OSCAR GOES TO
25 March 2003
a weird evening. After a day of all-war-all-day, to go to an Oscars party. Something not
quite right about getting ready for a party in the midst of all that was going on in Iraq.
But the show was going on, and so was I.
I was going with Shelly and Ellen and it was a costume party. I don't do costume
parties. I don't do costumes. There are several reasons why I don't do costumes--first of
all, until fairly recently, any costume I might think of wouldn't fit. Second, I'm always
self-conscious and don't know how to act when I'm dressing up. And third, I have zero
imagination and can never come up with anything.
[Aside: We did once go to a costume party in costumes that I liked. We had two friends,
Andrij and Ed. Andrij was blonde and thin; Ed was dark and heavy. The two of them both
liked to speak Russian to each other. Walt and I went dressed as Ed and Andrij and were a
hit, I think.
Oh--I also gave a costume party once. It was for Walt's 30th birthday and at the time
Laugh In was quite big Anybody old enough to remember Laugh In, or watch
reruns on Comedy Central may remember the Farkle Family--a whole family of redheads with
freckles, none of whom was terribly bright. This was a surprise party and everybody showed
up at the front door en masse dressed as Farkles. Jeri, who was 5 years old, loved that
party, I recall!]
But I digress.
Shelly doesn't like costumes either, though Ellen loves them. Ellen came up with a
great idea for Shelly and me--we would go as a reporter team for the National Enquirer.
Shelly would be the reporter and I would be...what else?...the photographer. The costume
was pretty simple. I made business cards for each of us and we wore our credentials on our
collars. I carried a camera. Voilą--instant costume.
It was a fairly small group--maybe a dozen women--and too much food, of course.
Everyone had some sort of costume, from Virgina Woolf (from The Hours) to a
Hobbit, to costumes from Chicago to one of the guys from Price Waterhouse. A nice mix. (And a couple who didn't come in costume, who we
decided must have been "fans") Ellen was a billboard for Adaptation.
I don't know why I like the Academy Awards so much. It is a rare year when I've seen
more than one or two of the nominated movies--and once we got past the Golden Age of
Hollywood, I don't really recognize a lot of the "stars" these days. But there
is just something so deliciously tacky about it all. And I love the retrospectives (though
I'm sure Steve and Jimmy are feeling smug since Ethel Merman was a presence this year, and
Judy Garland was not).
This year I had slept through several of the nominated films. Lord of the Rings:
The Two Towers, was one and Chicago was another. I didn't realize I'd slept
through Chicago until I began seeing clips of it on talk shows and then realized
I didn't remember any of it, save the beginning and the end. I must see it again. It's not
that I don't like the movies. It's just that I'm so sleep deprived most of the time that
when you put me in a dark room without a computer keyboard under my fingers, I just can't
I had managed to stay awake through Bowling for Columbine, The Hours
(which I snuck away from work one day to see) and Frida (ditto). But other than
that, I'd missed all of the nominated films. Still I love the corny speeches and the tears
and watching people get up and accept awards (like the guy who won for The Pianist)
give me an idea of movies I might like to either try to catch on Cable or get on DVD.
But the real surreal part of watching the show this year was that during commercial
breaks, we'd get updates on the war. "Well, they've just killed 12 of our men--and
now back to the Academy Awards." Talk about a jarring roller coaster of an evening!
It was a nice diversion, and a lovely evening, and a nice break from all the heavy duty
typing I'd been doing all weekend. And the war was still waiting for me when I got home.