I LOVE OSCAR
Alert the media. The secret is out. I love Oscar. But, before you get all in a tither and start examining my sexual persuasion, I’m talking about Oscar, as in “The Oscar.”
Actually, I LOVE MOVIES. And, The Oscar is a symbol for the many people like me who enjoy sitting in dark theaters commingling among noisy people with coke and popcorn sticking to their shoes.
About a hundred years or so ago when I was just a little kid in Toledo, Ohio, there was a 200-hard-wooden-seat movie theater called the “Park.’ Even for a kid with short legs, it was just a hop, skip, and jump from my house on Berkley Drive to that wonderful lighted marquee (with most of the bulbs burned out). After viewing a cartoon, a newsreel (yesterday’s version of today’s TV news), a Flash Gordon serial, coming attractions, and two (count ‘em) features, I danced all the way home. Especially after seeing a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movie.
If you are old enough to remember, they had those huge beautifully colored posters displayed in glass cases on each side of the entrance with the names of the currant movie’s luminaries (persons of eminence or brilliant achievement).
There was many a night that I dreamed of walking out of the Park Theater, turning and seeing my name on one of those posters. A kid from Toledo with his name on a Hollywood movie poster? Wow! I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I was to awaken and find my sudden fame was only the impossible dream.
But, hark all you non-believers. Dreams do come true. They can happen to you. It happened to ME! It was the year 1964 and the movie was “The Patsy,” directed by, and starring Jerry Lewis.
It was the very first appearance I ever made in a movie. It was also the LAST appearance I ever made in a movie, but, to coin a popular phrase, “So What?” It was my dream and it came true. My acting ability was never ever considered for any kind of an award, but I shall always be beholden to Jerry for creating the part just for me. I was “Movie Star for a Day!”
That said, let’s get back to Oscar. This is the time of year when movie critics, and most of the movie-going nation, make their yearly predictions as to who is going to take home the big golden guy. That includes me, and I could safely guess, most of you Mouse Cliquers.
Here is my pick:
(1) Best Actress: Helen Mirren for “The Queen.”
Damn! She was good. Did you notice that, like the real Queen, she never went anywhere without her purse? Like a Queen needs a purse?
(2) Best Actor? Leonardo DiCaprio for “The Departed.”
Considering that almost everyone in the film was killed, the fact that Leonardo’s acting ability helped him survive long enough to star in “Blood Diamond” should give him a big leg up in the final vote.
(3) Best Picture: “The Queen”
That’s it for me. Though there are many deserving Oscars to be handed out, my feeling is that most people don’t really sit up straight until the Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Movie awards are announced.
Two caveats regarding my choices:
As for “Borat,” the main character, as we all know, is not an actor but is the press representative for The Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. That makes him ineligible for an Oscar. Don’t you agree?
I was disappointed that “Dream Girls,” supposedly based on what the 60s groups were all about, did not feature any music from the 60s. Perhaps I’m just too big a “Diana Ross and the Supremes” fan and was looking for a little “Baby Love.”
I do have one more award I would like to recommend. It’s too late for this year’s ceremony, but think about next year. Jerry Lewis should get a special Oscar. Not because he has written, directed or starred in over 50 feature films in his long and funny career, but the fact that he invented a device that totally revolutionized the way movies are made.
He came up with the idea of strapping a video camera to the side of the film camera so he could watch it on a monitor and not have to wait for the film to be developed in order to see what was being shot.
This is now known as “Video Assist.” No longer “strapped” to the side of the camera, the video feed goes directly through the film camera lens and is used by every director who makes films.
This suggestion of a special Oscar for Jerry’s contribution to films is my way of thanking him for making my little-kid starry-eyed Hollywood dream come true. Just last month, 43 years after the fact, I received a sort of thank you and recognition for my superior acting in “The Patsy.” It was a residual check from Paramount Pictures for $6.27. What do you say to that Toledo?