So one year in the mid-90’s I wrote a bitchy Oscarcast review and sent it my contacts via this email feature. In the Levine household it’s a tradition for the whole family to gather together to make fun of pompous celebrities. Some families unite to decorate Christmas trees. We converge to take pot shots at famous people who have it coming.
His film SAVING PRIVATE RYAN lost movie of the year to SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. At the time I wrote:
Spielberg was so "upset" he wouldn't talk to reporters afterwards. What a brat! For most people on the planet winning the Best Director Award would be enough to satisfy you for one night.
Spielberg’s Oscar grubbing became the theme for the review and it grew in length considerably. So did the amount of reactions. For the first time it occurred to me – hey, people are actually reading my nonsense.
From there the reviews got longer and I’ve been doing them ever since. And once I started a blog I began filing them there as well. I always write the review immediately after the show and post it early the next morning. If a joke I write is similar to one someone else has written I want it very clear I wasn’t stealing. On the other hand, I hear from friends that certain radio personalities lift my material verbatim without credit. That’s a great way to get yourself removed from my address list.
Over the years I’ve had newspapers in London and Toronto pay me to reprint them. And for several years I allowed the Huffington Post to reprint them. But that was before AOL bought them for $315 million and writers still were not being paid.
At times it’s been difficult to do these reviews. Last year in particular. We had a power failure fifteen minutes into the show. Of all the nights! I had to frantically call around, find a neighbor who not only had power, was watching and didn’t mind uninvited company but was recording it (so I could go back and catch the parts I missed). My notes were scribbled on bar napkins.
Twice I was in Hawaii and they tape-delayed them. For five hours. Jesus. They were live I’m in sure in Guam and Fiji but not our 50th state. By the time I started writing my review others reviews were already posted. One of the years was poor planning on our part. We flew home the next morning. So I stayed up all night writing the review then had to go right to the airport. Everyone got off the plane refreshed and rejuvenated and I looked like the dog's breakfast.
Over time hosts change. Locally on KTLA Sam Rubin has been a mainstay, fawning to the point of groveling over these stars as he asks innocuous questions. And he’s always joined by some inter-changeable bimbo, thus keeping the Tawny Little tradition of stupidity alive. Half the time I don’t even know who these airheads are. But Sam and strumpet are always good for at least two horrifying or inappropriate questions. There’s also network coverage now, which I peruse but it’s usually just vapid. Where’s the delicious fun in that? Yes, there’s Joan and Melissa Rivers but that’s a lesson in how desperation saps all comedy.
My question is why can’t they get someone good to host these things? I mean, you have a good idea of what stars are going to be parading by. Perhaps you could uh.. PREPARE some questions. Or has that never once occurred to any of these professionals?
Imagine Stephen Colbert hosting it? Or Triumph the Insult Comic Dog? Now you’ve got a show!
Of course I could say the same thing about the Oscarcast itself. Why can’t it be better?
Maybe it’s just the nature of the beast; the bloated format just prevents it. I was invited to write for the show one year but was doing ALMOST PERFECT at the time and was not available. Perhaps it’s an impossible task. Can you think of one Academy Awards show that was truly GREAT? Most are too long, ponderous, and predictable and yet we watch every year anyway. On the other hand, it gives snarky bloggers a lot more to write about.
Good luck to all the nominees. Talk to you in the morning with my thoughts.