The Oscars Boob

I sort of feel a bit sorry for Seth MacFarlane. The poor love’s probably not had the nice week he was expecting after his little Academy Awards sing-song. Hosting the Oscars is a tough job, fraught with pressure and demanding skill. The temptation to reduce the whole lauded affair to a cheap joke is probably quite potent. Falling back on bathos in his clearly well-rehearsed Busby Berkeley style nod to breasts was possibly even a way of dealing with any latent feelings of inadequacy in the massively prestigious thing he’d been asked to do. Compound with the fact he has been propelled by his Family Guy success into a sort of alternative commentator on society, with probably more reach to the American public than the politicians themselves, a satirical guru who has earned his licence for irreverence and can say what he darn well likes. BUT BOOBS? REALLY??

Charlize Theron’s face summed it all up perfectly as her name was mentioned in the ditty; a disbelieving grimace directed to her date. I wonder if she felt her months of gruelling work creating the role of rape victim and murderer Eileen Wuornos would be so eminently dignified – years after her deserving Oscar win for Monster (for which her willingness to cast off her natural beauty to get fat and ‘ugly’ was more commented on than her spine-chilling performance) – by a cartoon-colouring chump in a suit.

In looking at the coverage on the official Oscars website, I noticed that the main feature was the red carpet pictorial. Who was the most glamorous? I also noticed (by noticed I mean dedicatedly checked by going through each one) that out of the 70 pictures in the red carpet gallery, 19 were of men, and 9 of those men had a woman standing next to them for good measure.

This may have been because all men were wearing exactly the same thing. Black tux, white shirt, black dickie, black shoes. DULLSVILLE. The Gentleman’s Club uniform may be barely worth snapping, but the gals weren’t afforded the same visual anonymity. One of the ‘main stories’ of the Oscars was Sally Field and Hilary Swank wearing the same dress. To my horror I saw it being debated: ‘who wore it better?’ Celebrity websites giggled about it; said that the women probably spent all night avoiding each other. What? I HOPE THEY STOOD TOGETHER AND HAD A RUDDY GOOD LAUGH ABOUT IT. I HOPE THEY HAD A COSMO AND GIGGLED WHILE SWANK DID IMPRESSIONS OF FORREST GUMP’S MUM. Why should they stand apart, while all the men mingled in the subtlest variations of the same suit?

It seems so ludicrous that the awards go to the female actors who play the hardest parts – the junkies, the victims, the sufferers of violence and madness – but that the Academy itself still encourages the vacuity of the surrounding pomp. They would suffer as a brand if they were to award vacuity in art, but would suffer equally if they were to phase out the glamour of the red carpet outside.

It makes you wonder: how can people like Seth MacFarlane blur the lines effectively, or even metaphorically pee over them, if the lines themselves aren’t even clear?

I have just one wish: that one year, just once, all the ladies of Hollywood get together in secret and decide to wear the same dress. The same simple black dress. Maybe ten years of doing that would make the difference.


Getting Stuff Wrong: Soap & Roy Orbison

Don’t you hate it when you discover you’ve been doing something wrong all along?

I’ve been using my ruddy washing machine for well over a year now, merrily going about my laundry business thinking I was some kind of goddess of meadow-fresh, and today I walked into the kitchen to find my flatmate Drew pouring soap powder into the tray on The Left Hand Side.

I froze to the spot in horror. I confessed I had been using The Middle Tray all this time; tried to laugh casually as I said “Crumbs, have my clothes not been clean since moving in here, like, ever?”, but I was not really laughing, people – IT WAS FAKE LAUGHING – I FAKED IT.

We did that polite British dance of “Oh, you’re probably right, I’m definitely probably wrong”, “No, no – I’m the one who’s wrong. I’m wrong about most things. I could just punch myself right now with how wrong I am. I HATE ME.”, but I knew he was just doing it to be nice. It’s clearly me who’s wrong, isn’t it? Drew can take apart a hard-drive with tiny screwdrivers in less time than it takes me to open a ring-pull tin of beans and I can’t even switch my computer off without singing it a lullaby first – of course he’s the one that’s right; I’m an idiot. I was horrified to find that I have been wafting Ylang-Ylang and Jasmine softener (AKA LIES) around like a total pretender – that my clothes are sweet-smelling but essentially dirty, like a busy prostitute who squirts herself with Givenchy as she cuts through the fragrance counter at Boots.

Where’s all the powder been going? It’s baffling.

What else have I been getting wrong?

What about the fact that until recently I’ve been calling people ‘funny fruits’? Who knew that ‘fruit’ meant gay? Everyone but me, it would seem. I have been calling my nephew gay. He’s five! He’s in no way ready for such a big life decision, even if he does love that pink kimono. (Not that I would mind if he was gay. You can never have too many people to watch Hairspray with.)

What about the fact that three individual professional breast-measurers have told me that I have been wearing the wrong size bra all these years and should have been trussing myself up in a crippling 32DD and forgoing breathing for the sake of not tucking my mammaries in my socks in ten years time? Hey, Boob-Wibblers of Debenhams! I prefer breathing; I SUPPOSE THAT’S WRONG TOO??

And what about the fact that Roy Orbison wasn’t really blind? My whole life, I thought that’s why he wore those big dark glasses even when he was inside. I saw The Roy Orbison Story three times before I figured out his sight was absolutely fine. And by figured out, I mean someone had to tell me, repeatedly over the course of an evening, with Google factoid back-up. It was a terrible shock for me. When Roy hits the high notes in ‘Crying’, I used to well up thinking of his cornea’s demise, and marvel at his ability to find his way onto stage without the help of a labrador. Now I think he must have been trying to hide the world’s longest hangover and it’s just not the same.

Why is finding out we’ve been wrong so painful?

I have got to start paying more attention and getting more general stuff right. In fact, I’m going to make that my resolution for 2011. If that is in fact the real year…