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Oscar 2014 column: If movies could talk

March 04, 2014 18:17 IST

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Raja Sen in Mumbai

The Academy Awards are done and dusted, and while I’ve already spoken about my favourite speeches, I decided to do something a little different for my annual Oscar column this time around.

Here, in nine sections, are nine stories that depict the Awards this year, but each written in the style of one of the nine Best Picture nominees. (Follow the links in case you aren’t sure which nominated film is being referenced.) Because what better way to celebrate the Oscars than by looking through the very eyes of the movies we’ve lauded this year?

One.

He should never have upgraded the teleprompter.

Sure, it could now do a lot more, including write jokes itself, albeit a little stilted.

It was too easily amused, too eager to laugh at its own feeble gags. But still, the fact that it -- she -- could now think on its own? Wow.

That said, the teleprompter was getting too clever; he suspected she had learned to drink and now, during the Oscar telecast, was a dangerously sloshed scoreboard.

She wickedly kept blinking, making almost every single presenter fumble and mix up words, and what she did to that poor boy from Grease was just too mean.

Please click Next to see more.


Image: John Travolta
Photographs: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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Two.

The old man shuffled toward the auditorium, steady yet half-limping.

His lovely daughter told him it was all a scam, that the Academy would never let him win, but the old man pointed to his Cannes trophy for Best Actor and asked her to believe.

Damned Academy sweepstakes, she grumbled, deciding to humour her dad one more time -- so he could comment on how unfinished the montages looked and sit there while some former-comedian made faces at him.


Image: Laura, Bruce Dern, Andrea Beckett
Photographs: Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Tags: Academy

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Three.

Angelina missed her child.

She rattled on and on to the nice but uncaring journalist in earshot and he felt her pain as she gazed wistfully at Lupita Nyong'o.

She'll never be able to deal with adopting a kid that good-looking, felt the journalist, but still look at the old heroine wear the smile.

It's kinda brave.

He found himself warming to her, and the two became friends -- but hark, there is pleasant news at the end of the night for Angelina after all!

Her husband just brought home a bright, golden son.


Image: Brad Pitt
Photographs: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

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Four.

Harrison Ford heard the music -- the theme music from those movies where he had the whip and the fedora, or was it the movie with the guy in the black mask? -- and walked towards the centre of the stage.

But just as he started to talk, he lost contact and could feel himself float away.

Maybe it was the acid Jim Carrey had slipped him, maybe it was the really, really loud background score; but here he was floating away like Major Tom.

Even the girl that hosted the awards was beginning to look like Barbarell to the spaced-out Ford; he decided to quickly read all he could see on the weird, too-fast teleprompter and make a run for it.


Image: Harrison Ford
Photographs: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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Five.

Harvey Weinstein wanted the Oscars, but this didn't look like his year.

The Academy didn't approve of Harv and his methods to disguise Philomena's nominations and make them look like wins, but Harvey -- who dropped a fair bit of weight to fit into his Oscar suit -- wasn't ready to go out without a fight.

He decided no Academy analyst could tell him how low his odds were, and decided to slip $200 into Ellen DeGeneres' hat. (He also gave her a painting of some flowers, painted by Matthew McConaughey's mother.)


Image: Ellen DeGeneres passes on the hat to collect pizza money
Photographs: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

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Six.

Captain DeGeneres, who hosted shows for a living, thought the Oscars would be just another quick, easy trip.

But then she was taken hostage and the instructions appeared clear: no sudden laughs, no good gags, nothing at all that anyone might consider clever.

She sighed and awkwardly tried to laugh at Barkhad Abdi and Jennifer Lawrence, both of whom -- aware of the hostage situation -- flashed back rictus grins.

Finally, Captain DeGeneres hit upon a plan: she bought everyone some pizza.


Image: Ellen DeGeneres with a Pizza Boy
Photographs: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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Seven.

Everyone thought he was Jennifer Lawrence’s boyfriend or brother.

They’d have been more inquisitive about the young man the 23-year-old Oscar-winner came to the ceremony with if she hadn’t done such a masterful job of misdirection.

According to his dossier, he was Shia LeBeouf, wearing a new face, and trying to expose the hypocrisy of the Academy. (Honestly speaking he really wanted to be invited into the selfie.)


Image: Jennifer Lawrence


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Eight.

It’s all about the chest-thump, he explained to Leonardo DiCaprio.

DiCaprio went on a charm offensive, trying to be the nicest, smiliest guy, in his quest to finally win what would be a very well-deserved award.

The chest-thumper, on the other hand, kept thumping his chest and banging for more -- more, with Mud, more with Dallas Buyers Club, more with The Wolf Of Wall Street and more still with True Detective.

The voters didn’t have an option but to be impressed.

Always keep chasing, he said when he won, thumping his chest once as DiCaprio watched from the front row.


Image: Matthew McConaughey
Photographs: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

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Nine.

The voter wanted to make a difference.

He wanted to reward the smartest, the cleverest, the most original new cinema.

But the Academy had tightened its iron-vice around his opinion; they thought a certain way, he was but a cog.

He had to conform.

He had to give in and applaud movies that are laughed at for being obvious Oscar-bait; he had to stand and play the fiddle while Inside Llewyn Davis, Short Term 12 and Frances Ha were shunted out.

He had no choice but to look at Brad Pitt as if he were the messiah. And this while all he really wanted was a bar of hope.


Image: Mickey Sumner and Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha


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