And The Oscar Jose Goes To:

oscarThe wait is over.  The 85th Annual Academy Awards will be broadcasted this Sunday and all of us film fanatics will be sure to catch everything from the pre-show red carpet awkwardness where stars try to feign politeness for the camera while secretly wishing they could just pull the wedgie out of their butts, all the way to the last award (Best Picture) being handed to a group of unknowns while the stars from the other nominated films clap with joy for their comrades and silently swear under their teeth.

It has come to my attention however, that the Oscars are not what they once were.  Gone are the days of the luxurious Oscar parties.  Many people even skip the whole ceremony all together.  As a true movie lover, I have decided to throw my hat in the ring and make some suggestions to the Academy as to how to bring back the appeal.

This is no easy task.  In fact, the Academy (very much aware of its plummeting popularity) has already tried to spruce up its image by allowing more nominations for each award.  This was meant to leave room for more blockbuster successes in hopes that the millions of people who went to see “The Blind Side” on opening weekend would also tune in to watch it receive the Best Picture Award.  No such luck.  This ended up backfiring immensely with the cinefiles once they realized it wasn’t a joke.

But why not make it a joke?  Stay with me here, movie geeks.  In order to achieve more viewership, the Academy would have to cater to two different demographics that tend to have conflicting views.  They would have to have something for the blockbuster crowd (these would include women that paid to see “This Means War” and men who basked in the glory of “The Expendables 2”), while still offering something to keep the artistic film nuts happy (those that actually saw Amour and didn’t just lie about seeing it).  What better way to cater to both of these crowds than with humor?  The blockbuster crowd would love it, as evidenced by the popularity of not-so-well-written comedies, and I’m guessing the pretentious movie goers would have an easier time swallowing another terrible best picture choice if they knew it was all fun and games.

I do realize it’s much too late now as the mildly funny presenter speeches have probably already been written for the teleprompter, but here’s a comparison of what the Oscars could have been this year:

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:

My Pick: My bet is that this one goes to Daniel Day Lewis for “Lincoln.”  In fact, I bet this goes to Daniel Day Lewis any time he is in this category.  He could have had a role in the unfortunate flop “Movie 43” and still picked up a nomination.

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Biggest Laugh: However, if the producers really wanted to make this Academy Awards a big hit, they would choose Joaquin Pheonix for his role in “The Master” on the off chance that he would have another lapse in sanity and accept his award as the homeless rapper he pretended to be for a year.  That would be killer for the ratings.  Everyone would be talking about that in the break rooms on Monday morning and nobody would dare miss the Oscars again.

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BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:

My Pick: This one goes to Jessica Chastain for her role in “Zero Dark Thirty.”  No matter how many times it has been done, Hollywood is always amazed when a strong female character can be taken seriously and not just labeled as a harpy bitch.

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Biggest Laugh: Quvenzhané Wallis for her role in “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”  Come on, just having to watch whichever Hollywood elite was chosen to present this award try to sound out her name will be comic gold.  Plus, look how cute she is:

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BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:

My pick: Christoph Waltz for “Django Unchained” deserves the award here.  His presence on screen is almost as consistent as Daniel Day Lewis’s.

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Biggest Laugh: Although I’m not trying to downplay Tommy Lee Jones’ portrayal of Thaddeus Stevens in “Lincoln,” it would be funny if he showed the same level of excitement he showed at the Golden Globes:

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BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:

My Pick: The Academy will probably go with Anne Hathaway for her role in “Les Miserables” mainly because she’s too nice to snub.

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Biggest Laugh: Helen Hunt’s role in “The Sessions” may not have been as widely talked about but it included a fair amount of on screen nudity.  If only the Academy could convince her to accept the award in her birthday suit.  Now we’re talking ratings!

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BEST PICTURE

My Pick:  This one’s probably going to “Lincoln.”  What can I say?  Spielberg’s a genius.  I’ll give credit to “Argo” and “Django Unchained” for giving Spielberg a run for his money but let’s face it, a Golden Globes win is like a pity Oscar.  The big one’s going to Stevo.

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Biggest Laugh: I can’t think of anything more hilarious than the Best Picture Award going to a movie like “Life of Pi.”  Never mind the fact that it happens to be in a category of really strong films this year, it’s also a movie about an Indian boy on board a small boat with, what else, a tiger!  Oh wow, I’m still laughing that it’s even a possibility.

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I don’t expect the Academy to embrace my call to action right away.  Afterall, turning the Oscars into a laugh factory would take away a bit of the prestige.  But really, since when is anything on television prestigious anymore?  Which reminds me, we really must work on that nickname.  Oscar sounds a little too high brow…

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Jury Doodie

jury dutyThis morning I opened my mailbox and discovered they had found me again.  The government seal that marked the outside of the letter confirmed my suspicion.  The yellow forwarding address that had been taped over the envelope by the post office to confirm my new address just stood to prove that there was no stopping these guys.  Once again, I had been summoned for Jury Duty.

Now, I know that sounds harmless, but first let me explain my personal history with that of the United States Judicial system before you make any judgments.   This is my fourth time being selected for Jury Duty.  That’s right, four!  That means I have received the call to duty about once every other year since becoming a registered voter. I know people who have eluded their local court system for over 30 years.  I’m not even 30 years old.  I realize that the selection process is supposed to be random.  In fact, the clerk is kind enough to type that information out in the letter every single time.  Apparently, I am not the only one feeling cheated.  I have since come to realize that there is a mathematical translation to the word “random” and a legal translation.  The legal one has a little wiggle room like everything else in the justice system.

Of course, I can’t say I’ve ever actually served on a Jury.  In fact, every time I’ve been summoned there have been extraordinary circumstances preventing me from performing my civic duty.  The first time I was summoned I was a student in my home state of Oregon, which automatically granted me exemption.  You would think that Her Highness the Jury Fairy would have learned from this experience. Unfortunately, semantics don’t seem to slow the process down.  The second time my presence was requested in court I was still a student, busy completing my internship out-of-state.  My third time occurred here in Washington, post-graduation.  True to form, I happened to receive the notice during the busiest time of year at work while we were short-handed due to an employee being out on maternity leave.  I was able to claim undue financial hardship as well as extreme inconvenience for the physician who employs me.  As for this particular time, the letter couldn’t have come at a more convenient occasion.  Not only are we short one employee at work who is out on medical leave, but also that other employee who came back from maternity leave is now only working part-time.  Thank you municipal court.  You’ve really outdone yourself this time.

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I became very curious as to why my insight was deemed so much more important than all you other mindless goons who have never been tracked down and tagged by Big Brother.  Like any other concerned citizen, I reacted by sitting down and doing 2 hours of research and a few statistical math problems.  Now I understand it.  You see the jury selection process is very deliberate.  These people really care about their demographics.  It’s a part of that whole “jury of your peers” thing they keep trying to convince us exists.  So, I decided to find out just how special I was as a number.

I started with a flat number.  According to the 2011 census, there are 750 citizens of my county in my age group of 25-34.  Using the average percentage of females in my county that equates to about 377 women in my age group.  Using the average percentage of people >25 years old with a bachelor’s degree, that shrinks my category down to 89.03 women of similar status.  Of course, only registered voters are included in the selection process.  Using the percentage of registered voters in my particular county (54.8%) that brings the number of women in my select group down to 48.8.  Comparing that to the overall population of the county, that would mean I represent .006% of the population.  Lucky me.

So it seems I am doomed to be hounded by the powers that be for quite some time.  I had no idea what a rarity I was in my little corner of the world.  Now if only those other 47.8 bitches would step up to the plate.  It’s their turn at bat.