Wednesday has been Column Day for 12 years, and over 12 years some stuff will happen. My rule of thumb is that one should not re-read oneself unless one is willing to pay the emotional price, which usually involves groaning, but at least it’s some sort of record of what I was thinking, or not thinking. Some of these are collected in my books, but I’ve decided to ignore that for the time being and just find one from the past, every Wednesday, and post. If not for your edification, then mine. Groans are acceptable.
From February 23, 2005
If you’re any sort of a movie fan, and I’m assuming you are or else I’d feel really dumb writing this column, you know that this Sunday, February 27, is Oscar Night.
So, if you’re one of those like me who looks forward to the annual Academy Awards, and you’re starting to get anxious about the winners and losers (and who doesn’t?), I’m here to help. I’m giving you a head’s up on who’s taking home the statues. No need to thank me; my pleasure.
I’m actually the perfect person to pick the winners in advance, as I’ve only seen one of the nominated movies. This is a good thing, trust me, since Oscar predictions are usually based on three criteria:
1. Who SHOULD win.
2. Who WILL win.
3. Something else I can’t think of at the moment.
This year, though, having little first-hand knowledge of the films involved (and thus no personal bias), I decided to approach it scientifically. The Oscars are voted on by individuals, and over the past decades there has been little, if any, scent of scandal or corruption, so we can first of all figure it’s a clean race. Plus, it seems pretty easy; I don’t think there’s much chance of someone intending to vote for Leonardo DiCaprio for Best Actor, for example, and accidentally casting their ballot for Pat Buchanan. This will be a chad-free vote.
And, although these are individuals, a look at history gives us a sense of a group think mentality. After all, these are people in the same industry. So, after doing my usual exhaustive research, which frankly I don’t think I get enough credit for, here are my predictions.
Best Supporting Actor: Morgan Freeman for “Million Dollar Baby.”
Best Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett for “The Aviator.”
Best Actress: Hillary Swank for “Million Dollar Baby.”
Best Actor: Jamie Foxx for “Ray.”
Best Director: Martin Scorsese for “The Aviator.”
Best Picture: “The Aviator.”
There. Now you can relax and enjoy the show. I feel very confident about this. And please, someone let me know if I’m right.
Because I’m going to miss the Oscars this year.
Oh, I might catch a little of the end, if it happens to run a little long (you think?). But I’ll be otherwise engaged.
Sunday I’ll be marking the 50th anniversary of an event that profoundly changed my life, as well as many other lives. I’ll also be marking the 22nd anniversary of another day that changed my life, if in subtler ways.
Did you know we’re re-living 1983 this year? Yep. Wonder what day of the week February 27 was in 1983? Just look at your calendar; same as 2005.
On that Sunday in 1983, I took my girlfriend to meet my parents.
They’d met her before, actually, briefly, back when she and I were just co-students in college and co-workers in a restaurant, but this was different, and I sensed they were dubious. I’d switched girlfriends in mid-stream, after all, and I’m sure they worried this would be a pattern, a bounce from love to love. Still, they were gracious and friendly.
And my mom had baked a cake. Because it was Julie’s 28th birthday, that day, that Sunday, the one I remember so well.
My mom does things like that.
I bought her boots for that birthday. The next year I gave her a shower massage thing, but we were married by then. We still are.
We still are. I have no explanation, no sense of why she hasn’t kicked my sorry rear out the door on many occasions, except that maybe everyone needs a project in life and I am hers, I dunno.
But after 22 years, I still like to lie on the bed and watch her stand in front of the closet in her underwear, trying to make a decision. I still perch at the top of the stairs and listen to her sing. I still, sometimes, sit on the sofa and watch for her out the window. I still want her to laugh at my jokes and eat what I cook, to read what I write and remind me to take a shower once in a while.
So Cate and Leo and the rest will have their shindig without me this year. I take what I can get, and what I got was brains, beauty and talent, all of it wrapped up in five and a half feet of Texas’ Finest, and if I forget that once in a while then shame on me.
But not this Sunday, no sir. This is my girl’s day, and she will have a good time, knowing she’s at the height of her powers, knowing that life is just now getting very interesting. This beats the movies any day, but particularly this one, and the fortunate few who come away Sunday night with a little gold man will have nothing on me, nothing compared to what I’ll be bringing home that night, knowing, as I do, that I wander through life bathed in the glow of reflected light, lucky man that I am.