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'S 2005 OSCAR REPORT - IN ABSENTIA Hello! 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.
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