Managed to largely ignore the Oscars again this year. My overall take on the awards is that they can pretty much be guaranteed to go to the wrong people for the wrong films. If an award-worthy actor gets a little golden swordsman, it will be for the wrong film, probably in the wrong year. I have to be careful here because I have a great good friend who has three of the metallic minions, and he totally earned them. Maybe I can make my rule work by saying he should have won his 2001 award in 2003, his 2002 award in 2001, and his 2003 award in 2002. Yeah, that makes sense. Good.

I have a sort of perverse respect for the tradition of the Honorary or Special Oscar. Why should the year’s great accomplishments be forced to fit into a set of more or less random categories? Traditionally, these went either to children, black people and the disabled, or, by some special dispensation, to Walt Disney, who got three. Maybe because he made children’s films, and although he was neither black nor disabled, he was a racist, which is a kind of disability which relates to people of colour.

Prepare to cringe: at 3:14 Clooney utters the most disappointing words of his life (apart from, I guess, for some, the words “I do”). Disappointing since he’s supposed to be smart.

If you’re an able-bodied actor pretending to be disabled, obviously you can get a normal Oscar. Confusingly, Harold Russell got a Special Oscar AND a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Although they don’t actually manufacture a special Oscar with hooks for hands, or a child-sized Oscar struggling to see around the bloody great broadsword. So it’s sort-of special, but not THAT special.


Still, though there’s a certain amount of confusion about how Honorary Oscars work (James Baskett got one for playing Uncle Remus, but Hattie McDaniel got a regular award for playing Mammy in GONE WITH THE WIND: she just had to sit at a segregated table away from her colleagues on the production), I think the tradition should be expanded upon. Anything that makes the Academy more ridiculous and self-parodic is to be encouraged, so that the awards can be enjoyed but not taken too seriously.

There should, upon occasion, be an award for Best False Nose, and this should be presented not to the actor or to the makeup artist but to the actual nose. The acceptance speech would be gratifyingly short. To avoid any sensation of anti-climax maybe Rick Baker could rig up some kind of air pump so the nose could sneeze its gratitude.

There should be an award for Best Dead Person Left Out of the Obituary Montage. This might have to be annual and there might have to be multiple winners.

Rather than giving honorary gongs to people who have never won fair and square and who are now approaching death, they should randomly pick a young up-and-comer each year and give it to them, on the understanding that the Academy can henceforth ignore this person’s work without feeling guilty about it. A sort of pre-emptive Lifetime Achievement Award. If we’d given that to Michael Keaton for NIGHT SHIFT, imagine how much better we’d be feeling now. Or MR. MOM, or JOHNNY DANGEROUSLY!

Look at how well it’s worked for Roberto Benigni.

The honest thing to do, now that we recognize that going “Awww” in the form of an Oscar isn’t an appropriate response to children, ethnic minorities and the disabled (although, given the Academy’s reluctance to hand out awards to any of those groups, why not give ’em a chance at a patronizing consolation prize at least?), might be to give Special Oscars to people who have been humiliatingly dumped by their celebrity partners. Jennifer Aniston is overdue for this. The poor woman STILL seems to evoke sad-face sympathy reactions ten years post-Brad, despite her wealth and success and constant visibility. It’s as if she had invisible hooks for hands. She deserves a medal — or an Oscar. Hmm, who could present it, to drive the point home?

There could be award for people who have contributed greatly to the cinematic culture by stopping making films. If he just took a short sabbatical, Michael Bay could qualify, and let’s face it, what other chance does he have?


Imagine this guy in gold!

No person of diminutive stature has ever won the Oscar for anything — clearly an insulting mini-Oscar should be gilded in preparation for the moment when Time has whittled the surviving Munchkins down to one. Treat it as a tontine — the Oscar goes to Last Dwarf Standing. The Academy — nay, the industry as a whole — has a proud history of insensitivity and bogus good intentions — there’s so much to live up to.

Your suggestions are welcome.

8 Responses to “Special”

  1. Hollywood is all about bogus good intentions designed to cover up the massive insensitivity (putting it very mildly) of the culture it serves.

    As Mickey Rooney never won it’s no surprise the Munchkins were “snubbed”

    Don’t you jut love that word “snubbed”? It reduces everything to the level of the small town socialites looking down their noses at Katherine Hepburn in “Alice Adams.”

  2. Ha!

    I think it must be ever worse for Keaton to realize he’s feeling depressed about not winning a prize that, for instance, Peter Lorre and Joseph Cotten were never even nominated for. It’s all so silly!

  3. I wasn’t planning on paying any attention to this year’s Oscar ceremony but unexpectedly I ended up dining with visiting friends from abroad at a restaurant that chose not merely to screen the ceremony on its TVs but also to play the audio through the PA speaker in the bathroom. This may be symbolic of something, though I can’t guess what.

    The only bit that held any of my attention was the obituary segment. I preferred it when they showed actual movie clips in the memorial collage. When did they abandon the practice?

    Let me suggest that an honorary award be given out to best performance of the night, i.e. to the actor or actress who best simulates excited engagement with the proceedings over the many hours and multiple musical numbers.

  4. That would be particularly good when they go to a splitscreen of all the nominees, and they can give the award to the one who looks liveliest IN THAT MOMENT.

  5. Also applicable to The Oscars:

  6. Randy Cook Says:

    Each nominee must be hooked up to an electrocardiogram, whose real-time readout will be shown at the bottom of each aspirant’s Big Head of Pola. Especially compelling in the 5-way split screen collage shot, leading up to the big moment. And we can always hope somebody will flatline. GREAT television.

  7. Dawns on me that TCM or somebody could clean up with a classic awards show, where categories would recognize genre films, programmers, character actors, etc. while making the actual competition between famous rivals: Davis vs. Crawford. Chaplin vs. Keaton vs. Lloyd. Thin Man vs. Sherlock Holmes. Best studio for a given year. Best Universal monster.

    Few if any winners available to claim prizes, but great buildups with modern filmmakers and celebrities lobbying for their personal idols

  8. Ha!

    Probably safest to disqualify the living from the classic awards show. I thought at first you were going to suggest restaging each Oscars ceremony, aiming to get it right with hindsight — change the nominees around, pick a new winner. In fact, if I were running it, the people and films who were actually nominated in each category would be disqualified. But the Academy would never stand for that, i fear — so you couldn’t call it the Alternative Oscars or anything like that (the Altscars?)

    A classics show would be fun. But as I reject the very terms of the Chaplin-Keaton dichotomy, it wouldn’t be quite for me.

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