Friday, 23 January 2009

The Case of the Absent Oscars...

I was on my way to a hot date when my latest case hit me.


I looked up and saw an old 70s Gran Torino halfway up the sidewalk.

"What the hell?" I asked.

"Sorry," said the car, "I'm not really that good at steering without a driver to operate me."

"Can you go in reverse?" I asked.

"Yes," answered the Torino.

"Then get the hell off my chest!" I said.

The car backed off my chest and I could breathe again. I tell you, the sensation of a heavy weight of artificial material on my chest gave me a sense of how Pamela Anderson must feel.

"At least I drive better than the Batmobile," said the Torino.

Suddenly there was a bigger crash than a Weinstein production as the heavily armoured Batmobile took out a wall, and a news kiosk.

"You see," said the car.

"Why are you two going around without drivers?" I asked, neglecting to ask why they also able to talk.

"We've been snubbed!" said the Torino, the Batmobile said something in agreement, but its voice was muffled by all the bricks.

"What are you talking about?"

"The Oscars," said Torino, "we didn't get the nominations we deserved!"

"What am I supposed to do about it?"

"We want you to find out why," said the Batmobile.

"Sorry," I said, "but I gotta hot date tonight."

"Yeah," said Torino, "we read that lie in the narration, will you take our case."

"I hate being in metafiction," I said. "Fine, but it'll cost you big time."


I got down to business, and started beating the bushes, but then cops chased me out of the park. So I decided to rattle a few cages, which got me tossed from the zoo. Apparently chimpanzees are very touchy creatures.

That wasn't getting me anywhere. So I had to go straight to the source.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

The Academy's headquarters in a little rented office above a diner called Bubba's Beanery in Hollywood.

"Hello Sweetcheeks," I said the Academy's receptionist, Sweetcheeks McGee.

"Oh," said Sweetcheeks, "it's you Furious D, what is it this time?"

"I need to see the head honcho," I said, "the big cheese, the big boss, the man in charge."

"He's in there," said Sweetcheeks pointing to a half open door.

"That's not the office of the President of the Academy," I said.

"No," said Sweetcheeks, "but he runs everything."

I went into the office. Sitting at his wide oak desk was a Mummy, not as in female parent, but as in long desicated ancient corpse.

"Hello," croaked the Mummy.

"I hear you run the Academy," I said.

"I make all the final decisions," said the Mummy.

"Then why did Gran Torino get shut out of the Best Picture Oscars," I asked, "why did Clint not get a best actor nom, and why did you snub The Dark Knight except for a couple of technical categories and Heath Ledger."

The mummy sighed, and some dust fell off his ancient wizened head.

"Here's a little fact about the Best Picture Oscars," said the Mummy. "It doesn't always go to the best picture."

"I know that," I said, "I've seen a lot of Best Picture Winners. But why not break that habit."

"But then we might be forced to agree with..." the Mummy stopped, his dehydrated face twisted into a disgusted grimace, "... the general public."

"And what's wrong with that?"

"We're the Academy," said the Mummy. "We are above all you peasants! We only nominate people and films that hold the same disdain for the people that we have. Unless there's some sort of public pressure, I mean we had to nominate Heath Ledger, or face being lynched. That's why we allowed Robert Downey jr. to be nominated for a..." then he grimaced again, "...a comedy. Because we're going to give it to Heath. He may have done a popular film, but since he died shortly afterward, so he's okay."

"I don't understand this at all," I said.

"It's the only reason why I nominated Benjamin Button," said the Mummy, "I mean it's not doing that well with audiences, or critics, and it is basically a cross between Forrest Gump and The Jerk with some fairly slick aging effects. But it does have a lot of pretension going for it."

"And The Reader?"

The Mummy shrugged. "Harvey Weinstein wants it so bad he actually started crying about it. I just can't say no to Harvey, his contempt for the audience is almost as strong as mine."


"Sean Penn playing a gay martyr," said the Mummy, "if we didn't at least nominate it, we might risk being called homophobic. Though Penn does do a good job, and the film does have a certain charm."

"So why didn't Clint get an acting nomination?"

"He's 78 years old," said the Mummy, "and he has the biggest wide release opening of his career with a low budget film. That sort of populism is not what the Academy wants to be associated with. Besides, he won for best director, he should settle for that."

"Wait a minute," I said, "if all you want is something that's pretentious enough, why didn't Revolutionary Road get a nomination?"

"Because the only reason that film was made was to get a nomination," said the Mummy, "we don't like it when they try to hard. Besides even I'm getting sick of that whole 'suburban angst' genre."

"At least that makes sense," I said.


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