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Sunday, March 05, 2006 ISSUE #399

Academy Awards and real acting

# 399, March 5, 2006

COLUMBUS: As I write this, the Academy Awards are on television. It's been on more than two hours and nobody anyone outside of Hollywood has heard of has won an award, except for George Clooney. Folks watching at home had wondered what happened to the boy since he left ER on television.

Not many are watching the show tonight. Not many watched the five nominated pictures either, or any other picture shows except the one about Johnny Cash. If Jaoquin Phoenix wins an award it will be for his acting, not his singing. Men have been trying to sing like Johnny Cash for forty years, and no way an actor will be the first one to do it.

I bet more folks watched reruns of the Andy Griffith Show this weekend than went out to see a movie. When you see Don Knotts as Barney Fife, now that's real acting. Most folks going out to a cowboy movie want to see one with Gene or Roy or John Wayne.

In news from Oklahoma, a headline in the Claremore Daily Progress (online) says "Rainy Day Fund Overflowing". Well, of course it's overflowing. For the past year Oklahoma's had more oil flowing than rain. According to the newspaper, Legislator Tad Jones says he wants to use $125,000,000 of it to build and repair bridges. Since most of these bridges are over streambeds that are currently dry, you can see he's optimistic that rain eventually will show up. It will be a race to see if bridge building can drain the Rainy Day fund before the rainy days do.

[Postscript: Reese Witherspoon won an Oacar for playing June Carter Cash. The movie, "Crash", was a surprise winner. But it should not be a surprise when you realize that half the potential voters were actually IN the movie. They were just voting for themselves.]

Historic quote from Will Rogers:

Will was the Master of Ceremonies for the Awards dinner, Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, March 18, 1934. Here are selected quotes from his notes:

"I was always a little leery of this organization. The name, Arts and Sciences, I think that name has bluffed out more people than it has attracted. This is the highest sounding named organization I ever attended. If I didn't know so many of the people who belong to it personally I would have taken that name serious.

This is rather an unusual dinner this year. In looking over the possible winners, this is not a Metro-Golden-Mayer dinner. Heretofore, if you worked for Metro, when you signed your contract, you could, if you insisted, have a clause inserted in there where you was to receive an Academy statue.

The statues are lovely things. They were originally designed for prizes at a nudist's colony bazaar but they didn't take 'em. It must be terribly artistic, for nobody has any idea what it is. It represents the triumph of nothingness over the stupendousness of zero.

It takes great restraint to stand here and hand out tokens of merit to inferior actors.

There is great acting in this room tonight, greater than you will see on the screen. We all cheer when somebody gets a prize that everyone of us in the house knows should be ours. Yet we smile and take it. Boy that's acting.

I have never seen any of these pictures. They don't look at mine and why should I go see theirs?"

[The 7th Academy Awards, 1934, were dominated by the film "It Happened One Night" (Columbia Pictures): Best picture, best actor (Clark Gable), best actress (Claudette Colbert), best director (Frank Capra), best adaptation (Robert Riskin).]

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