Fawcett out of the "In Memorial" piece really was inexcusable. I sit through the end credits of every film I go see and I'll bet they don't forget anybody. How does that happen? You remember to put in Michael Jackson AS AN ACTOR but NOT Bea Arthur or Farah Fawcett? Hum. Don't get it.

Then there are the speeches. I have a love/hate relationship with the speeches. I so want them to be inspired oratories on art and dreams. Usually, they are frantic attempts to be sure to thank an agent or publicist. Vapid lists of names no one watching has ever heard of. So you just won an Oscar. What's your agent gonna do, drop you if you don't thank him? Thank your agent at the party. Thanks your manager at the hotel bar or in the limo on the way home. This is YOUR award. YOU did the work. Inspire us with your dreams, fill us with the journey of creating the role, regale us with exotic locations. Don't thank the valet for parking your car close to entrance.

Oh, and for the sake of film and theatre people not as fortunate as you, show some class. Don't cop major attitude when accepting the award as if it actually means something to the rotation of the Earth. More than likely, you weren't the only one considered for the role. More than likely, you don't have the body of work that other more talented nominees in the category have. More than likely, you don't have the training or the experience that your colleagues have. More than likely, your performance struck a cord in the culture and wasn't all that terrific anyway but the the film you were in made an impact that couldn't be ignored. So really, your award is less about YOU and more about the ROLE you played. I'm just saying....

Every year on every show there's gonna be one. At least. One moment that makes you squirm in your La-Z-Boy. One out of place political statement (Oscars/Remember the Brando and Sasheen Littlefeather affair?), one amazing display of ego (VMAs/Can you say "Kanye?"), or one moment of total grandstanding (Oscars/Michael Moore). Hey, it happens. We can't control ourselves.

We show biz folk do have large egos, but most of us also realize that we don't do what we do all by ourselves. Sandra Bullock certainly didn't NEED to be self-effacing and funny. She could have been bitchy and arrogant. She could have told us how awesome she was in the The Blind Side and how all the other nominees were there by the sheer fact that their schedules allowed them to go on talk shows. But she didn't.

See, this why I love awards shows. Other than waiting for Brett Favre to retire and un-retire again, when does a fella really get a chance to this worked up? Now, what's playing at The Bridge tonight?