Miles Kington: It's Oscar time! And, once again, the twittish are coming

Click to follow
The Independent Online

I wish I knew why I find the Oscars as annoying as I do, which is much more annoying than almost anything else in the world.

I am usually quite good at not being annoyed by things. Fashion, for instance.

The fashion world leaves me cold. I have never finished an article on anyone called Armani. Nor, in fact, do I think I have ever started one.

When I come to the fashion reports in the papers I pass on by without sparing a glance, like someone passing a road accident without pity, so fashion never really gets the chance to annoy me. In the same way I don't find motoring annoying, or property annoying, or business annoying. When I hit the Fashion, Motoring, Property, or Business sections, I pass by with a sigh mixed with satisfaction that it is not my world and I luckily don't have to read it.

I know that there are people out there whose business is fashion, and who are hunting houses, and looking for a new car, and that it is important to them to read about such things, and I am very glad that they are doing so. There is a place for motoring and property and, perhaps, even fashion.

What I cannot understand is why anyone in the world, outside the nominees, and their agents and relations, should care about the Oscars, which are just a series of in-house Employee Of The Month-type awards. I cannot see why I should be deluged with endless speculation for months beforehand on who is going to walk away with the Best Supporting Actress, the Best Screenplay and the ...

Do we get endless speculation beforehand about the New Year's Honours Lists?

Does anyone get excited in advance about sports awards and West End theatre awards and architecture awards and Cookbook of the Year awards?

No. So why get excited about what Hollywood thinks about itself?

It is not even as if the Oscars teach us which films to go to. Titanic, that obese and bloated aquadrama, was voted best film in its year. Best film! Whereas Some Like it Hot, the funniest comedy of all time, got no Oscars at all in 1959. No, I tell a lie. It got one. And do you know what it was for? For Black and White Costume Design! All the other Oscars in 1959 went to Ben Hur, another bloated monster in the approved Hollywood style. So nothing changes.

Now, if the Oscars were confined just to Oscar Day itself, it might be all right. You could avert your eyes from the screen for 24 hours, and get back to normal straightaway. But Oscar worship starts months before, with critics nominating film roles as possible Oscar winners and people looking at other much earlier awards, like the Golden Globes, to see what it might tell us about the coming Oscars, followed by the false excitement of the nominations. On Tuesday night, Radio 4's Front Row, normally quite a grown-up arts magazine programme, drearily devoted its whole edition to froth about the Oscar nominations.

(What makes it worse this year is that a lot of British artists have been nominated, so we have more "The British are Coming" moments. That of course was the bombastic phrase uttered by Colin Welland at the 1982 Oscars, when he got the prize for his Chariots of Fire screenplay. The Academy must have been well pissed off by his hubris, because the British, far from coming, were left in the waiting room for years afterwards.)

And that, you will be relieved to hear, is all I have to say about the Oscars. I leave this festival of self-love to those who enjoy it. You are welcome.

For his Oscar rejection speech, Mr Kington was wearing a loosened bow-tie, a crumpled white shirt and not the cleanest of trousers. His press agent said later: "Mr Kington apologises for his costume on the day, but these garments have all been in his family for many years, as indeed have his opinions on many things, including the Oscars. Thank you."