Parker County Today April 2016 - Page 6

A Letter From The Editor I have a lot of great memories linked to watching the Oscars. Growing up, watching the Oscars was a big deal at our house.  My mother would pop popcorn, prepare finger foods and we’d camp out in front of the television and vote on the categories, on best evening gowns, worst evening gowns and best/funniest presenters and who was the best host — ever. Johnny Carson got my dad’s vote, and since he’s been gone a long, long time (so has Carson, for that matter), I think Carson gets it.    Good or bad — watching the Oscars was big fun.  It was almost more fun when the Academy made what my father called “lame-brained choices,” but mostly he called it “80 Days — all over again.” Daddy never quite got over the fact that in 1956  The Searchers  was completely ignored by the Academy, not even nominated for Best Picture. Instead,  Around the World  In 80 Days  won Best Picture, which was pronounced “silliness” by him. Everyone knows that  The Searchers  was the best movie in the history of movies and that John Wayne deserved the Best Actor Award.  The only other movie he would have accepted as Best Picture material was  Giant. None of that happened, of course, and my father was convinced that the Academy was made up of a bunch of “dim-wits.” I noticed long ago that in my father’s eyes movies about Texas were always superior to those that were about some place like New York or New Jersey, unless they were war movies that involved Texans winning — those counted too. But, more often than not, the “dimwits” won out. Example II: In 1968, the Best Song Award went to  Talk To The Animals, beating out  The Look Of Love. Not good. To my father it was another “dim- witted 80 Days Moment.” Silly, disrespectful antics. My dad had the theory that actors in particular and the movie industry in general had an odd deep-seated embarrassment about their field. “They’re grown-ups making a living by pretending to be someone else,” he once said. “That’s sort of embarrassing. When they get an award for being the best at pretending to be someone else, they have to act like they don’t really care about the award. They have to make it about something else like a charity or a cause.” Remember when Marlon Brando sent a 26-year-old actress/Native-American activist named Sacheen Littlefeather (a.k.a. Marie Cruz) to accept, or should I say decline, his Best Actor Oscar honor for his performance in  The Godfather? “Real men do their own dirty work,” my father said. “Don’t send a little girl to do your dirty work for you.”  At the time, about 200 Native-American protesters were in the midst of a protest/ mischief-making stint at Wounded Knee. Just before the Oscar ceremony began, Littlefeather was backstage when she was approached by the show’s producer and asked why she was there. She told him that Brando had given her a 15-page statement to read if he won the best actor award. The producer told Littlefeather that if she talked at the microphone for more than 60 seconds he would have her arrested. She gave a brief, improvised speech and left the stage. Roger Moore went home with Brando’s Oscar and kept it until the Academy sent an armed guard to Moore’s home to retrieve it. Easy come. Easy go. Despite the remarks and reactions to the whole Brando “protest,” Littlefeather seemed to come out looking rather well. She was beautiful and gracious. Then, a few months later, when her nude photos appeared in  Playboy, the lovely, gracious activist was seen as just another wannabe actress who took her clothes off for money. She later said that the photos were shot a year earlier, but  Playboy  had decided not to use them. But, when she appeared on the Oscars,  Playboy  had changed its mind and published them. Her name still comes up in conversation now and then. It goes to show you my mother was correct when she said, “It’s never a good idea to appear nude in front of a camera — ever.”  Whatever. It was all a “Silly, disrespectful, antic.”    A stunt. A year later a naked man streaked past David Niven as the always-dapper Englishman attempted to introduce Elizabeth Taylor during the 1974 ceremony. Niven’s quip was unforgettable. He said, “The only laugh that man will ever get comes when he strips off his clothes and shows off his shortcomings.” That’s funny. I don’t care who you are.    “It’s staged, a stunt,” Daddy said. Actually, years later it came out that the Oscars’ streaker was indeed a stunt, a funny stunt, but a stunt just the same. Daddy was pretty perceptive.  The Oscars are no longer a big event for my family. My adorable parents have both been gone for years now, the family is scattered around the Metroplex and, because I get up at an obscenely early hour on Mondays to write for the NewsBlast, having friends over for an Oscar Watch Party isn’t practical.  This year I watched the Oscars with my lifetime boyfriend and HazMat, the Wonder Dog — both snoring from the sofa across the room  —  and my two Jack-O-Weenies snuggled next to me on a wing chair. Oscars are not a big deal to me anymore. But I still watch. The only Best Picture nominated movies I’d seen were Brooklyn  and  Bridge Of Spies.  I’d followed the  The Boston Globe  story that inspired  Spotlight  but had not watched the movie. Since it was about a group of courageous journalists, I was sort of rooting for it.  I couldn’t help but miss the kind of Oscar watching event that we used to have as a family, but then I miss the way we were all together for almost everything back then.  Throughout the “OscarsSoWhite” rhetoric, I had the feeling that I was watching a group of vain, augmented, self-absorbed people &WFV