In My Week: Thanks Saddam, we'd have been lost without you. I know Sly, Arnold and Wesley feel the same way

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The Independent Online
Memo from Larry Trenchfoot, Writer-Director, The Cloaked Imposter.

To: Larry Finkelbaum, Head, LCD Studios, Larry Fatzigar, Producer, Larry Tempasent, Agent.

Enclosed my acceptance speech for Monday night. Any comments?

"Ladies and gentlemen, friends, Members of the Academy. [Modest, overwhelmed pause.] Thank you. This is a great honour, and one I will never forget. [Fond glance at statuette.] I can't, of course, accept this award on my own behalf, because as everybody here knows, a movie is not the work of any one individual, but of a whole team of people.

This industry is full of warm, talented, creative individuals who have worked soullessly toward one common goal: the enrichment of all our lives. I wouldn't be standing here today if it weren't for the contribution of these people, and, though obviously time won't permit me to name all of them individually, I would like to thank at least some of them. [Look directly to camera.] Those of you who don't get a mention tonight, please don't think I'm going to forget you in a hurry.

So, where to begin? Well, Imposter would have been nothing without our wonderful cast. That they achieved such quality in their acting was little short of miraculous. We were very lucky to have the talents of Manila Starbuck, who courageously sniffed at nervous exhaustion to be with us. We all cherish fond memories of Manila's punctuality, good humour and boundless energy, and were touched by the devotion of Donna, her personal pharmacist, who was permanently on hand in her trailer to ensure that these qualities never flagged. The personality problems between Manila and Harley Burke were greatly exaggerated by the National Enquirer: Harley is above everything a dedicated thespian, and no red-blooded sex symbol such as he is could have failed to strike up a cordial relationship with an actress of Miss Starbuck's obvious standing.

Thanks, too, should go to Harley's lovely wife and former publicist, Mindy Mansfield, whose timely marriage to him laid to rest the rumour mill and rescued the mid-west audience figures. Mindy has proved to be talented in her own right, as the five-film deal she landed with the same studio as her husband shortly after their wedding proves. Talent runs in the family: Mindy's brother, Jonas, acted as personal assistant to Harley on our set and rapidly scored a promotion to Best Boy.

But the cast is only part of what goes to make a great movie like Imposter. There are so many people to thank for so many different forms of input. First among them is Larry Finkelbaum of LCD Studios, who sat on my project for more than 20 years before finally allowing me a third of the original budget on condition that I cut out the Commie tendencies. Thanks, Larry: I owe you one.

I would also like to thank the people of Trailerpark, Indiana, who reacted so unfavourably at test screenings to the original ending, in which the villain bought himself a seat in the Senate, that the studio ordered a complete rewrite. After consultation with my lawyers, I fully accept that the cameo role involving Arnold Schwarzenegger and a hand-held nuclear missile gun was both more realistic and more morally justifiable. This just goes to prove how vitally important the opinions of you little people are to us in Hollywood.

Thanks, also, to the Teamsters Union for their provision of Italian- American labour. Their professional driving skills are second-to-none, and well worth the extra few hundred thousand bucks. Also, a word to Mr Burke's personal driver, Tito, who unfortunately had to be replaced just prior to the start of shooting. Get well soon, buddy. We're rooting for ya.

I would also like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the Islamic peoples of the world for providing us with a source of villains now that we can no longer rely on the United States of Russia to threaten American democracy. We're living off the fatwa of the land thanks to you guys! No, but seriously, Saddam, thanks: we'd have been lost without you. I know Sly, Arnold and Wesley feel the same way.

I must also mention my latest discovery, Miss Honey Darling, who was a complete unknown when I cast her in the role of Laura Farmgirl. Honey has proved to be a real pro. She is such a pro, in fact, that far from discovering her working in Sunset Boulevard, as the publicity material suggested, I in fact found her working on Sunset Boulevard. Her performance convinced me to give her the part. My philanthropy has been amply rewarded. Thanks, Honey.

I see that time is running out, but I have one more thank-you to make. And that's to the most important people in my life, my parents, whose discouragement and lack of belief in me have dogged my every step. Thanks, for nothing, Mom and Dad. If you expect me to visit you in your state old people's home in New Jersey, think again. I'm too busy sitting by my olympic-sized pool.

Members of the Academy, thank you. This statuette will have pride of place in my home. I will use it as a doorstop in the guest powder room, so that everyone will be impressed by my sense of humour and modest desire not to show off.