Annual Oscar Offal


The Oscar’s self-aggrandizing crowd is too much for me to stand, not even for you the reader. There will be some unfunny shtick. A precocious crappy kid will make a debut. At least one aging actor will be honored (in 2011, the distinction was Kirk Douglas’) and retired—Hollywood performs professional geronticide on the old—and hackneyed scripts filled with loud-mouthed, humorless, self-referential hedonists will abound.

The closest I’ll come to watching the 85th Academy Awards ceremony is “Fashion Police,” a sartorial send-up by Joan Rivers. She’s the only comedian and great wit who can get men to watch a program about fashion. Like me, my husband hates all “estrogen oozing” TV programing, but greatly appreciates Rivers. And rightly so. She’s lethal.

Adel’s monotone will be G-d awful, and while we will be spared Jennifer Hudson’s primal screams, Barbra Streisand will more than make up for the reprieve.

Other than lessons lost, “Les Misérables” represents great literature reduced to schmaltzy jingles, belted out by Hollywood starlets. The lesson lost: The “Les Misérables” I read as a kid was about France’s unfathomably cruel and unjust penal system, and the prototypical obedient functionary who worked a lifetime to enforce the system’s depredations. A similar power (Uncle Sam) and its enforcers recently hounded Aaron Swartz to death.

For those who care, here are the predictions. I’ve watched none of them. I’m most likely to watch “Flight” with Denzel Washington. The film got bad reviews, but I like the “disaster film genre,” although nothing will ever come close to Airport (1970) and its sequels.

Restless—I caught it on the Sundance Channel—is a BBC One production directed by Edward Hall of “MI-5” fame. With all its faults, Restless makes you realize that any British film, even a mediocre mini-series, is better than the American equivalent, big-screen productions included. (Britain retains the edge in this department.)