Monday, January 18, 2010

An Awarding Experience

The world famous film director was in a jazz club, in New York, blowing into his clarinet. He did that from time to time---kind of a Bill Clinton type with the woodwind. Not professional but not a rank amateur, either.

It was a Monday night, and since he blew the clarinet on Mondays, why should this one be any different?

Even if it was Oscar Monday, and even if the film director was up for an award that evening.

Woody Allen caused a stir when he blew off the Academy Awards in the late-1970s. His brethren found it odd that he couldn't rearrange his schedule for such an event.

Several years before, the actor Marlon Brando, protesting the treatment of Native Americans, boycotted the Oscars, even though he was up for Best Actor for "The Godfather." Sure enough, Marlon won, and in his stead was a young Indian girl, who delivered Brando's message of protest while the crowd murmured loudly.

Stars using awards ceremonies to either further agendas or make statements never did sit too well with me. It's showing a distinct lack of respect for the business that, frankly, pays your bills.

It's a captive audience, though, when you're at the podium and you have the floor. It's a tempting thing, I'm sure, to pontificate about something that is important to you. But life is full of temptations that shouldn't be acted upon, you know?

I bring this up because I adored Robert Downey Jr.'s acceptance speech last night at the Golden Globe Awards. Downey won for his Sherlock Holmes movie, and he eschewed the standard, boring thank you stuff.

"You think I'm going to thank anybody? Pretend like it's a collaborative effort? They needed ME, man!"

Downey's tongue was planted firmly in his cheek, and it was funny as hell.


Robert Downey Jr.


I made brief mention of Downey a short while ago, in a post about Charlie Sheen and his troubles. I wrote that Downey ought to be consulted by Sheen, to find out how the latter can get his life back on track.

What I also said was that Robert Downey Jr. ought to be thankful that he's alive, let alone working again, after his years of substance abuse. And I'm sure that he is. He looks great, and has been acting in some acclaimed films of late. His acceptance speech was brilliant: funny, irreverent, but also self-deprecating. If it was off the top of his head, I'm even more impressed.

Downey's spiel was what more acceptance speeches should be like. God bless those who thank everyone, but those types get boring after awhile. Give me the unexpected, the witty, the winking.

And give me more lines like this one from host Ricky Gervais.

"I like a drink as much as the next man," Gervais said during the show. "Unless the 'next man' is Mel Gibson!"

Love it!

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