Going from the Oscar Rodeo to Oscar night is like finally consummating a long-term seduction of Sting: After so much buildup, it's over in just four short hours. Here are some bonus awards from the Oscar-watching party that didn't make it to the telecast:
Best Fake Laugh: Will Smith may have earned himself a better seat for future Oscars telecasts with his consistent, active fake laughter. It didn't matter how lame a joke was, or how badly his own son was screwing up as a presenter; Will Smith was howling with laughter and slapping his knee whenever the camera cut to him. Put that man in the front row!
Smith didn't win Best Actor for his role in The Pursuit of Happyness, perhaps because the Academy didn't feel he'd reached the standard he set in this landmark episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (fast-forward to the five-minute mark).
Worst Presenter: Jaden Christopher Syre Smith. I don't care if he's only eight. Little Miss Sunshine is only ten, and she handled her business. When Jaden tried to announce another set of nominees before actually announcing the winner from the first category, a sarcastic fan quipped, "I hope that kid can rap." OK, that fan was me.
Worst Dress: (tie) Jodie Foster, and Torill Kove, director of Best Animated Short The Danish Poet.
Worst Suit: Tom Hanks. Hanks still had his awful Da Vinci Hair.
Best Oscar Accessory: Our hosts had a button-maker, which they put to fine use turning photos of nominees into tasteful metal buttons. I wore a Ryan Gosling and Forest Whitaker (circa Fast Times at Ridgemont High). At the end, someone made a button from my old Oscar ballot that managed to include the words "Babel", "Scotland", and "scars", which neatly describes the effect that those two films had on me.
Best Original Speech: Michael Arndt, who won Best Original Screenplay for Little Miss Sunshine, made a lovely speech about his memory of a family road trip, much like the one in the film, in a van with a broken clutch, and how much it made him love his family. It was more than the best speech of the night; it was the Best Original Speech.
Best Adapted Speech: After everyone was wearing multiple buttons, we devised an ingenious rule: If you were wearing a button featuring someone who won an award, you had to stand up and give an acceptance speech, too. Of course, we only enforced this rule after Alan Arkin won Best Supporting Actor, when Eugenio was the only one rocking the Arkin button. Eugenio stood up and gave a lovely speech, inspired by Arkin's stellar work in So I Married An Axe Murderer: "You screw up one more time I'm going to kick your spaghetti bending butt back to Milan!"
Worst Followup To That Speech: Me, for following Gene's speech with Arkin's trademark line in Sunshine, "Fuck a lot of women!", while sitting five feet away from an eight-year-old girl.
Most Reassuring Information from IMDB:
"Look at Jack Nicholson."
"What happened to his hair?"
"He looks like he has cancer."
"Ha ha, seriously."
"If he really does have cancer, we are such assholes."
The Bucket List (2007): Plot Outline:
Two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die.
Best Handicapping Advice: I picked Recycled Life for Best Documentary Short Subject, while my friend "Pukka" insisted it would be The Blood of Yingzhou District. When Yingzhou won, she said, "Always bet on AIDS."
Most Depressing Introduction: It was sad when Oscar thought that Cameron Diaz's most notable film credit was voicing Princess Fiona in the Shrek movies. It was sadder when Ben Affleck came out to present, and we were reminded that he's won an Academy Award.
Most Depressing Person: Backstage interviewer Chris Connelly. It was as if Matthew Broderick's character from Election had been dispatched to stand backstage and awkwardly bother celebrities. I half-expected him to get stung in the eye by a bee or try to wash his balls in a water fountain.
Best Conspiracy Theory: Best Supporting Actress and Best Documentary Feature were presented over an hour later than they were in the past two years. Clearly, that's because organizers knew Jennifer Hudson and Al Gore had the awards locked up, so they shuffled the order to keep the American Idol/C-SPAN audience tuned in as long as possible.
Most Applauded Dead Star: Robert Altman. The next-highest applause went to Peter Boyle, followed by Don Knotts, James Doohan, and Jack Warden. Rough year for the cast of While You Were Sleeping, and that's without even considering The Lake House. Bruno Kirby would have had more applause, but unfortunately, he led off the montage. It's just like how Olympic figure skating judges always leave room for the scores to go up after the first skater.
Biggest Cry: Forest Whitaker's wife, Keisha. The winners were unusually tear-free at the podium.
Special Achievement in Oscar Party Catering: The hosts provided a baked potato bar, a make-your-own-taco bar, and even an elaborate sundae bar, for dessert. They both deserved Oscars in the field of deliciography.