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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

O is for Oscar

I have been fascinated by the Academy Awards, a/k/a the Oscars, for a very long time. As a kid, I'd watch the stars that I'd heard about for years, even though I had not seen much of, or ANY of their work. It was a great thrill.

But the person in those days I was most fascinated with in the 1960s was Edith Head, the costume designer, who won eight awards. I liked her name and I especially loved the glasses. Though The Incredibles director Brad Bird has not confirmed it, it seemed immediately obvious that Edna E. Mode, the supergroup's costumer, was a parody of Ms. Head. (And that the new CBS-TV show NCIS: Los Angeles' Henrietta 'Hetty' Lange, played by Linda Hunt, is doing Edna Mode.)

Eventually, I got to see more of the movies. There was a time when I became a film affectionado. I would particularly make an effort to see the movies that had been nominated in the major categories: Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Director, Original Screenplay and Adapted Screenplay. This meant going to the cinema a lot in December, January and February. Since I've never been a cold-weather fan, this suited me quite well. The Presidents Day/Washington's Birthday weekend of 1998, I saw five films in three days; four of them had been nominated for the 1997 awards: L.A. Confidential (Kim Basinger won for supporting actress; Curtis Hanson, with Brian Helgeland, won for adapted screenplay, lost for director; also lost for picture) and Mrs. Brown (Judi Dench lost for lead actress) on Saturday; Afterglow (Julie Christie lost for lead actress) plus some whimsical French film on Sunday, and The Apostle (Robert Duvall lost for leads actor) on Monday. In fact, the only performance in the major categories I DIDN'T see was Peter Fonda, who lost for best actor in Ulee's Gold; in fact, I STILL haven't seen it.

In the pre-Internet days, on the day of the announcement of the nominees, the great challenge was trying to find a radio station with good reception that was broadcasting the information live at 8:37 a.m. Eastern Time, 5:37 a.m. Pacific Time, write down all the information and kibbitz about the choices and the omissions. Now, of course, I can just go online, but a bit of the magic is lost.

This century, I watch far fewer movies. Seeing films on DVD, in my opinion, is a lesser experience which I do only as a last resort, such as when a film is no longer in theaters and I REALLY MUST see it before Oscar night. And these days, I don't even stay up for the awards but rather record them to watch over the next evening or three. Yet I still watch, because some part of the young boy who was dazzled by the magic of Hollywood still exists.
ROG

21 comments:

anthonynorth said...

I share your enthusiasm for films, though mainly from the 40s and 50s. I can't get enough of these. I think they tell more of a story than most modern ones.

SparkleFarkle said...

Ahhh! I hear ya! My blood courses Oscar gold, too (only to turn red upon oxidation)! As for Edith, I'm in total agreement. My first smitch-hood memory of the Academy Award presentations was of Ms. Head. Her snagging me into Oscarville that night was the start of a beautiful relationship: the annual Academy Awards!

Spiderdama said...

Interesting:-)
Have a nice week!

Reader Wil said...

Interesting post Roger! I used to like going to the cinema, but now I prefer being home and watch DVD's sitting in my chair, go to the kitchen for a cup of tea or coffee.But I can understand that you love the movies!

Hildred and Charles said...

Very interesting post, - I think longingly of theatre days, but they haven't been part of my days since moving to the country. DVD's are a nice alternative.

Rose said...

I love to watch Oscar night, too, but these days I rarely have seen any of the films nominated.

Funny that you would mention the new NCIS--I watched it last night and immediately thought of Edith Head when I saw the character of Hetty Lange.

Q said...

I look forward to Oscar night too.
I usually have seen a few of the movies.
I also watched the new CSI. I agreee Edith Head is an influence...
Sherry

jabblog said...

Oh the Oscars! These days they seem to be more about the dresses and their designers . . . ;-)

Nydia said...

I always loved watching the Oscar night! Since a child, when I would embroider something only to be awaken long enough to see all thouse gorgeous actresses and their dresses! LOL

Great post, thanks for visiting mine!

Kisses from Nydia.

Joy said...

Love Ocar night from the red carpet onwards. Nothing can compare to watching a film in the cinema, DVDs are a very poor second.
Its a pity a lot of the good independent films can't get distribution deals from the cinema chains and the big studios rule.

hip chick said...

I hardly ever go to the movies any more. I see maybe one a year. I barely even recognize the movie stars. I can't say I feel like I'm missing much. I do love to watch the old movies on DVD though.

Pam said...

I agree with Wil, I now enjoy being in the comfort of my own home and renting a movie I want to see.

Tumblewords: said...

I so agree - the old Hollywood had mystic but today it hides nothing which erases the 'glamour' for me.

Judi said...

I enjoy watching the Oscars too and all that Oscar red carpet fashion. I try to see the major films prior to the ceremony, if I can. Interesting O.

Jama said...

I love watching movies but got to be at home, not at the theater. Much more comfortable!

Irene said...

I love watching the Oscars. It's the magic of movies, and the star gazing, how we've grown up with the veterans like Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, how Kate Winslet gushes.. so drama.

Jay said...

I never knew about Edith Head, but I'd say you're absolutely right about Edna Mode! So funny! A tribute, for sure.

I loved 'Mrs Brown', as much for Billy Connolly's performance as Judi Dench's. Great movie. And yes, the days before the internet when you had to find the information you needed on the radio or TV .. frustrating at times, but exciting, too!

Tash said...

This is terrific! the likeness is uncanny.
I will find Afterglow and watch it.
BTW - I have a signed copy of LA Confidential paperback - got it from a boyfriend waaaay back when the author came to our college campus.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

I watch the Oscars too, which is kinda funny since I watch only a few movies a year and rarely watch TV. And the only Hollywood gossip I know is on the cover of the magazines I can't help but read at the grocery checkout. ;-)

Dragonstar said...

My husband is the film addict in our house, having started with Chaplin nearly 70 years ago! He would agree with you.

Jedediah said...

I'm glad to see that someone else is fascinated by Edith Head. I laughed so hard at Edna Mode and not one of my friends understood why.