by David Christopher Bell
It’s silly to think that the outcome of Sunday’s Academy Awards is going to somehow change anything about the films nominated, just like it is silly to get any kinds of worked up about it unless you yourself happen to be up for an award.
Really, the fun of the Oscars is watching all those unquenchable egos sitting under one roof, patting each other on the back in the form of golden naked men. So in the honor of emotional extremity, let us look back on the greater award show moments in films – some of which portraying the very ceremony they hope to be a part of.
8. Jon Voight Loses to Tugg Speedman in Tropic Thunder
It’s kind of sad; judging from the screen shot of the film Jon Voight lost with, it could have been a really passionate role. That said, I’m more curious about the picture that looks like Sean Penn reading Braille.
Anyone else notice that in terms of humor and quality, Ben Stiller films double the moment he gets the director’s chair? And yet it only happens about once a decade, like a beautiful comet or a season of The Venture Brothers. What’s going on with that? Why is it that when we hear the term “Ben Stiller movie” we assume Night At The Museum, when really the films that are truly “his” are things like The Cable Guy and Zoolander?
What’s the deal with that guy? I like to imagine him locked away in a studio water tower like the Animanics, only let out to do shitty movies with the promise that if he’s really good they’ll let him direct.
7. Nick Reve Wins Best Film Ever Made by a Human Being in Living In Oblivion
It’s every independent director’s dream to win the coveted “Best Film Ever Made By A Human Being” golden apple award. Or is that a pepper? Also, more acceptance speeches need to be in the form of a big “Fuck You.” Can you imagine Meryl Streep dedicating her Oscar to the cab driver that almost hit her 3 years prior, or a shitty hotdog she ate while drunk?
Anyone who has seen this knows the best part of this sequence, which shows each member of the crew diving into their own little fantasy during the final 30 second recording of room tone during a film shoot. While most drift away to elaborate futures, the gaffer’s fantasy shows only the eating of a tasty hamburger, and the simple enjoyment that comes with it.
Positioned entirely on achieving a single shot, this is by far the best film about trying to make films.
6. Frank Gets Snubbed at the Ending of The Oscar
You can’t be mad at losing to Frank Sinatra, dude; he’s The Voice for Pete’s sake! You can check this baby out on YouTube, or just read the following spoiler about it…
It’s a neat idea – a series of flashbacks, all leading to the present moment of this one actor being nominated for a Best Actor award. The catch is that the role in question, that of an insatiable prick, didn’t require much of a stretch. It becomes clear throughout the film that this guy pretty much assholed his way to the top, and is now soaking in the much-undeserved splendor of it all.
The ending is expected, as when he is excited to hear his first name “Frank” called, the last name turns out to be not his own. Personally – I think it should have ended with him winning, because otherwise it feels like a way too long moral tale that no one needed to watch. Had he won it would have been much darker, and way less expected.
5. Steve Earns His Award in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou
Wes Anderson is like Quentin Tarantino in that his films are almost as great as his fans are annoying. You could never homage his films because his films already homage films before it. To quote Jeff Daniels in Looper, “The movies that you’re dressing like are just copying other movies.” This hipster nonsense is the basis for why films like that new Charles Swan III is crashing and burning – too much style and not enough story.
Anderson, however, has no problem with story. His style, however, is like cilantro: strong and encompassing, but if you don’t like the taste of it, it’s going to ruin the entire meal. Personally, though, I’m a big fan of both Anderson and cilantro.
Anyhoo – smoking a joint with your fish award. Pretty sure he leaves it on the stairs when he gets up too, which is a pretty awesome detail for the character.
4. Cameron Drake Outs His English Teacher in In & Out
This film is adorable. You can’t go wrong when Yoda is directing. You think Frank Oz goes into Yoda when an actor is being difficult on set? I would; no one can say no to Yoda, or Fozzie Bear or Miss Piggy for that matter.
Matt Dillon is one of those actors who plays blissfully ignorant really, really well. Also, it’s never boring to watch actors making fun of actors, in this case Dillon playing the oblivious artist shaking a finger at award ceremonies while simultaneously attending one. Never does the thought that outing someone as gay in front of half of the world would be crossing some kind of line cross his mind.
It’s that disconnect stereotype that you see with the wealthy and caring, like a pretty young actress taking publicity shots “helping” at the site of a hurricane-torn house without realizing that the owners might not want all their life shit on the cover of People Magazine. It’s not necessarily a fair picture to paint, but it’s funny as hell.
3. Derek Gives a Thank You Speech After Losing in Zoolander
Speaking of oblivious, this was one of many adorably stupid moments from this film – which hopefully will be made into a sequel not too far from now. Forget Star Wars or Indiana Jones, it’s the comedies we should be make butt tons of sequels for – what’s the worst thing that could happen? No one has ever said, “Police Academy 5 completely ruins the continuity of the series!”
Hell let’s do Zoolander like the Jason movies, we can have Zoolander: The Final Chapter and Zoolander Goes To Hell. Perhaps an Austin Powers vs. Zoolander before then finally rebooting the entire franchise from the start. Screw it.
2. Charlie Accepts His Lifetime Achievement Award in Chaplin
If you’re playing Charlie Chaplin (and nailing it) before you’re 30, it can’t really go anywhere but up from there. I mean… unless you get really into cocaine and booze and stuff. Fortunately, we got a happy ending from it all – and while I wasn’t happy with the idea of remaking The Singing Detective, I’m glad it happened. Without it – and oddly enough, without Mel Gibson – we surely wouldn’t have the Iron Man we hold dear today.
I went ahead and included the actual awards show footage because while the scene in the film is powerful as hell, it can’t really compare to watching the real Charlie Chaplin on stage and fooling around with his hat and cane one last time. It’s surreal to think that it was the first time he came back to the states in 20 years, however understandable because we’re the jerks who kicked him out.
1. Lieutenant Frank Drebin Takes On the Academy in The Naked Gun 33 1/3
Poor Phil Donahue. One exception to my previous “they should make 1000 comedy sequels” statement would be films like these, where unfortunately the true source of the funny has been lost indefinitely. I use the word “indefinitely” because I have not yet ruled out resurrection until I test my machine. It’s a long shot, but that’s why you test it with cats first.
I love the Naked Gun formula of ending each one at a big event, continually and ridiculously hindered by Drebin in the form of some kind of alias. Watching poor tied up Enrico Pallazzo cringe at the sight of Leslie Nielsen slaughtering “The Star-Spangled Banner” under his good name – that shit just gets me. So seeing James Earl Jones and Olympia Dukakis passively watch “Phil Donahue” throw up in a tuba is simply heaven.
It’s weird that, thanks to these films, O.J. Simpson really only has two public personas at this point: lovable movie sidekick and wife murderer. I guess he also played sports or something…