The Space Needle is My Neighbor

"A mind stretched by a new idea can never go back to its original dimensions." - Oliver Wendell Holmes
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Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Oscars As Entertainment; I Remember Sacheen

A quick review of this site shows that quite a bit has gone on over the last few months that I've completely failed to make mention of. (See, I said you'd need to bear with me- I'm already ending my sentences with prepositions). Groundhog's Day, Valentine's Day, even Mardi Gras, and yes, I did check and the Bourbon Street cam is still fully functional....but what about the Oscars! We haven't missed those and they're happening a bit earlier this year, I see. To tell you the truth, my film-awareness has diminished over the past few months, but I do have to feel it is through no particular fault of my own. To paraphrase; "It's the movies that got smaller- not us!". Directly in front of me is the annual Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair and I confess, it's been sitting here unopened for a couple of weeks. There's Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson on the cover. Did they even make any movies in the past year? (Don't get me wrong- I love 'em both). Ever since they did that hilarious bit a few years back, with Wilson dressed as Harry Potter and Stiller as a Hobbity-looking creature, I think they've come to represent the finest entertainment we can expect to see at the Academy Awards; the endearing, self-effacing behavior of those actors who realize that it IS all about entertainment and not the advancement of some very worthy, albeit tedious cause. Think Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins and, let us not forget Sacheen Littlefeather! A word about Sacheen, for those of you who might not remember the 1973 ceremony as clearly as I still do. Sacheen's real name was Maria Cruz, and until she stood in for Marlon Brando who won for The Godfather that year, her biggest claim to fame was as holder of the title of Miss American Vampire 1970. In a speech which ran to 15 pages in it's entirety, and of which only 45 seconds worth was allowed on the broadcast, Marlon, through Sacheen, declined to accept his Oscar in the name of the siege at Wounded Knee and the denigration of all Indians through their mostly unfavorable portrayal in films. The event provided a stunning moment when the majority of the audience (Hollywood Royalty! As Joan Crawford had always called them) booed Sacheen-Maria off the stage. Wow. Now that was some entertainment, and like Ben and Owen's performance, a moment certainly enhanced by the donning of a "costume", for Sacheen was no Indian, truly. In the insuing years, we've been treated to similar heartfelt speeches on behalf of various causes and there are certain 'issue-laden' performers who by the very mention of their name as possible attendees at the awards ceremony, increase the wince factor ten times over. I have read various reports that a show of protest against the war is planned for this year's Oscar event, including the likes of Dustin Hoffman, Michael Moore and Kirsten Dunst (???) While I definitely applaud their willingness to state their position publicly, don't we all occasionally deserve something as mindless as the Oscar event potentially can, and usually is shown to be, to ever-so-briefly get our minds off the troubling mess that our government has gotten us into? On Monday we can all go back to being the conscientious, upright citizens we know ourselves to be. OK? Granted, at this point it might take the resurrection of Ann Miller, with that mind-boggling creepy black pompadour of hers, in some gawd-awful, bombastic tribute to Busby Berekley, to even begin to temporarily, if only for a few seconds, eradicate the images of the destruction and destitution that have befallen Iraq since our arrival. In order to continue our efforts against this travesty, we need to unburden ourselves every once-in-awhile, in order to come back stronger and more dedicated to the purpose at hand. I hope you're with me on this one. Let the Oscars be a celebration of the craft that does bring all humanity to a greater level of understanding through the magic of storytelling on film.


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