Andy Bluff the Film Buff
Squares up to... The 2000 Academy Awards
by Andrew Smith
With the annual schmooze-fest
known to laymen as the 'Oscars' and to
plumped-up pricks as the 'Academy Awards' nigh, it's high time to slice
through the glitz and glamour and take an objective peek at this sickening
spectacle of self-congratulatory bullshit. I cannot tell you much about
year's nominations because I haven't seen any of the films. Not good, you
might think, for someone who professes to be a movie buff. Au
retort, in a fancy French accent, for I have always found the best way to
judge films is either a) Not see them but formulate an opinion based on
prejudice anyway or b) Wait until they come out on video. There are two
reasons for this. Firstly it is difficult to disassociate a cinema release
from its attendant marketing hype, making a genuine evaluation more
difficult. Secondly, I am a confirmed heroine addict and would never waste
money on cinemas when I could be 'chasing the dragon' or injecting smack
my penis. So I'm afraid the most I can tell you about American
"It's quite good and Kevin Spacey smokes a lot of dope in it." (copyright:
my flatmate) Anyway, you can find all you need to know about the Oscars
delving into its murky past.
It all started, of course, with Oscar Wilde.
Sometime in the 1930s the
renowned playwright, wit, raconteur and all-round fancy dandy began to tire
of the theatre. His new love was cinema. The technicolour films were
emerging: Gone With The Wind, The Wizard of Oz, stuff like
that. Oscar was
beguiled. He promptly moved to L.A. and pitched an idea to MGM supremo Metro
Goldwyn Mayor. His film was to be called The Dove That Dare Not Speak Its
Name, an allegorical and deeply personal tale about an urban(e) yet
flamboyant pigeon whose extrovert exterior disguises an inner soul tormented
by a repressed sexuality. Metro was unimpressed.
"All sounds a bit heavy,
Oscar," he said. "Lighten the tone. How about
something more Errol Flynn? He's all the rage at the moment."
doing no black and white shit." Wilde replied with trademark
Then Metro had a brainstorm. He told Oscar of his idea to create
awards ceremony that rewarded momentous achievements in the film industry.
"I was going to call it The Metros," he said, "but it's yours if you want
it. You can host it, and we'll call it The Oscars. Think about it."
"I don't think, Metro, I do. That gig is mine."
"Righty ho then. Watch this." Metro's face metamorphosed into a lion's
"What do you think?" he growled. "I was thinking of using it in my corporate
"It's got potential," Wilde agreed. And so history was made.
The Oscars soon became an American institution, a chance for Hollywood not
only to pay homage to itself but to renew public interest - and revenue
in the nominated films. For the first two years Wilde lorded over the
proceedings with great aplomb, winning over even the most homophobic of
sceptics with his ineffable charm and wit. But on his third year he
overstepped the mark when, in full flow, he asked the audience, "Did you
hear about the pervert who crossed the road?" A packed house awaited the
perfectly timed quip. "...he got his cock stuck up the chicken!" A deathly
silence filled the auditorium, punctuated only by a few nervous titters
motiveless rebel Jimmy Dean. Wilde recovered well enough but his fate was
sealed when Jack Warner leant over to Goldwyn Mayer and hissed, "The boy's
gone too far. Next year we'll get Bob Hope to do it." Wilde never worked
showbiz again; three years later he threw himself wittily under a train.
Infinitely more tragic, Bob Hope, surely the least funny person ever, went
on to host the awards for what seemed like eternity.
The Oscars began
to resemble Hope's reactionary persona. Anything vaguely
cutting-edge was shunned in place of dull conservatism and, post 60s, dull
liberalism. Example: Citizen Kane lost out to some piece of shit no
remember. So it has remained ever since. Just look at some of the movies
that won Oscars, either as best films or for lead performances. Starting
no particular reason with...
Driving Miss Daisy
Just how boring can a film be? This boring. An old bigot and her black
driver don't get on but by the end are best of friends. That, I believe,
the 'story.' I haven't seen it. I'd rather spend three hours watching my
nails grow. Oscar winning lesson: cast an ancient, respected actress who
will die within the next five years and throw in some crap about race.
An appropriate title for this cheesy contrivance. Tom Hanks won for his
portrayal of an AIDS sufferer. Denzel Washington played a lawyer. It's
sentimental garbage, which fooled no-one in its claim to broach a supposedly
'taboo' subject, and lines up behind Schindler's List as the most
attempt ever to garner Academy acclaim. Tom Hanks was better in
you ask me. Oscar lesson: disease of the day + strong black character =
Dustin Hoffman won for his portrayal of an autistic man with a really good
memory. He is reunited with brother Tom Cruise. They don't hit it off at
first, mainly because Cruise's character is a total wanker, but by the end
are (no, never) best of friends. Uplifting message: brotherly love in all
its forms takes precedent over material gain. Oscar lesson: pretend you're
Scent Of A Woman
Al Pacino, an actor of undisputed gifts, won an Oscar for this - a
nauseating dose of Hollywood treacle. He plays an irascible blind man whose
relationship with his carer, callow college boy Chris O' Donnell, improves
after a shaky start to the extent that - fuck me rigid - they're the best
buds by the end. Pacino's character is really rather unpleasant: when he's
not shouting ill-temperedly at those trying to help him, he's talking in
unsavoury manner about how he likes to sniff women. O' Donnell' is as wet
a used tampon and when he's thrown out of college, or whatever the narrative
'twist' is, you couldn't give a shit. Even so, Pacino saves the day with
rousing speech that convinces the college board of their error. He may be
bereft of sight, but he can see, blah de blah. Oscar lesson: pretend you're
Hanks again, this time playing a simpleton who unwittingly changes the
course of history through serendipitous encounters with the rich and
powerful. Most observers found the right-wing, God-bless-America sentiments
crass at best; many found the film insulting. I wouldn't know myself, having
never seen it. But I reckon it's toss anyway. The movie features Sally Field
as Gump's mother. Six years previously Field starred alongside Hanks in
forgotten film called Punchline - as his lover. Which makes Gump a
time-travelling motherfucker in my book, and a stupid one at that. Oscar
lesson: pretend you're retarded.
This flatulent blubber-arse of a film clearly had all the artistic merit
a beached whale, which didn't it stop collecting Oscars like barnacles.
a movie that cost a billion trillion squillion dollars to make you might
think they'd have used a proper ship, but no, most of the effects, they
trumpeted boastfully, were digital. That's one fucking expensive computer.
The sad thing is, the effects look digital: an unreal sheen somehow pervades
the more panoramic scenes, while on-board drowning palavers give the
impression that they have been filmed in a studio, which of course they
were. Those are the good bits. Most of the film, which lasts for 10 days,
consists of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet farting around the boat,
pissing off the posh folk, and gearing up to a good old shafting session
below decks. Moderate relief is provided when Winslet gets her tits out
the lads and DiCaprio dies.
The Sound Of Music
Let's be honest: musicals are rubbish. Without exception. Whether it's
Singing In The bastard Rain, West Side frigging Story or
fucking Fever, they're all shite. The presence of Julie Andrews in
devalues it further, and since this is the worst film she's been in, it
makes it the worst musical ever and by final definition the worst film of
all time. The thinnest of plots concern Andrews, some bloke with stupid
pants on, and a bunch of posh kids fleeing the German forces in wartime
Austria. Far from shitting themselves and getting the hell out, they all
break out into song at the merest prompt. The co-stars are uniformly
irritating; in fact so annoying are the Vontrapp children I found myself
rooting for the Nazis by the end. How can I forgive a film that has turned
me evil? However, the recent news that Julie Andrews has lost all use of
voice has helped me recover some faith in the notion of justice.
no doubt the Academy will continue to reward the most undeserving of
recipients, as they did last year with Shakespeare in Love. I have,
scrupulous fair-mindedness, reviewed this film before and won't dwell on
now. No fuck it, I will. I wouldn't say it was shit, exactly. Shit generally
has some substance and often, if you look closely, intact pieces of
sweetcorn. So I suppose Shakespeare in Love is more like a stinking
of diarrhoea, or a thin trickle of sewerage. At any rate, it's insipid
crap, so if it can win anything can. And with these thoughts I must go:
palms are getting sweaty and my syringe awaits...