Wednesday 16 January 2008
Miles Kington: The Oscars finally come of age with a violent blockbuster
The Golden Globes ceremony this year was my kind of ceremony. No party. No dinner. No speeches. Nothing. Just a list of winners and everyone going home without a goody bag, leaving only a big question hanging in the air: "Will the Oscars be just like this as well?"
The answer to which is, No. They will be totally different. I know this because I have seen the script drawn up by the Academy Awards 2008 Committee Specially Formed to Replace the Normal Writers Committee.
These Academy Award guys are wily old foxes, believe me, and as soon as they smelt trouble, months ago, they were on the case.
Don't believe me? Then get an eyeful of this scenario.
Scene: an interior, a room being used as a conference place. Nearly a dozen men are sprawled over the place, chatting and arguing. The head guy is called Chuck. The others are variously called Guy, Nathan, Andy, Bimbo, Mr India Rubber Man, Don, Foster, etc, etc.
Chuck: So that's the idea. We don't give up on the Academy Awards. We don't let the bastard writers beat us. We do what we are best at. We turn it into a movie instead!
Andy: Like, a hijack movie or something?
Guy: A heist movie?
Nathan: We could call it "Oscar's Eleven"!
Chuck: Very nice, Nat. But titles later. Story first. How does anyone see the plot . . .? Bimbo?
Bimbo: Everyone knows the real story behind the Oscars, and we have to keep to that. Skullduggery. Backyard vote-fixing. I'll vote for your leading lady if you vote for my original screenplay. Naked power play. But this time it's all out front. It'll be the first Oscar ceremony to spell it out openly!
Chuck: Meaning, how?
Don: Meaning, violently. Chuck: How violently?
Don: Very violently. See, here's the big scene. Man comes forward with big envelope. He opens it. He says: ". .And the award for Best Original Camerawork goes to . . ." and a shot rings out, and he falls dead. Before anyone can move, shadowy shapes fill the stage and a mystery figure with a quite different envelope says: "Please keep to your seats, ladies and gentlemen, and nobody will get hurt. At very short notice the prize for Best Original Camerawork has been reawarded to – Sidney Grunstock . . . !"
Foster: Who's Sid Grunstock?
Bimbo: Who cares? From the sound of it, he's dead meat already.
Don: Because the enemies of Sid Grunstock want the award to go to someone else, and these people know they have got ten seconds maximum in which to kill Sid before he steps up and accepts the award.
Chuck: Who? What people? What's going on?
Nathan: Oh, Chuck, Chuck - you haven't been keeping up, have you? This is what modern Hollywood thrillers are like! Nobody understands the plot! Everything is bloodthirsty and violent and full of torture and darkness. That's why we are doing this script. This will be the Oscars come of age at last!
Chuck: I still don't understand. Bimbo: You shouldn't have said that, Chuck. We don't need people who don't understand. Mr India Rubber Man, take care of Chuck, would you?
India Rubber Man: Rub him out, you mean?
Bimbo: What else?
Mr India Rubber Man, who is actually a mutant left over from some robot heist movie where he never got into the script at all, moves obligingly over to Chuck and rubs him out. It is not a pretty sight. But nobody dares say so. People in the Academy Awards who speak up against violence tend to get found face down in a pile of rewrites the next morning.
Bimbo: A lot of you liked Chuck. I liked Chuck. So it was a damned shame we had to do that. If it's any comfort, we now know that he was a mole working for the FBI.
Several people present are about to say they are still not quite sure what is going on, but they all think better of it.
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