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 speak.

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

GLEN: It is…about the way you’re treating folks these days. Individuals who care about you. Individuals who’ve at all times 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 youngsters. 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 stay 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 at all times is, is the one probability yearly a whole lot of these youngsters 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 already know very properly, for what.

GLEN: I need to hear you say it.

OSCAR: Superb. Superb. (SIGHS) Look it is nothing private, however they only … take up area. Area I may 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, , the glitz and glamor of all of it. The great tooth and our bodies and hair and robes. The individuals who simply need to see all the new attractive well-liked youngsters congratulating one another, laughing and having a good time. Extra of these folks. If which means just a few 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 once cool, man.

OSCAR: Come on, that is not –

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

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

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

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

GLEN: What are you gonna use all this new area for, when you’re so prepared to ditch these hard-working folks?

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

GLEN (HORRIFIED): Extra …?

OSCAR: And tributes. To ourselves, after all. You already know: “The Magic of the Motion pictures! Goals Manufactured from Shadows and Flickering Mild! That Huge White Display screen Is The Window Of Creativeness! The Tales We Inform In The Darkish That Make Us Snigger! 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 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 endlessly 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 endlessly 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 gas combination everyone seems to be on the lookout for – 12% disbelief, 15% modesty, 33% gratitude, 40% pleasure.

GLEN: You are frightened.

OSCAR: Pfft, no I am not.

GLEN: You are frightened, since you’re not as well-liked as you was once. Oh, Jessica and Javier and Steven and Jane and the remainder of the favored youngsters will come to your celebration, they at all times will. However attendance has been dropping for years now. You are not getting as many individuals via the door, so that you’re doing what you suppose it’s good to do to entice them again.

OSCAR: Nicely, so what? Everybody needs to be well-liked.

GLEN: No, you need to be well-liked. Everybody else – like these editors, sound folks, makers of quick movies, composers, hair and make-up people – they only need to be seen. It is completely 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 massive awards, you are chasing after individuals who do not … who do not care about you. Not likely. Not actually. Not … (DEEP, VULNERABLE BREATH) … not like I do. Me, and folks like me.

OSCAR: You simply don’t need me to have extra mates. You are jealous.

GLEN: I simply need you to be you. And face it, you are not solely the massive, glitzy awards. Cease pretending you might be. That awkwardness you are attempting to go away behind? It is part of you, it is in your bones, Oscar, and it at all times 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 primary 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 quick movie about Baba Yaga’s pet rat snake or no matter, after which should rise 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 already know who received nominated or gained 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: Maintain flailing away. It is amusing.

GLEN: And whenever you deny composers and editors their second, you are simply blithely ignoring two of probably the most elementary points 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 appears to be like and feels seamlessly actual – or uh, seamlessly unreal, relying on the film, I suppose?

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

GLEN: You tried to drag this nonsense as soon as earlier than, and took it again. That was the suitable 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 could possibly be. Do it once more. Invite all of them. Stand your floor. Ignore the community. Ignore the scores. 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 difficulty right here. You, and all of your schlubby loser Oscar- watcher friends who exit to bars with one another simply to moan in regards to the occasions I snubbed Madeline Kahn or Cicely Tyson. My new mates (BLOWS KISS AT KENNETH BRANAGH) are my actual mates. 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. In the event you do, it will not cease. You are gonna flip round someday and discover that you simply’re all of the sudden a half-hour spotlight reel that is been shunted to Disney+, the place nobody will ever discover you. You will 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, … work on that! (SIGHS. RUBS EYES). What a software. (SOFTLY) And but, I … I really like him. There, I stated it. I can not assist it. I really like him, regardless of all of it. Regardless of all the things. 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 Pleased Hour e-newsletter. Subscribe to the e-newsletter so you do not miss the subsequent one, plus get weekly suggestions on what’s making us blissful.

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