Friday, February 28, 2014


For many years, we've had a tradition at the Ol' Fish-Eye homestead. While we munch on my legendary, lovingly-prepared cheeseburgers, my wife and daughter critique the dresses, jewelry and make-up sported by the actresses on the red carpet leading up to the Academy Award broadcast. This is far more important than the awards themselves. For a while, whenever I informed my daughter that a particular awards show was airing, her first question was always, "Does it have a red carpet?" It tended to be spoken in the same breathless tones I would imagine Leon Panetta had when asking operatives if they were sure they located Osama bin-Laden watching porn videos in Pakistan. Not once, by the way, have we ever made it through an entire Oscar® ceremonies. I always want to shut it off at the two hour mark, but the girls always insist on keeping it on an extra 30 minutes. If we lived on the West Coast, where it begins at 5:30, we'd probably have no choice but to watch the whole damn thing, which makes living through Northeast winters worth it.

This year, though, is to be different. No, we're not going to watch the whole thing -- that would be a vesper horribilis. Rather, my daughter will be out with friends while my wife is away for the week. This will leave me in the peculiar position of making good on my annual pronouncement: "If it wasn't for you two, I wouldn't be watching this crap." Well, big boy, whaddaya got to say now?

If I do give in to my weaker self -- something I've been mighty good at for, oh, 58 years now -- I figured I might as well make it that much easier by playing my Oscar® Drinking Game. In fact, you might want to try it yourself. If history is any guide, you should be passed out by the time they get to best Special Effects. So drink a shot for the following:

During the pre-monologue segment, Ellen DeGeneres puts herself into a scene from Gravity. An extra shot if she's joined by an actor other than George Clooney. 

DeGeneres puts herself into a scene from Wolf of Wall Street -- specifically, getting hundred-dollar bills glued onto her. 

DeGeneres puts herself into the "I'm the captain now" scene from Captain Phillips.

DeGeneres puts her voice into a scene from Her.

Random jokes about the California drought, California floods, Alec Baldwin, the polar vortex, shutting down the government, Martin Scorsese, the hairstyles in American Hustle, Meryl Streep's 18 Oscar® nominations over the years, Obamacare and Arizona's "religious freedom" law vetoed by Gov. Brewer.

The orchestra plays "wacky" music during the Best Animated Short segment. 

Standing ovations for presenters Angelina Jolie, Sidney Poitier and Kim Novak.

Oscars® for documentaries about crippled kids and/or the Holocaust.

Inappropriate cutaways during the "In Memoriam" segment. Bette Midler is going to be on the show, so another shot if she sings "Wind Beneath My Wings" during this portion. And although the segment is supposed to be for those who died in 2013, extra shots if they pay tribute to Shirley Temple, Harold Ramis and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Two more shots if Hoffman's image appears last to the biggest applause of the evening.  

Lowly winners getting shooed off the stage after 30 seconds while the big guns (actor, actress, director) get all the time in the world to yammer.

Agents thanked before loved ones.

Standing ovations for any winner of 12 Years a Slave, which makes the white people in the audience feel good about themselves before they return to their gated communities that night, and to work the following morning at the studios run by white males.

(Post-Oscar update: Went to bed at 10:30. I called the jokes about rain in California, Streep and Scorcese; "Wind Beneath My Wings"; Phillip Seymour Hoffman; the lowly winners vs the big guns; agents thanked before loved ones; documentary category; and the standing ovations for 12 Years a Slave. Haven't read anything about a standing ovation for Sidney Poitier and Angelina Jolie, however, but it must have happened.)



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