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throwing off the chains of Oscar

Friends, at 10.07 p.m. last night, I cut myself loose from the shackles that have bound me for so many years; I picked up the channel changer and I TURNED OFF THE OSCARS. Only two hours wasted, instead of nearly four.

Just couldn’t stand it. The look on George Clooney’s incredibly handsome face whenever they panned to him said it all. “Who are those #$@%* idiots?” he was clearly thinking. The whole thing was so foolish, so far removed from life, like watching fancy tropical fish float about in a sparkly tank. I watched the half hour before the ceremony, with fawning interviewers showing us the dresses, all those talented women squashed into brightly-coloured cream puffs – young Carey Mulligan with giant chandeliers hanging from her earlobes, intelligent Vera Farmiga drowning in maroon ruffles – ye gods.
And then the show itself, with two cynical, unfunny men leading us through. One more lame, tame, self-centered joke from Steve Martin – how for Queen Latifah, working with him was the highlight of her life – and I thought I’d climb through the TV and punch him. How I missed Jon Stewart, the Hollywood outsider who brought some sharp-witted relevance. Or the wonderful Hugh Jackman, a singing dancing joking dervish. Our hosts last night quipped and drawled themselves, and us, to sleep.
There was no Canadian content to root for, no National Film Board, no Ellen Page. James Cameron’s “Canadian roots” don’t count, and Christopher Plummer didn’t stand a chance. What a wise and lively face that great actor has, though. If the camera had simply swung between Plummer and Clooney for most of the night, that would have been fine. And what was with the long shots, so that you couldn’t even see the presenters? Colin Firth, Keanu Reeves – yes, Canadian content – Kathy Bates – tiny figures far away, filmed from New Jersey.
The only bit of true humour I saw, before liberating myself, was Robert Downey Jr. and Tina Fey arguing about who is more important, the writer or the actor. “Sickly little mole people!” he shouted about writers. It’s true that with Kathryn Bigelow’s win, the evening was a triumph at last for female directors – and also for ex-wives. The night provided a runway for big, juicy women, hooray. Thank God for the documentary category, which forces consideration of the planet’s meatier, dirtier stories.
But otherwise, I thought the Oscar show last night was a parade of shallow.



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I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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