And the winner is… or isn’t

I don’t usually watch the Academy Awards or any awards show for that matter. I really don’t like hearing a bunch of smug, pompous, out-of-touch, prima donna elitists bashing anyone to the right of them as part of their annual self-backslapping lovefest. When I do watch, it is generally just to see the opening monologue to get a few chuckles, and I rarely go to any of the movies up for awards anyway.

I had no intention of watching the premier Hollywood awards show last night but there was not much else on TV – the networks surrendering to ABC TV’s spectacle, and I like the host, late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel, for the most part. So I surrendered as well, and I am glad I did.

Now I didn’t watch every moment. For much of the show, I had my back to the TV in my office as I did some stuff, but I kept an ear out for when I needed to keep an eye out for anything that might interest me. And no, it wasn’t for this column – I had already written part of another column on a completely different topic.

I actually enjoyed much of what I heard and saw. Yes, Kimmel did some Trump-bashing but it was funny, and not mean-spirited. Others did their parts in the bashing, in more serious fashion, but the usual holier-than-thou unholies kept it zipped.

Kimmel’s “mean tweets” fell a bit flat; they are much better on his late night show. He should have done his “This Week in Unnecessary Censorship” with actors and actresses being bleeped. Oh well. Nobody asked me.

I liked the candy and cookies and donuts dropping by balloons from above the audience. Well, I like anything with candy and cookies and donuts. I thought the tour bus riders detour through the actual Oscar proceedings was cute. There were selfies and handshakes. And then numerous requests for the Purell after the little people had made their exit. “Hey, Matt, can I grab some of that after you?”

I couldn’t wait to see if Meryl Streep would have an opportunity to whine again about the difficulties of being in the acting profession. And she is right, you know. For example, last night, one of the limousines bringing a celebrity to the Oscars actually ran out of osetra sturgeon golden caviar before arriving at the ceremony. Can you believe that? I know. Terrible, right? Don’t you hate when that happens?

OK, OK, so here I go mocking again. Can’t help it. I am a serial mocker. I am a big mocker. Of course I would prefer to be a big macher. But until I am able to mach in any significant way, I will just have to continue to mock.

An Iranian filmmaker who could have been at the awards show but boycotted it because of Trump’s travel restrictions, after his win, had a statement read about the unfairness of the ban. The Iranian foreign minister praised the filmmaker’s boycott.

This is the same foreign minister who yukked it up with former Secretary of State John Kerry and the other suckers who participated in the Iran nuclear agreement a couple years back. Shortly after the minister’s statement, he had the filmmaker’s family arrested and his son hung. Just kidding. But who knows really, considering the human rights abuses and terrorism of the largest state sponsor of terror?

Viola Davis gave what I thought was a bit of a strange and then insulting speech after she won an award.

“You know there’s one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered — one place, and that’s the graveyard. People ask me all the time, ‘What kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola?’ And I say, exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories. The stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition. People who fell in love and lost.” Um, huh?

And then this: “I became an artist and thank God I did because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.” Say what? I thought the nurses who cared for my mother day and night as she was dying from cancer might have a pretty good understanding of “life meaning.” But what the hell do I know? I am not an actor.

The show did its annual memorialization of those within the industry who had died during the previous year by showing the picture of a producer who was alive and kicking. And kicking mad.

Finally, after 30 minutes longer than its allotted three hour TV slot, it was time for the biggest award, that of Best Picture. La La Land already suffering for not sweeping the awards to that point for which it was nominated, at least won Best Picture. Or as the world now knows, didn’t, adding insult to insult.

Dead person not dead. Best Picture winner not Best Picture winner. Welcome to fake news, Hollywood style.

What a mess. Moonlight actually won, but someone from the accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers had apparently given the wrong envelope to the Best Picture presenters, and well, you know the rest. And by the way, does the Academy really need an accounting firm to tabulate the votes? I mean, are deductions being made, or sales of stocks or bonds? Please.

After the debacle, Moonlight actor and Oscar winner, Mahershala Ali, showed a lot of class by his statement: “And then when I did see security or people coming out on stage, and their moment was being disrupted in some way, I got really worried, and then when Jordan Horowitz said, ‘Moonlight, you guys have won,’ it just threw me a bit. It threw me more than a bit. I just didn’t want to go up there and take anything from somebody, you know? And that’s very hard to feel joy in a moment like that.”

All in all, I appreciated how things went and especially how they ended. The Hollywood big shots, stunned when their anointed one, Hillary Clinton lost, got their comeuppance yet again. Another shock to the system to those from the coasts who think they always know better than everyone else most everywhere in between.

The Best Picture mix-up was so jarring that some “A-listers” could barely touch their agnolotti pasta with black truffle and celery-apple filling during the Academy Awards after-party Governors Ball.

OK, enough mocking. For now.

About the Author
Shia Altman who hails from Baltimore, MD, now lives in Los Angeles. His Jewish studies, aerospace, and business and marketing background includes a BA from the University of Maryland and an MBA from the University of Baltimore. When not dabbling in Internet Marketing, Shia tutors Bar and Bat Mitzvah, and Judaic and Biblical Studies to both young and old.
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