I went to an Oscar party at Sunset Cliffs in O.B. The affair was a potluck, and I stopped at a grocery store to pick up a cake. A few days earlier, when I was at the same store, I saw they were charging me more than the $10 the cake was listed for. I asked why, and the clerk said, “Because yours is a special order.” I replied, “That was for your benefit. The only thing special I’m doing is having you write ‘There Will Be Cake’ on it. I’m not having you make little oil wells out of toothpicks or anything. If it’ll save me ten bucks, I’ll just come in on Sunday and have you write that on one of the cakes that’s already made.” She looked at me like I was crazy and said, “Well, you have to also hope there’s someone working here.”
When I arrived at the grocery store 30 minutes before the Oscars were to begin, the same woman was working. I picked out a cake and had her write that on it. She wrote “becake” as one word, but I wasn’t in the mood to argue. I made up little signs to put on the cake that looked like writers’ picket signs. They read, “Writers scale — more after eating cake,” “Jay Leno brought donuts. Josh brought cake.” There were more, equally unfunny but cute. I was driving my girlfriend nuts as we were going 80 on I-8 and I bugged her to put them in the cake. She said, “I’m not opening this up and getting cake all over me.”
When we pulled up, we placed them on the cake before walking in. The crowd was talking movies. When the camera showed Jack Nicholson, someone made a comment about him wearing shades. A woman said that she loved The Bucket List. I said, “That movie was awful.” We debated about it, but it didn’t last long; she never told me what it was she liked about the movie. It was just me ranting about the movie’s clichés. I recalled causing a disturbance at an Oscar party when I complained how bad the movie Crash was.
Jon Stewart came on screen, and we all agreed he was funny. I liked that he didn’t tell too many political jokes. I don’t think the Oscars should be about that. I did think he would have more to say about the writers’ strike. He had a line about Norbit being nominated for an Oscar in the make-up category. He said something about the Oscars not recognizing bad movies, which had us all laughing.
When they showed Johnny Depp being made up for Pirates, I asked, “They got a nomination for putting eyeliner on him?” All the women in the room spent the next ten minutes talking about how much they loved him. One older lady scolded him through the screen for chewing gum.
Stewart said that during the commercial break they were going to make fun of what everyone at home was wearing — “Oh yeah, it works both ways.” Since I arrived just as the show started, I didn’t get to see any of the stars show up. I like all the pregame stuff at the Super Bowl, but with the Oscars, it’s guys in black tuxedos, women in fancy dresses, and the occasional Björk wearing a huge swan that everyone talks about for days. I don’t see the appeal. I was talking with someone there about Diablo Cody’s script for Juno. “It’s obviously going to win the Oscar for best screenplay,” I said, “but a lot of it was poorly written.” When she won, she had a dress to show off the pinup girl tattoo on her arm...I assume to show how rebellious she is. Stewart joked about her being an “exotic dancer,” and I said, “They should’ve had a pole come out from the stage instead of the microphone.”
After some black musicians performed, Stewart said, “Hal Holbrook was in the aisle doing the Cabbage Patch during that song.” Holbrook didn’t seem happy about that, although, he may not have heard it.... Someone at the party said, “That’s kind of racist. That song wasn’t a dance song, so why would Holbrook have being doing the Cabbage Patch? It’s implying that any time African-American musicians perform that there’s a hip-hop element to it.”
Stewart joked about another actress’ talent. He started to recite the roles she’s played and added, “She even played Bob Dylan.” Everyone at the party laughed. I don’t think they realized that that wasn’t the joke. The actress, along with several other actors, played Dylan in a movie that came out this year. Stewart’s punchline was that she played the dog in No Country for Old Men and that she was even playing him (Stewart) at that very moment.
A woman named Ann showed up. She had done some filmwork in L.A., and people asked her about the voting process. She explained what she knew about how the writers vote in the writing category, the directors vote for the director, but everyone, including the actors, can vote on all other categories. She looked at me for confirmation and I said, “That’s what I’ve heard. But you know a lot more than I do. The only movies I’ve done are...well, I better not get into that.”
When an animated bee with Seinfeld’s voice came on screen, it said, “I’m going to show you some of my previous work.” There were scenes of bees in other movies. When there was a swarm, I said, “They should have an arrow on the screen pointing to which one is him,” and when they did that, the crowd laughed and someone said, “You’ve seen this before.”
After the award was handed out for film editing, Stewart said, “Someone just took the lead in their Oscar pool based on a guess.” I laughed because I had a pool going, and those awards are often what determines the winner, especially when there were few surprises. Daniel Day-Lewis won, as was expected. Someone said, “They should have a separate category for the best villain.” I said, “Good idea. Or, this year, for best mustache. Although, Lewis would still beat out Josh Brolin in that category.”