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Oscar Go Home

This year, 2012, is probably my thirtieth of not
watching Hollywood’s
Academy Awards ceremony. 

Perhaps that entitles me to a special lifetime
achievement award – an Oscar for services to good taste and common sense.

I must confess to having seen one of the nominated
films, The Iron Lady, for which Meryl
Streep won the Best Actress award.  It
marked my second trip to the cinema in five years.  I didn’t like the film much, even though I’m
a sucker for political drama.  I thought
the script was weak, the flashback scenes episodic and cursory, with too much
time spent on Thatcher’s dementia. 

Even for Streep I can only summon grudging praise.  She is brilliant playing Margaret Thatcher,
but somehow so predictably clever that it wasn’t a whole lot of fun to
watch.  The trouble with Streep, I find, is
that you can nearly always hear the wheels turning as she thinks her way into
the part.

Of the rest of the nominated films and actors I
scarcely recognized any, though friends have urged me to see the silent French
film, the name of which I’ve forgotten, though it seems to have won bucket-loads
of awards. 

Billy Crystal again hosted the occasion, apparently
for the eighth time.   No wonder
television audiences are bored – or so I read in some newspaper accounts.  He was never among my favourite stand-up
comedians – a short list in any event – nor as a comic actor.  Come back Henny Youngman.   

In the few clips of the show I saw on news programmes,
most of the actors, whether presenting or winning, as usual contrived to make
themselves look and sound foolish.  I’ve
never understood how people who earn a living speaking lines in front of a
camera, or on stage,  at awards
ceremonies can’t manage to read an auto-cue without stumbling over the words,
lose all sense of timing, and don’t seem to know stage left from right – altogether
resembling eleven year-olds performing in an under-rehearsed school play.  

The actresses – a term we may continue to use as two
of the awards are dedicated to such dear old-fashioned things – once more set
out to prove that an outlandish dress in a vast field of outlandish dresses no
longer qualifies as outlandish.  I can
say this without having seen the show because my newspaper today saw fit to
print pictures of the aforementioned ladies across two entire pages.

I can’t wait not to watch Billy, Meryl et al at next
year’s ceremony, at which time I may well offer further expert commentary.


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