Niagara Gazette

March 2, 2013

LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Oscars not an awarding experience

By Doug and Polly Smith
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Dear Mainland Movie Buffs — We hadn’t visited Planet Oscar since the year its inhabitants awarded “American Beauty” their best-of-show. If Oscarites cherished something that vile, we wanted no part of their world.

Having no movie house over here, we’ll occasionally visit the Mainland for the likes of “Blame It on Winn-Dixie” or, in 2012, “Life of Pi” at the right price at the Four Seasons or, recently, “Quartet” out in Clarence. For the most part, though, we sigh at most movie ads: “Looks like we’ll miss that one.”

But when our grandson’s Cub Scout Arrow of Light ceremony fell on the same weekend as Planet Oscar’s fly-by, and the Costly Daughter proposed a mini-party, we surrendered. Some observations:

• For professional entertainers, they sure have “dull” down to a science. Grumpy old William Shatner’s futuristic revelations to “host” Seth McFarlane seemed like tedium at the time, but the worst was yet to come ...

• Only on planet Oscar would they deem a song about insufficiently clad women uplifting, then unveil it well before bedtime, prompting the Costly Daughter to predict that the recent Cub Scout honoree would soon be Googling a four-letter palindrome. (From elsewhere in the room: “Surely he knows.”)

• How can any roll call of stars who died in the past year not include Andy Griffith? While Mayberry existed almost solely on TV, the sheriff had a fine film career including the caustic downer “A Face in the Crowd,” just the ticket for today’s Planet Oscar mindsets.

• While it seemed an achievement to have the orchestra orbit several blocks away, this no doubt caused the dreadful sound balance in which many singers could barely be heard over the music. But, with her own orchestra, neither could Adele.

• On the other hand (no pun intended) Shirley Bassey’s “Goldfinger” at 76 redefines “Golden Ager,” although we don’t recall her British Isle intonation when first we heard it in 1964.

• It seemed a privilege to have seen “Life of Pi,” which won more statues than any other nominee.

• Quentin Tarantino projects a complete lack of respect for his clientele, of which we’re not a part, but if we were, the feeling would be mutual.

• Sorry she fell up the stairs, but by that hour SOMETHING had to happen.

• Michele Obama announces the Best Picture winner? Doug, who voted for Romney, says why not? For decades, White Houses of all political persuasions have welcomed championship athletes. It’s not about politics, it’s about the office. This is not an opinion shared in our household. Polly gagged. She’d anticipated the rarity of 3 ½ Obama-free hours.

We wonder if and when we’ll ever land on Planet Oscar again. In the family living room, we enjoyed the company much better than the show. See you at the movies.


Polly and DougE-mail