By Maria Schulz
Yes, the Oscars happened almost 2 weeks ago, but I’m still seeing red carpet shows and Oscar commentaries in an endless loop on the TV at the gym. Usually, well-dressed women and men sit around in a circle, speaking earnestly about the ramifications of winning or not winning this coveted golden boy from the very, super-important Academy of Motion Pictures.
Is it just me, or do most people find that these award shows simply exist to give The Simpsons writers an easy target for their next plot? I often think that’s the reason for the Halftime Show at the Super Bowl, but that’s a whole different post.
I think the Academy Awards could really last just about 10 minutes. If it were up to me, I’d put my brother Jude in charge of the proceedings. He could walk out on the stage, scowl, and then put on his glasses with a long, tortured sigh that made him sound an awful lot like my mother. Then, he’d read these four categories and winners, with some short banter:
Best Supporting Actor: The Django guy, Christoph Waltz. Cool, man.
Best Supporting Actress: Ann Hathaway. Hey, what’s with that dress?
Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence. Watch the stairs!!! Oh sorry. Guess I should’ve said that before you got up.
Best Actor: Daniel Day Lewis. Loved you as Hawkeye in Last of the Mohicans. But My Left Foot? Not so much. I’ll catch you in Lincoln when it goes to DVD.
Best Movie: Argo. Ben, I didn’t see it, but good for you! You showed the Academy big time.
He would lob the Statuettes out to the winners before they even hit the stage and wrap up the proceedings by saying. “That’s it! Now go home!”
But instead…the show lasts 4 or 5 hours, with endless speeches, tears, dances, songs, and a montage of dead celebrities.
I read somewhere that a whole gang of people from Andy Griffith’s home town were so upset that he was snubbed by the dead celeb montage producers that they had their own protest. The Thursday night after the Oscars, they pre-empted the hot Thursday night lineup (really? Are Cheers and Friends still on?) so they could watch Matlock re-runs all night long.
Hmmm…if Matlock is the best you can do to represent Andy Griffith’s body of work, maybe the Academy had its reasons.
I always enjoy watching the stars sashay across the red carpet. Just like some people only watch the Super Bowl for the commercials, I’m one of those people who gets a kick out of seeing everyone looking all glam on Oscar Night.
People are still talking about Ann Hathaway’s Prada gown like she committed the crime of the century by wearing it. I mean, she probably had about 50 people standing around her during the fittings, bringing her mineral water and fixing her makeup. Do you mean no one ever said, “Ann, ditch this gown. The seams look like elongated nipple slits!” What are those people for if not to notice these things?
The placement of the seams was odd, but I still thought she looked classy and beautiful. The truth is, she could show up in a burlap sack and look great. But what do I know? She was on the top of every “EPIC FAIL” red carpet list out there.
Really? Didn’t anyone see that mess of a dress that Kristen Stewart was wearing? It didn’t even look like it fit. But still, you have to hand it to her: despite the crutches, the bad dress, and the sneer, she still managed to walk the red carpet. I thought that was admirable, especially now that she’s a vampire.
If I had been there, I would have asked these hard-hitting questions:
“Kristen! Kristen! Did you get hurt in the War between the Werewolves and the Vampires? When you became a vampire, did you lose all sense of fashion? Did Victoria come back from the really undead to break your leg? Or did you burn your foot on Edward when he was glittering in the sunlight?”
These are the kinds of questions I think people (especially Twi-Moms) really want to get the answers to, and most likely the reason I don’t have a press pass.
How about Joan Rivers? She sure has a lot to say on her Fashion Show. I don’t necessarily agree with anything she says, but she does make me laugh out loud just because of how outrageous her comments tend to be. The thing I wonder about her is: if she’s been saying anything and everything that pops into her head for the past 70+ years, what happens when being old kicks in and SHE LOSES HER FILTER? Now that will be an Oscar Red Carpet Show that no one will want to miss.
When Kelly Osborne, her illustrious co-host, wondered what Kristin Stewart was doing on the Red Carpet since she looked so unhappy there, Joan replied, “she’s probably on the hunt for a vampire, or a married English director she can sleep with.” OUCH. Ah, the Oscars really do bring out the best in people!
The press also laced into Renee Zellwegger for the gown she wore since it’s the same color as Oscar himself. One magazine even gave her an “F” for wearing a gold dress. Now come on! She looks smoking hot in that gown. It’s not her fault that Oscar is the same color. Besides, he doesn’t even own a dress!
And what about Jennifer Aniston? She looked gorgeous in that floor length red Valentino gown. I was slightly confused, though, because I recently saw a headline that screamed: JEN & JUSTIN ARE HAVING TWINS! I was looking forward to seeing a pregnant celebrity looking enormous, but she didn’t look pregnant at all. At that moment, my mother’s voice popped into my head, saying: “This is why you shouldn’t trust supermarket tabloids!” As my daughters would say, “true dat, Mom.”
I think the biggest surprise of the night was that Meryl Streep didn’t win an Oscar in every single category, including Best Boy.
All of these Oscar thoughts made me remember how much I loved awards shows when I was a kid. I used to see a minimum of 30 movies a year (all with babysitting money that I earned) and spent countless hours watching TV and even Broadway shows. I loved watching Awards shows and got an enormous kick out of seeing everyone’s reaction when they won.
Lucky for me, this coincided with the dreaded Speech class assignment: create, write and perform a 5-minute speech on any topic in front of the class. Since the Academy Awards, Emmys and Tonys were all on in the weeks before, I knew that was the topic for me.
I was sick to my stomach the day of the speech because:
1) I am shy. Really. People don’t believe this, but it’s true
2) I hate performing in front of people. I do it when I have to, but I’m not the person who lives to do it
3) I love comedy, and realize how hard it is to make people laugh (on purpose)
But I was resigned to my fate. If I didn’t get up there and at least try, my speech teacher, Mr. Pluta, would have no problem metaphorically slashing me to bits and destroying what was left of my shaky self-confidence. Then, horror of horrors, I would get an F. It would go on my permanent record card and I would never, ever, be able to get a respectable job or enter the navy. Not that I wanted to enter the navy, but I didn’t want that option closed to me forever either.
No way was I going to get an F (unless of course, I wore gold to the Academy Awards).
My speech teacher called my name, and I went up in front of everyone.
“And the winner is: MARIA!” I yelled.
I began to scream like someone was taking a machete to the back of my head. Then I started jumping up and down and crying. I held an imaginary microphone up and fumbled for my imaginary note-cards.
“I’d like to thank my parents, brothers, relatives, dogs, friends, The Academy, all the little people, my hair stylist, Sister Barbara, Mrs. Costello and J.R. Ewing from Dallas. Thank you all for inspiring me and believing in me!”
Once everyone stopped laughing, I launched into real speeches that were given at awards shows, including the one I admired by James Garner when he won the Emmy for Best Actor in The Rockford Files. It went something like this:
“Wow, this is great. Thanks a lot.” He waved the statuette at the audience and left the stage.
My speech was a big hit and actually won me a spot in the coveted year-end Speech Contest. I was competing against some Speech Contest heavy-hitters like my brother Chris, my best friend Maureen, and my classmate Gus.
I was sick for the week leading up to the contest because I had visions of blowing it and being pelted with tomatoes and eggs. My classmates were a really tough crowd.
When my turn came to go out on the stage, I brought the house down with my screams and my acceptance speeches. Everyone was laughing and I was having fun. But then…
I looked out in the audience and saw Chris laughing.
Chris has always had the power to make me fall over laughing at the most inopportune moments. He realized immediately that I was in trouble and shook his head at me, as if to say KEEP GOING!
Too late. I didn’t fall over laughing, but I did manage to forget my lines for a soul-crushing eternity. It could have been 10 seconds or two hours, I’m not really sure since I’ve managed to block out most of the event up to this point. What I do remember is that everyone in the audience looked sorry for me. I think I would have preferred being pelted by tomatoes and eggs.
When I finally regained my footing, I managed to win back the crowd and finish without blowing any more of my lines. But I knew I wouldn’t be walking away with Oscar gold. Thankfully, I didn’t have Joan Rivers or the Fashion Police there to make me feel even worse by giving me an “F” for the dress I was wearing.
Maureen, Chris, and Gus took 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. The judges gave me 2nd honorable mention. Thank goodness Meryl Streep wasn’t there.
When life hands you a sad crowd who might throw tomatoes and eggs at you, what should you make? A frittata. Try this Italian Frittata:
If you don’t like salami, you can substitute bacon or pancetta (or whatever you like).
Here’s the Top 20 Frittatas at All Recipes:
So Hungry Lifers, what’s your favorite Oscar moment? What did you think about the Red Carpet? Did you ever have to give an acceptance speech? Please leave a comment below and let us all know. Thanks!