Monday, February 28, 2011

Vive Los Oscars!

For a Southern Californian with  movie business kin, watching the annual Academy Awards on TV was as much a revered family ritual as eating Thanksgiving pumpkin pie or hanging Christmas stockings, along with watching all the film credits (and thus being the very last patrons to leave any theater salon).

So here it is Oscar night, and me without access to a real TV.  Ayyy!   After a desperate search for a live streaming Oscars site (after critiquing the actress’s dresses and hair during the Red Carpet show), I resigned myself to reading.  Justin TV had shut off the feed due to the copyright holder's demand, and all other searches led to either to a shoe ad or a direct streaming scam. . . until Roberto found a live stream from Spain of Tinsel Town’s biggest party.

The simultaneous interpreter lets me hear the first half of each utterance, and if the screen does not freeze, I can lip read the rest.  If there has been a good joke, I missed it, though what nostalgia to see the Bob Hope clips!  Gone are all the commercials--instead, the Spanish panel chats pleasantly until the broadcast resumes.  If they were disappointed that their countryman Javier Bardem did not win his second statuette, they diplomatically refrained from saying so. By the way, research shows that the winners live longer than the mere nominees, so we can look forward to decades more of Colin Firth's talent.  More Oscars are living the expat life, it seems!

It is really amazing to think that nearly the whole world wants to watch a U.S. guild (can you remember its real name?) give out awards in a rather boring stilted show.  Sure, they show some clips and singing, but much of the show is silly banter and long thank you's by and to people who otherwise would escape our notice.  After all, only a few minutes is dedicated to the major awards that most people recognize, e.g., Best Film, Best Actress, and Best Actor.  And they are almost all English-speaking if not entirely United States.

For whatever reason, it is a global community event.  And the show, as always, has run over, and Roberto is snoring softly. But I am determined to find out which film will make history by being this year’s “Best Film.”  The list of nominees was just read, though I confess that without a decent theater for 70 km, I haven’t seen a single one.  . . though it shouldn’t be too hard to rent any of them.   I’ve always used the Oscars as a way of picking films to see more than for affirming any I actually saw. 

And now for the winner. . . . Ta dum!   Yes!  My speech pathologist friend Audrey is not doubt cheering in Kingston, Ontario!  And no doubt pirated copies of “The King’s Speech” are already available and will now flood the Argentine video market.  Last year, when I complained to one proprietor of a “reputable” rental shop about getting a copy with that tell-tale notice that “this copy is for Academy Award members only” or some such thing, she insisted rather defensively that it was the only way she could stay in business. 

What can I say to that?  I suspect that the live streaming show that I just finished watching was not “official” either.  I feel like a kid sneaking in the “exit” door of the movie house.  Not that I ever did that of course, living on a military base.  (My dad would have let them throw me in the brig!)  Besides, it is free to watch in the U.S.

However, I promise to seek authentic DVDs to rent as my own gesture of thanks to those who bring us such cinematic pleasures.  I also offer my congrats to all the winners!  And gracias to the Spanish team that reminded me how movies can unite us despite differences in language and culture.  And I’d like to thank my husband, who made tonight possible, parents and my family for their steady love and support, and my dear friends. . . .

[Musical theme now to loud to continue; exit stage left.]

1 comment:

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