Let's Talk Oscars

My Song Is Done. Franco's Never Got Started.
All about the Academy Awards.
Feb. 28 2011 5:20 PM

Let's Talk Oscars

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Scarlett Johansson. Click image to expand.
Scarlett Johansson

OK, Dana— I see the orchestra conductor fiddling with his baton, readying to strike up the band and play us off, and I refuse to test his patience very much. Churning out Oscar coverage isn't exactly coal mining—for one thing, the former gig involves sinking into a slightly more toxic atmosphere than does the latter—but, my, does one grow weary. Nothing can compete with the Academy Awards as an annual rite of hype. I mean, only the Super Bowl commands a larger share of the national media mind, and that involves an actual game.

Why didn't Generalissimo Franco do an actual song-and-dance routine? The word on the street, dispensed by the ray of sunshine known as Nikki Finke, is that his singing is unlistenable. "You only have to hear the tape to learn why it was scrubbed," says her source. So there is your evidence that he knows when to say when.

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Why can't I quite get on-board with your articulate defense of the Kirk Douglas appearance? Perhaps because I am a horrible person and, watching the gentleman appraise the supple drama-queeny flesh of Anne Hathaway, I instantly flashed on Vlad the Impaler sizing the tasty neck of Mina Harker. But thanks for that Logan's Run reference. It's the second one to turn my head this month, following a line in Mark Harris' February GQ story on the studios' collective creative crisis. Mark quotes writer-producer Vince Gilligan: "The studios say, 'Well, no one else is coming to movies reliably these days except for young males, so we'll make our movies for them.' And yet if you make movies simply for young males, nobody else is going to want to go. So Hollywood has become like Logan's Run: You turn 30, and they kill you.'"

Did Christian Bale forget his wife's name? Maybe. Anything's possible. I've forgotten my own at this point. It should come back to me by this time next year, after a year of actual moviegoing restores a limited faith in the art of film and a boundless one in the showbiz hustle.

Signed,
X

Troy Patterson is Slate's writer at large and writes the Gentleman Scholar column.