Dying On Stage

I’ve been wanting to continue with my coverage of what’s what with the Paddywacking project, but lately I’ve had a hard time tearing myself away from CNN’s round-the-clock coverage of Terri Schiavo‘s demise and the punditry from both the pro-death and the pro-sticking-your-nose-up-other-people’s-asses sides of the debate. Everyone on the network from Larry King to that mighty pillar of journalistic intellectualism, Carol Costello, has had their own daily (sometimes hourly) crack at the story. Good thing there’s no other news happening in the world. Anywhere. At all. Unless Terri’s feeding tube is reinserted soon, I fear there will be no choice for Western civilization but to turn its attention back to those tiresome headline hogs: war, the economy, and the environment. That or Carol Costello can start reading the funnies out of the morning papers live on the air. That should keep her busy for awhile, because, you know, Garfield uses all those big words and stuff.

In other non-news, the post-Oscar buzz has finally subsided. And now that the whole world has collectively forgotten who was nominated, not to mention who won, the Academy can get back to planning how they’ll make next year’s ceremony even more boring. I only mention this because it has particular significance to me. The awards for the 2004 film year were particularly trying for me thanks to the multiple nominations for Alexander Payne’s movie, Sideways. Thankfully, with the passage of time, fewer and fewer people persist in telling me I look like Paul Giamatti. Though terribly flattering in a bearded, balding, pudgy sort of way, it gets old after awhile. Now that the dust has settled, I look forward to comparisons to Brad Pitt resuming as per usual.Commiserating Oscar losses with my good buddy Thomas Haden Church

But I don’t have that much to complain about when it comes to the Oscars. Sure the awards themselves sucked, but they also managed to pull in an extra fifty bucks for me. Called in as a ringer for an Oscar party I didn’t even attend, my brain was tapped for best guesses as to what would take home a gold statuette. My picks smoked the competition, not because I was good at choosing the most deserving nominees, but because I was good at selecting who would win the political race. One tip for all who might find themselves mixed up in an Oscar gambling pool: Best Editing always goes to the longest picture. Bet the farm on it. I think the logic goes that whoever has to suffer through the most footage earns the award.

Despite the fact that the winner shared her gambling-vice cash with me, there were still accusations of foul play. After all, I’m a film industry peon who spends all his spare time watching movies and actually gives a shit about petty rubbish like the Oscars. It hardly seems fair to go consulting someone who can make an educated guess about who might win in the short documentary film category. Even the winners didn’t go to see their film. Yet there I was, with an inkling of a notion that proved correct again and again in all the nothing categories that never made it to a full-blown stage presentation. After getting a dozen right in a row, I was starting to scare even myself, because, after all, who gives a fuck? Apparently, I do. I’ve never been a ringer before, and entering a competition with a grossly unfair advantage is a new experience for me. At last I know what it feels like to be the Olympic men’s basketball dream team. All of them, all at once. Minus the huge regular season paycheck and the homoerotic group showering.

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