This year, I already have so much to be thankful for. As of yesterday, I know that the 2012 Academy Awards have a network home in Australia — Channel 9, aka GO! — which means three things: A) I won’t have to watch with them in badly dubbed in Spanish, which I did every year I was living in Buenos Aires (except one — see C), until 2011, when my friend Roberto taught me how to turn off those annoying voices.
B) I won’t have to scramble to watch them live online. Maybe those TV-on-your-computer websites work in the U.S., but I’ve yet to find one in Buenos Aires, Melbourne, Bangkok or London that has allowed me to see more than a few stop-start images before freezing up completely.
C) I won’t have to rely on live blogging, which I did the year I was in London (2010) and Sandra Bullock won her once-in-a-lifetime prize. As you probably can imagine, reading the Oscars isn’t nearly the same as watching them.
It’s going to be strange watching the drama unfold on Monday, 27 February, beginning at 12.30pm, instead of on Sunday night (as Melbourne is 16 hours ahead of United States Eastern Time), but I’ll adapt, especially if it means I can anticipate a drama-free Oscar experience for the first time in six years, and I won’t have to stay up late to make it to the bitter end. (Also, it means no middle-of-the-night viewing — er, reading — as in London!)
Now, on with the show, and what I’m hoping happens — or doesn’t — on Hollywood’s biggest night.
1) Please, no musical performances! The GRAMMY Awards were just a couple of weeks ago, and frankly, I’ve had my fill of pop stars wowing us with their blindingly gaudy celebrity, and Adele blowing us away with her voice. (Okay, we get it! She can sing!) And since there are only two nominees for Best Original Song this year, it’s not like the Academy cares about music anyway. After seeing the YouTube clip of Jason Segel and Jim Parsons performing the nominated song from The Muppets in the film, I’m convinced that I never want to hear that thing again.
Oh, and is there anyone who isn’t convinced that the contest over who gets to sing the In Memoriam tribute is a two-woman race, between Academy Award winner (and go-to Whitney Houston-tribute girl) Jennifer Hudson and — who else? — Adele. Now there’s one very good reason to consider a vocal-free montage to honor the dearly departed.
2) I’m begging to you, just one upset! How many years do we have to watch the same actors accepting the same prizes on every single award show? This year, we’re way overdue for at least one shocking moment — and don’t let it be in Best Supporting Actor. Christopher Plummer earned that prize, dammit, and he’s not going to live forever.
But I’ve certainly grown weary of the canonization of Viola Davis over the last few months, and (I can’t believe I’m saying this) I’m secretly hoping for a Michelle Williams Best Actress upset. (Keep in mind, Williams fans, that very few actresses — Kate Winslet, Shirley MacLaine, Geraldine Page and Susan Hayward come to mind, and no one else — lose three times and go on to win.) Five-time loser Glenn Close would be even better but is as unlikely as a win by Charlize Theron, who wasn’t even nominated. In lieu of all that, I’d certainly go back to Bangkok (on Tuesday) a happy man if Jean Dujardin snatches the prize from George Clooney’s greedy paws. (Isn’t one enough, George?)
3) Can we just lock Billy Crystal in for lifetime hosting duties after the show? There have been respectable mediums (Hugh Jackman, Steve Martin) and embarrassing lows (Anne Hathaway and James Franco) in the eight years that Crystal has been away, but not a single high. I’m convinced that hosting the Oscars is a one-man job: Billy Crystal’s.
4) Let’s leave the fashion parade to People magazine and Us Weekly. Not that I’ve ever been the most serious journalist alive, but if you put me on a red carpet with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, or George Clooney, or Meryl Streep, the one thing I would never ask is “What are you wearing?” I’ve always been convinced that only fashion editors care. Does anyone watching at home give a damn, frankly? Does the average human being even know the difference between Armani and Givenchy? I think not.
5) More Uggie, please! No, I didn’t get my fill of that adorable Jack Russell Terrier in The Artist — nor on The View the other day. I don’t know about the other four, but I’m pretty sure this is one prayer that’s destined not to go unanswered.