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TOP 10 REASONS TO WATCH THE OSCARS by Coop

Posted on February 15th, 2009
Posted on February 15th, 2009


With the Academy Awards taking place next weekend, I’m going to take this opportunity to list ten reasons we Americans look forward to watching the ceremony. Forget that we’ll never get to hold that golden, bald trophy or that many of us haven’t seen any of the nominated films. The “Oscars” offer more to viewers than vain industry recognition. At best it’s an epic spectacle. At worst it’s a freak show. Either way, “that’s entertainment” as they say. So sit back with some popcorn; open that bottle of wine and remind yourself why you tune in to this glamorous, yet egocentric event year after year…

10. THE FASHION

Nope, the actresses don’t pay for those revealing dresses or multi-million dollar jewelry. High-end designers give or more often loan the glitzy wares to the stars as a form of red carpet advertising. If the media fashionistas approve, it sells big in the boutiques. If they don’t, you’ll find stacks of replicas in the dumpsters. It’s a gamble for the actresses (and sometimes actors as well) since the media will either swoon giddily at their overwhelming beauty, or trash them mercilessly for wearing a tacky getup. Sometimes a single fashion mistake at the Oscars can haunt you for the rest of your career… I’m looking at you, Bjork and J-Lo!

9. THE MUSICAL NUMBER

As with fashion, the live performances of the nominated songs can either hit or miss the mark. Sometimes the nominees aren’t appealing in the first place (lots of kiddie songs from animated Disney and DreamWorks films). Sometimes the performances underwhelm. Every once in awhile you witness a song nominee/performance that burns itself into your memory. Who can forget Robin Williams performing “Blame Canada” from the “South Park” movie? How about Three 6 Mafia performing “It’s Hard Out There for a Pimp”… and winning! Who wasn’t moved by the couple who performed the beautiful song “Falling Slowly” from the movie “Once,” then winning against all odds? It’s moments like these that make the musical numbers worthwhile.

8. THE HOST

The backbone of the show, the host can range from weak (Whoopi telling nasty jokes) to the sublime (Billy Crystal in hilarious film skits). The job usually falls into the lap of a universally respected comedian who has no trouble contending with the limelight. Any uncomfortable moment during the ceremony will depend on the witty host to diffuse it… especially if they caused said uncomfortable moment. Comedienne Ellen DeGeneres proved a capable and funny host in 2008, then was followed up in 2009 by triple-threat (but not a comedian) Hugh Jackman… probably for his charming personality, singing ability, dance moves and the ability to never look uncomfortable under any circumstances. The host can make or break the event.

7. THE FALLEN

Definitely the most serious segment of the ceremony honors the filmmakers, entertainers and actors who passed away the previous year. Of course, the highest profile deceased always get the more enthusiastic applause, but the more tragic deaths seem to resonate most with the audience and viewers. There are strange omissions (they seemed to forget Brad Renfro in the 2008 ceremony), but others get their due respect (Ledger in the 2009 awards). The passing of the old Hollywood legends offer bittersweet moments during the memorial, like Gregory Peck and Robert Altman, who had long and prolific careers. The most heartbreaking revelations come when you discover one of your favorites has died and the Academy is the one to break it to you.

6. THE POKER FACE… OR LACK THEREOF

This one is always good for a laugh. Usually when the nominees for a category are mentioned and the presenter prepares to announce the winner, the camera catches glimpses of the nominees who sometimes forget they’re on the air. One of the funnier moments happened in 1995 when Samuel L. Jackson lost the Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Pulp Fiction.” Jackson visibly scowled and mouthed the word “damn!” at the announcement and all of it was caught on camera. Equally hilarious is when the nominee can’t take a joke. At the 2001 Awards, Host Steve Martin zinged Russell Crowe, joking that the actor had once hit on Ellen Burstyn. Crowe stared down Martin, indicating he did not find the joke amusing, but his caught-on-camera frown only further inflamed the audience’s laughter.

5. THE ACCEPTANCE SPEECH
Here’s one where you can either make fun or feel inspired. Everyone remembers the obnoxiously histrionic speeches given by “Best Actress” winners Halley Berry and Sally Field. Halley looked like, and cried like, someone had brought a hard-heeled boot squarely down on her foot as she sobbed and carried on almost like a grieving mother. Sally Field delivering her frighteningly over-the-top “You like me!” speech also invoked snickers. George C. Scott flat out refused his Best Actor win and Marlon Brando sent a faux-Apache woman to deliver his refusal and read an inappropriate political statement in front of the audience. However, some heartfelt speeches have the opposite effect and can move the audience to near tears. In 1980, Dustin Hoffman delivered what many people believe to be the best Oscar/Academy Award acceptance speech of all time for his Best Actor win for “Kramer vs. Kramer.”

4. THE UNDERDOG

Nothing pleases the crowd more than an Academy underdog win. How about Adrien Brody winning Best Actor in 2002 for “The Pianist” against a slew of seasoned actors like Jack Nicolson, Daniel Day Lewis and Michael Caine? Or Cuba Gooding Jr. winning Best Supporting Actor for “Jerry Maguire?” I never thought Reese Witherspoon would ever beat out Dame Judy Dench for Best Actress, but it happened in 2005. Best Supporting Actress seems prime underdog territory and few know that better than Tatum O’Neal in 1973’s “Paper Moon” when she became the youngest woman to win an Oscar at 10 years old. 2008 has been called “Year of the Underdog” due to all the humble-worthy nominees, such as “Slumdog Millionaire” (which is coincidentally a story about underdogs). If you don’t have anyone to cheer for, the underdogs could really use your good wishes.

3. THE BLEEPS

Sometimes blunders and embarrassing moments make for the biggest laughs. In 1974, stiff co-host David Niven, and the millions of Americans watching on TV, were shocked and amused by a streaker who ran across the stage, exposing himself to all. At the 2000 Awards, Angelina Jolie freaked everyone out by making out with her date… who also happened to be her brother. In 1999, Roberto Benigni threatened to start “making love” to the audience after winning Best Actor. In 1989 Rob Lowe sang “Proud Mary” while dancing provocatively with an actress dressed like Snow White, inciting a lawsuit from Disney. In 1995, Roger Avery won alongside Quentin Tarantino for their “Pulp Fiction” screenplay. Avery mocked Best Picture/Best Actor winner “Forrest Gump” by saying “I’m gonna go now cause I really gotta take a pee.” The following year, a drunk Tarantino dropped F-bombs on the red carpet on live TV. You never know what’s going to happen next.

2. THE PREDICTIONS

Go over to http://www.oscar.com/, print out your own printable ballot and start guessing. Better yet, wait for my massive article on the Academy Awards next week and download my custom ballot so you compare my picks to yours. People across the country will make a game out of guessing who they think will win and cheering for who they want to win. It’s always the most informed guesser who triumphs, so start researching now. I plan on winning the pool this year.
r />1. THE BEST

Nothing’s more gratifying than to see the deserving nominees win. It’s a part of our American culture. You don’t need any more excuse than that.

-Coop

OTHER “LIST” ARTICLES…

#1:  BLEEDIN’ WICKED GOOGLY… Films about 35 of those “Other” Sports (Parts 1 – 7) by JAY
#2: “Bard None: A Cinematic Guide to Really Bad Shakespeare” by JAY

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