Award for most lame category goes to ...

Of Moose and Men

Posted: Sunday, February 18, 2007

I know it’s difficult to hang on, but hang on we must. There are only seven more days until the BIG NIGHT. You know the one I’m talking about: Academy Awards Night. Ah, that glorious evening where glitz and pointless schmoozing as a lifestyle are brought forth and paraded about for public consumption as if it were entertainment.

Everybody is familiar with the Academy Awards, but most of us aren’t aware of the rules involved in nominations. I checked them out on the Internet and was amazed at just how stringent the rules for entry are. For instance, unless a film has played in a Los Angeles County theater for a minimum of seven consecutive days, within the time frame specified for the Academy Awards nomination period, it is ineligible for nomination.

When I told Mrs. Poynor about the LA rule, she immediately wondered aloud why just Los Angeles County. I reasoned the rule existed as a way of demonstrating the cinema industry’s belief that LA is the navel of the world. Georgia took exception to that, opining that it would be more appropriate to compare LA to another puckered anatomical region.

Another restriction for nomination is the film must have its first showing in a theater. If the initial showing is on broadcast or cable television, home videos or Internet marketing, it is immediately ineligible for consideration. (The exception to that rule is up to 10 minutes, or 10 percent of a film, whichever is shorter, may be shown in a nontheatrical venue for promotional purposes prior to the film’s actual release. (In other words, the film can be advertised.)

There were all sorts of other interesting rules associated with nominating films, but the one that surprised me the most was what had to be submitted to the Academy. There were only four things listed: a signed form, the name of the Los Angeles County theater the film played in, the dates it played in the LA theater, AND “full, complete and authentic credits.”

Well now, that explains a lot about why some of the Oscar winners are real head scratchers. Obviously, those of us who get up and walk out at the end of a film, opting to skip the credits, are consistently missing the Academy Award material. Judging by the rules, only credits are responsible for deciding which and who receives awards. Well, a line has to be drawn somewhere. And frankly, I wouldn’t want to be forced to sit entirely through some of the dogs that have won in years past, either.

Truth of the matter is, the American public is treated to less than half of the Academy Awards that are passed out. Next week is the big show, but there are categories quietly celebrated in darkened rooms, at secluded luncheons and dinners. Those are the obscure awards bestowed during the week before the media extravaganza referred to as “Oscar Night.” They are, if one were to use an analogy, the birthday parties thrown for members of the family best kept locked away in the attic.

In keeping with this column’s sterling reputation of enlightening the Peninsula Clarion’s readership, I feel it is my duty to bring those forgotten awards into the light of day. And the categories are:

· “Best Film Based on a Novel Not Actually Read by Anyone Associated With the Production of the Film.” In addition to the nomination requirements list above, the words, “Based on a novel by ...” must appear somewhere in the credits. These are usually shorter films, shot in grainy film, using little or no costuming, and have decidedly adult themes.

· “Best Dead Action Short Film.” Being politically correct, Hollywood could not be biased to only live action. HBO’s series, “Six Feet Under” was inspired by an early Dead Action winner.

· “Best Lethargic Film.” Cartoons for those who want their trip to the theater to be a little more relaxing. Rumor has it that this year’s shoo-in is “It’s a Slug’s Life.”

· “Best Foreign Short Film by an Eastern European Director With Six Fingers.” Oddly enough, all this year’s nominees are from the Chernobyl region.

· “Best Film Done Entirely in an Obscure Foreign Language With Difficult to Read Subtitles.” Oddsmakers are looking at Mel Gibson for this category. The rumor mill has it his weekend production, “Mumblings in Sanskrit” will beat out Billy Bob Thornton’s work, “Sidewalk Conversations in Waco, Texas.”

“Best Semi-factual Documentary Film With Painfully Obvious Liberal Leanings.” A record was set this year when Michael Moore got all five nominations.

· “Best Achievement in Makeup Applied With a Trowel.” It’s a close call between “The Tammy Faye Baker Story,” and “Carmen Electra — No Sweat.”

“Best Editing of a Foreign Short, Short Film Clip for Children on Ritalin.” This year’s certain winner, by that Eastern cinematic genius O. Gno, was nothing but the film’s credits cut down to less than 10 seconds.

So there you have ‘em. Almost makes watching next Sunday a disappointment, doesn’t it?

A.E. Poynor is a freelance writer who lives in Kenai.

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