What I’d tell the Oscars about the awards ceremony changes : NPR


The scene: a highschool cafeteria



Oscar statues stand off of Hollywood Boulevard in preparation for Sunday's 92nd Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, in Los Angeles.

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Oscar statues stand off of Hollywood Boulevard in preparation for Sunday's 92nd Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, in Los Angeles.

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

[SCENE: Interior, high school cafeteria. Day. At a table, off on their own, sit GLEN and OSCAR, A GOLDEN NAKED BALD MAN WITH A SWORD, eating their meals in awkward silence. GLEN is working up the courage to say something. OSCAR keeps gazing over GLEN’s shoulder around the cafeteria.]

GLEN: Oscar we … we have to discuss.

OSCAR (WAVES AT SOMEONE ACROSS THE WAY): Mm.

GLEN: It is…about the way you’re treating folks recently. Individuals who care about you. Individuals who’ve all the time been there for you.

OSCAR: What folks? Who’re you speaking about? (SUDDENLY CONCERNED) Was it Nicole? Benedict? DENZEL? OH GOD TELL ME IT’S NOT DENZEL.

GLEN: No, no. It is not them. Not the favored children. The jocks, the cheerleaders. The Yearbook and Promenade Committees. They don’t seem to be who I am speaking about.

OSCAR (GREATLY RELIEVED): Oh. (SHRUGS) Who, then? Who else is there?

GLEN: Nicely I imply…editors, for one.

OSCAR (ROLLS EYES): Right here we go.

GLEN: And sound folks. And the individuals who make documentary shorts, animated shorts and dwell motion shorts.

OSCAR: Pay attention –

GLEN: And unique rating composers. And hair and make-up folks. Hair and make-up folks, Oscar! Who even are you, anymore?

OSCAR: You are mad that I disinvited them to my celebration.

GLEN: Your celebration, as further and bloated and overlong because it all the time is, is the one probability yearly a variety of these children get a second to shine! To mingle with the favored crowd! You are taking that away from them, and for what?

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OSCAR: You recognize very nicely, for what.

GLEN: I wish to hear you say it.

OSCAR: Advantageous. Advantageous. (SIGHS) Look it is nothing private, however they only … take up house. Area I might use to draw extra folks to the celebration. Individuals who do not care about (WAVES HAND DISMISSIVELY) like, sound or no matter. Honk-shoo! No, I imply regular folks, who care about, you realize, the glitz and glamor of all of it. The great enamel and our bodies and hair and robes. The individuals who simply wish to see all the recent horny standard children congratulating one another, laughing and having a good time. Extra of these folks. If meaning a couple of blotchy nerds no person’s ever heard of do not get to bore us all with speeches about their (WRINKLES NOSE) emotions or no matter, so be it.

GLEN: … You was cool, man.

OSCAR: Come on, that is not –

GLEN: No, you realize what? I take it again. You had been by no means cool. You had been all the time too swollen with your individual self-regard to be cool. Too oblivious. Too tone-deaf.

OSCAR (SCOFFS): I’m now, and have all the time been, cool.

GLEN (STARTS SCROLLING ON PHONE): Do you significantly need me to ship your 1989 opening quantity to your standard associates proper now? As a result of I will do it. Ah. Right here it’s. Rob Lowe. Snow White. Oh hey, Merv Griffin, I forgot concerning the Merv Griffin half. Wow, eleven full minutes. They’re going to be so impressed. How cool.

OSCAR (QUIETLY, ICILY): Put the cellphone away. Now.

GLEN: What are you gonna use all this new house for, in the event you’re so keen to ditch these hard-working folks?

OSCAR: Nicely. (PROUDLY) Extra montages, for one factor.

GLEN (HORRIFIED): Extra …?

OSCAR: And tributes. To ourselves, in fact. You recognize: “The Magic of the Motion pictures! Goals Made from Shadows and Flickering Gentle! That Massive White Display screen Is The Window Of Creativeness! The Tales We Inform In The Darkish That Make Us Giggle! And Cry! And Join!”

GLEN: Okay.

OSCAR: “Heartbreak Feels Good In A Place Like This!”

GLEN: Okay. What else?

OSCAR: Hilarious comedy!

GLEN: Stale banter.

OSCAR: Humorous sketches!

GLEN: Sweaty skits.

OSCAR: Well timed jokes!

GLEN: Drained bits.

OSCAR: Alright you realize what? I am simply gonna come out and say it. All these folks I disinvited? I did that as a result of they make everybody uncomfortable. They take eternally to stumble to the rostrum of their rented tuxes and off-the-rack robes or, extra doubtless, pantsuits, after which they nervously unfold their speeches and simply learn from them in these trembly voices they usually go on eternally in flat, affectless monotones. No showmanship! No pizzazz! No charisma! So what I am doing, see, is ensuring everybody who will get the highlight at my celebration can actually promote it! Can nail the exact acceptance-speech gasoline combination everyone seems to be searching for – 12% disbelief, 15% modesty, 33% gratitude, 40% pleasure.

GLEN: You are apprehensive.

OSCAR: Pfft, no I am not.

GLEN: You are apprehensive, since you’re not as standard as you was. Oh, Jessica and Javier and Steven and Jane and the remainder of the favored children will come to your celebration, they all the time will. However attendance has been dropping for years now. You are not getting as many individuals by way of the door, so that you’re doing what you suppose you’ll want to do to entice them again.

OSCAR: Nicely, so what? Everybody desires to be standard.

GLEN: No, you wish to be standard. Everybody else – like these editors, sound folks, makers of brief movies, composers, hair and make-up of us – they only wish to be seen. It is totally different.

OSCAR (SNIFFS AIRILY): I do not comply with.

GLEN: No, you would not. Look, whenever you go chasing after solely these individuals who need the robes and the large awards, you are chasing after individuals who do not … who do not care about you. Not likely. Not really. Not … (DEEP, VULNERABLE BREATH) … not like I do. Me, and other people like me.

OSCAR: You simply don’t desire me to have extra associates. You are jealous.

GLEN: I simply need you to be you. And face it, you are not solely the large, glitzy awards. Cease pretending you’re. That awkwardness you are making an attempt to depart behind? It is part of you, it is in your bones, Oscar, and it all the time has been. These sweat-soaked, fastidiously unfolded acceptance speeches delivered so nervously? They’re you, at your most human, most relatable, most alive. Most of us watching won’t ever have the arrogance or the poise or the cheekbones or the body-fat-percentage of the nominees in the principle classes. However we are able to and do glimpse ourselves in, say, a few anxious nerds in out-of-date eyeglass frames who unexpectedly win for his or her creepy-as-hell stop-motion animated brief movie about Baba Yaga’s pet rat snake or no matter, after which must stand up to thank their mothers in entrance of Angelina Jolie and Will Smith.

OSCAR: That is … simply unhappy, what you are doing proper now.

GLEN: You recognize who bought nominated or received for brief movies, earlier than they went on to extra extensively recognized work? Individuals like Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Thor:Ragnarok). David Frankel (The Satan Wears Prada, Inventing Anna). Lesli Linka Glatter (Homeland, Mad Males). Taylor Hackford (An Officer and a Gentleman, Ray). Ismail Service provider (Howards Finish, A Room with a View).

OSCAR: Preserve flailing away. It is amusing.

GLEN: And whenever you deny composers and editors their second, you are simply blithely ignoring two of essentially the most elementary facets of filmmaking – two issues uniquely answerable for a movie’s form, its temper, its essence.

OSCAR (WAVES AT JANE CAMPION, MOUTHS “CALL ME!”): Uh-huh.

GLEN: And never letting hair and make-up folks get their second? Precise craftspeople, artisans, professionals who direct their efforts to make sure that each character in a movie seems and feels seamlessly actual – or uh, seamlessly unreal, relying on the film, I suppose?

OSCAR: You are shedding the thread. Wrap it up.

GLEN: You tried to drag this nonsense as soon as earlier than, and took it again. That was the precise factor to do, as a result of it meant you had sufficient self-respect to not attempt to twist your self into one thing you are not, and by no means might be. Do it once more. Invite all of them. Stand your floor. Ignore the community. Ignore the rankings. Go lengthy. Finish at two o’clock within the morning! Three! Till the solar comes up over Hollywood Boulevard!

OSCAR: I’ve outgrown you. That is the problem right here. You, and all of your schlubby loser Oscar- watcher friends who exit to bars with one another simply to moan concerning the occasions I snubbed Madeline Kahn or Cicely Tyson. My new associates (BLOWS KISS AT KENNETH BRANAGH) are my actual associates. They’d by no means attempt to maintain me again, such as you’re doing proper now. From realizing my full potential.

GLEN: Do not do that. Should you do, it will not cease. You are gonna flip round someday and discover that you simply’re instantly a half-hour spotlight reel that is been shunted to Disney+, the place nobody will ever discover you. You may be buried seven ranges deep within the consumer interface, since you caved to the strain. Mark my phrases.

OSCAR: Welp. This has been grand. Bye. (STANDS, WALKS OVER TO A TABLE OF SUPPORTING ACTOR NOMINEES). Hey b*tches!

GLEN (SHOUTS AFTER HIM): And when you’re at it, invite stunt performers! And casting brokers! (LOUDER) And anyway the rationale they take so lengthy to get to the rostrum is since you sit all of them within the again! FYI! So, you realize … work on that! (SIGHS. RUBS EYES). What a instrument. (SOFTLY) And but, I … I really like him. There, I mentioned it. I can not assist it. I really like him, regardless of all of it. Regardless of every part. Regardless of montages, regardless of Merv. I really like that shiny, pompous, self-involved jerk of a recognition contest. He’ll see it, someday. And he’ll come again to me. To us. I do know he’ll.

OSCAR (SHOUTS ACROSS CAFETERIA): Actually will not! (TURNS TO NEW TABLE-MATES) SWAG BAGS FOR EVERYONE!

This primary appeared in NPR’s Pop Tradition Comfortable Hour e-newsletter. Subscribe to the e-newsletter so you do not miss the following one, plus get weekly suggestions on what’s making us completely satisfied.

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