Sam's Oscar Report

Sun, 27 Feb 2005 - Hollywood

We're halfway through the 2000's.  Like 'em or not, the 2000's
are on their way out, they're practically gone.

So it's...



Sam Longoria here, your Oscar reporter.

I'm reporting, but I'm not there.  It's 9:24pm, and the Oscars
are over.  I didn't go. I'm elsewhere.  Long story, wrestling match
between Good and Evil.  I'm not sure who won.

I have a writing assignment that has to, must, ought to, should
be my uppermost priority.  I shouldn't even think of anything else.
I sneak looks at the internet to see how the Oscars are going,
even though I haven't worked on anything that's nominated, and I
won't be there this year.

Guiltily, I turn up the computer speakers, playing in the
background, and then I'm like, totally into it, which is how a
Southern California Nuclear Physicist would describe it, or a
man flailing in mud.  Sinking in quicksand.  Somehow, apparently,
I can't help myself.  I can't stay away.

No TV where I am.  I have a net feed, watching the press corps
interview Hillary Swank, with whom I chatted at the Governor's Ball,
five years ago, when she won Best Actress for "Boys Don't Cry."
Hillary is in the Press Area, a stage set up with mics and
cameras, and a big curtain with ABC's logo and the Golden Guy.

Hillary is quizzed by hundreds of reporters.  She's just lovely.
It's encouraging to hear how she worked hard, and waited for a good
script, so she get another great part, and could score another Best
Actress Oscar.  All right, Hillary.  Good strategy.  It worked.

My original plan was for me to stay at home and finish the
script polish I've been paid for, and get my work done, and keep
my mind completely off the Oscars this year.  I'm to Direct this
movie I'm ostensibly polishing, later this year, in the Caribbean.

Tough choice, huh?  Sit and work on my own stuff, or spend the night,
attending or crashing (depending) the Oscars, where a bunch of other
people give each other awards.  The choice is obvious, I should do
my own work, so why - apparently - can't I just do it?

Hillary's stepped down, after fielding a bunch of questions,
mostly geared toward how she got the part, and how she learned to
box, and what kind of dress she's wearing.  She's borne this for
many minutes with sunny good grace, and now intros Clint Eastwood,
her Director, again with his two Oscars, like back in 1992, when he
also won Best Director and Best Picture. I was there that year.
Deja vu.  Almost.

I remember being motivated when I was young.  Really motivated.
Make that "driven."  Make that "really driven."  I felt like I had
to make a movie that was good enough to play theatres, and good enough
to earn its money back, and good enough for Oscar consideration,
back when I was 20.

Then I was 30, and my drive had doubled.  Then 40, another jump
in motivation.  Now I'm almost 50.  Hope I make it before
I'm Clint Eastwood's age.  Or I explode.  Going to the Oscars
doesn't actually achieve anything, but it's good for motivation,
and my autograph collection.  Luckily, I have most of those guys.

Clint and his Producers are laid-back, cool old guys, telling how
they made the movie, and what about it was so compelling they
just had to do it.  I love Clint's coolness, he introduces the
Producer, a guy with a cement mixer voice, just like Clint's
character's voice, in "Million Dollar Baby."
Clint says, "Here's where I got the voice."

Clint tells his upcoming - working on a movie with Steven
Spielberg, and has many things coming up, very cool, very very
cool.  Couldn't be better news about a nicer guy.

Earlier this evening...

Jamie Foxx thanks everybody for his Best Actor Oscar,
telling how his Grandmother was his first Acting Teacher.

"She told me - stand up straight, put your shoulders
back, and act like you got sense."

He tells how she appears to him now, in dreams.  Very moving.
I know what he means - my Grandmother appears in my dreams, too.

Jamie tells a story of Sidney Poitier, talking to him, handing him
down the Best Actor mantle, and he almost unconsciously shifts
back and forth during the story-telling, between the characters
in his story, between Sidney and Jaimie.  Riveting.

Clint Eastwood thanks his mom, for giving him good genes,
because she was there the last time he copped two Oscars,
and she's 96 now.  Good genes.  He's gonna last.

Inside the Governor's Ball, after the show, way up at the top of the
Kodak Theatre, a Lady Reporter congratulates Chris Rock, saying "Very
Funny.  Very funny."  Chris is startled, and looks shell-shocked,
at the reporter, dazed.

It's been a rough evening for him.  Imagine being compared with
the likes of Bob Hope, Billy Crystal, Johnny Carson, and here you
are, onstage before all of show business, in front of a billion
people watching at home on tv.  You're the host of the Oscars,
and all you've got is a bunch of dumb jokes.  Only one man could
understand what that would feel like.  David Letterman, 1995.

Chris's monologue roared about how to make better movies, like
nobody else thinks about that.  His advice - wait until you get
top stars to be in them. This from the man who made "Pootie Tang."

Robin Williams, before he presents for "Best Animated Feature,"
tears some white tape off his mouth, to indicate he's been urged
to have better taste in jokes, himself.

Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton, of "Mod Squad" fame, enter the
ball. I remember talking to Quincy years ago, and him telling me
about being in Seattle with Ray Charles, in the early years. I
remember being amazed that people from Seattle could make it in
showbiz, giving me hope.  Thanks, Quincy.  This is all your fault.

There's Tim Robbins, and here's Oprah, looking skinny,
cruising the Governor's Ball.

Morgan Freeman looks happy with his Best Supporting Oscar for
"Million Dollar Baby," bringing a total of four statues, Best
Director, Best Picture, Best Actress.

Cate Blanchett glides by, in platinum do, with her Kate Hepburn
Oscar.  Cate's asked if she thinks Martin Scorcese should actually
have won for Best Director and Best Picture, she responds
"It goes without saying."  Apparently not.

Another Cate or rather Kate, Winslet this time,
blue gown, gorgeous, she's clearly having a good time.
If I were there, I'd definitely chat her up, but all I
got tonight is backstage video feed.

Beyoncé, whose name, I am informed, does not rhyme with seance,
sings three Oscar nominee songs.  Her evening was sing, change
clothes, sing, change clothes, sing.  This is to save time,
which they do.  Next year, she'll change clothes as she
sings.  I'll be there.

In a similar way, they had all the nominees onstage for each
category, like in the "Miss America Pageant."  The winner got
the statue, the losers...slipped quietly away, after being in
the spotlight of suspense.  How does that strike you?
Seems mean to me.

Well, what does it all mean?  Did I truly stay away, if I'm writing
this?  I guess not.  All I know is, if I were there, I'd start writing
this tomorrow morning, after all the parties and dancing.  Here it is,
barely midnight, and guess what?  I'm done.  Time to hit that script.
Best to you,

Sam Longoria

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