Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Oscars, East Coast style

I remember what it was like to have to stay up until almost midnight to finish watching the Oscars telecast.

In fact, I remember because it happened to me on Sunday -- even though I live in Los Angeles, where the show starts at 5:30.

I capped off one of my strangest Oscar Sundays in recent memory by starting the show at almost 9 p.m. and somehow, some way, managing to watch all the way through to the end.

The day was so strange because it began in a hotel room with breakfast in bed, continued to a hike in Fryman Canyon with my wife, my dad, his wife and my son, and then segued naturally into four-plus hours of nailing pickets to a fence with a nail gun. That's not even counting the nearly three hours I was awake with insomnia in the hotel, from about 12:50 to about 3:30. What did you do on Oscar day?

When my weary bones arrived back home from returning the nail gun to Home Depot, having spent a thousand rounds on the fence, I could have gone to sleep right then. But we had a leisurely dinner of roasted chicken that my stepmother made before my wife and my dad joined me for the first half of the show. They eventually peeled away, but I stuck it out to the bitter end.

And the end wasn't so bitter, actually. I was really pleased to see Argo win the statue, as it was my second-highest ranked of the nominees, and my highest ranked with a reasonable shot of winning. (Silver Linings Playbook had some momentum at one point, but was probably never a real contender.) That makes two years in a row where the Academy has bestowed the statue on my second favorite of the nominees, which makes me wonder if my streak of being disappointed by the outcome in alternating years is finally over. Then again, these Oscars were probably going to please me no matter what, considering that the other top contender (Lincoln) was only two slots behind Argo on my year-end list (#5 vs. #7). As nice as Ben Affleck's acceptance speech was -- nicer for not being polished, I thought -- somehow George Clooney managed to make that moment his just by doing nothing but looking on with sage paternalism. Clooney has accepted Oscars before, and didn't feel the need to take the moment from either Grant Heslov or Affleck. A class act through and through.

The same cannot be said for the rest of the show. When it wasn't dull, it was groan-worthy. But that's all I'm going to say about that. If there had been a time for a full Oscar recap replete with catty comments, it would have been yesterday. But I had too much catching up to do at work, and just couldn't manage it. So you get a slightly stale Oscar piece a day late and a dollar short.

It's kind of appropriate that Affleck, a fellow Bostonian, finished the first Oscar night in over a decade that I watched on the same timeframe as if I'd been in Boston myself. For one night, I felt again like that wide-eyed junior high kid in the suburbs of Boston, who had just discovered this tremendous thing called the film industry, and needed to use whatever means were at my disposal to stay up until the very end to see who won.

However, I seem to remember fewer nail guns back then.

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