NY Mirror

I was cocksure the Academy Awards were going to be even more of a gay Olympics than the actual gay Olympics—you know, the male figure skating competition. I blithely assumed they'd be such a glammed-up circuit party they'd have to have a back room instead of a greenroom and a fleet enema in the gift bag. But the show turned out to only be a moderate gropefest for the gays, tempered by the fact that Brokeback Mountain had peaked too soon and became abandoned by lily-livered trend pirates afraid to endorse out-of-wedlock buggering outside of their own. I'd probably be more pansy-purple with rage over this if Crash wasn't indeed the better movie.

Maybe some people preferred Brokeback way back when it was called Midnight Cowboy. Happy Endings' director Don Roos certainly did. He just told the Sydney Star Observer, "I was so irritated by those stupid, stupid cowboys . . . It's the perfect film for the BUSH years: 'Don't be gay, America!' It's the kind of movie that makes you glad to be straight. Is that the kind of movie we should be rewarding people for? It's an anti-gay film!"

I guess Brokeback got it from both ends: The squeamish ran screaming from the lovin' on all fours while the Rooses (and Mustos) couldn't bear the fact that it wasn't fully consummated. (Roos directed Happy Endings, remember?) The telecast's shock ending culminated three-plus hours of abuse reminiscent of two classic '05 scenes: the chest waxing in The 40-Year-Old Virgin and the fingernail torture in Syriana. But as painful as it all was, I was still glued to the set, reveling in the timeless thrill of seeing four people lose in each category. My tawdry thoughts as it all transpired were:

8 p.m.: The very first image shown is of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, saying, "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." Clearly, this ceremony is going to be gayer than a home furnishings store on Super Bowl Sunday.

8:07: Everywhere you look, there are Huffmans and Hoffmans, if not Huffalumps. Alas, things are already so poorly paced it's like the sag awards. A few minutes into the telecast, CATHERINE KEENER is spotted checking her text messages in the audience. JON STEWART is amiable enough, but he seems self-defeatingly low-key and as declawed as SIEGFRIED AND ROY's new pets. Nabbing him as host and not letting him rip into the administration even once is like hiring SARAH SILVERMAN to write greeting cards or KATHY GRIFFIN to hostess a massage parlor. Sick!

8:17: GEORGE CLOONEY praises Hollywood's consciousness, remembering that "the Academy . . . gave Hattie McDaniel an Oscar in 1939 when blacks were still sitting in the backs of theaters." Yeah, but—true story—they made her sit in the back of the Oscar theater!

8:31: The big gay love story won a prize: Wallace & Gromit. Let the queer juggernaut begin.

8:46:Is this the same MARTIN MCDONAGH who writes those impossibly butch, bloody plays of hetero aggression? In accepting for best live action short film, he's coming off all sweet and light and brokebacky. I want to have his babies.

8:51: For no ostensible reason, they're showing the campiest clip of all time—the "wire hangers" scene from Mommie Dearest. This shit can't get any gayer.

9:00: Whoa, nelly—yes, it can. MORGAN FREEMAN is suddenly quoting from Sunset Boulevard. What next? Dame Judi Dench swiveling out with, "But you are, Blanche"?

9:05: The pre-taped comedy bits (the montage of gay subtext in westerns, the faux Best Actress commercials) are spot-on, but the live shtick (the overanxious presentations by BEN STILLERand WILL FERRELL) is more strained than gay spaghetti. Most annoying of all is the orchestral music blaring the second the winners start speaking. It makes it sound as if the trophy holders are voicing over a Glade commercial. Soon enough, perhaps, they will be.

9:12: LAUREN BACALL shakes and stumbles through a prompter read. Finally, some spontaneity.

9:20: It's a good thing the March of the Penguins people won or they'd be sitting there all night with those penguin puppets, looking like complete assholes.

9:25: The Crash song's production number is very Lilith Fair meets Cirque du So-lame crossed with a Great White concert via a dinner theater production of Medea. Make it stop, Jon.

9:31: He can't. He seems defeated. He's not even trying anymore. Are you still there, Jon? We can't afford to lose you to something so silly. Call me!

10:22: I'm so delirious by now that the pimp song sounds just like the Crash one. Give me drugs.

10:29: Don Knotts obviously croaked too late to make the cut for the dead-people montage. Note to celebs: Die in early February.

10:55: Memoirs of a Geisha is proving that you can have the best costumes, cinematography, and art direction of the year and still have the lousiest movie.

11 PM: Oscar loves weight change! George Clooney packed on 30 pounds and won, but FELICITY HUFFMAN only shed nine inches. It wasn't enough. Ballsy REESE wins Best Actress. RYAN PHILLIPPE looks suicidal. I give them six weeks.

11:20: Stunner. Crash nabs Best Picture. Go to the back of the theater, queens. Race relations trump the gay problem. Oscar is too busy oppressing gays—as a rule, out actors never have a chance—to make homophobia the night's shining concern, even with straights allegedly playing the parts. But hey, wasn't Ryan in Crash? Yeah, I'm pretty sure. Reese's marriage is back together again.

And so the straights-love-gays year at the movies ends with a condomless fuck and a stinging slap on the rear. Oscar, I wish I knew how to quit you. By the way, when ROCCO DISPIRITO asked me on his pre-Oscars radio broadcast on CBS, "How do these actors research these roles?" you might have heard a loud bleep, but what I actually said was "They take it up the ass."


Same crime next year

Next year's winner? Probably Dreamgirls, which is the kind of gay movie everyone can enjoy. They seem to be doing everything right with that thing, especially the hair and the shoes. But that other kitschy ozone-destroyer, Hairspray, has weirdly cast John Travolta, who—after a lifetime of dodging rumors and pushing the wife in front of cameras—now finds he has to don heels and a bra to make a living. It's poetic, I tell you.

More true to form, in the imminent Thank You for Smoking—spoiler alert—KATIE HOLMES plays a sleazebag who gets sexually aroused when the guy she's with pops up on television. I.e., she's a starfucker. Give her a Razzie.

And in the real gay Olympics—namely the theater awards—the biggest prize is clearly going to be a toss-up between the exposed chests of HARRY CONNICK JR. and CHRIS CARMACK. Could you just die, girls?


Helen, shave her

The gays triumph again with IFC's Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema—my two sound bites are amazing—which is a sort of Celluloid Closet for the age when there's way more text than subtext. And they even have actual gay people on-screen. Watching the film at the premiere, I was thrilled to see that JANE LYNCH—who's stolen everything from Best in Show to that Virgin thing—is not only an out lesbian, but she admits to having spent the '80s in a Chicago bar called the Closet, watching the love scene from Desert Hearts on constant video rotation!

Another humorous person, RICKY GERVAIS, was rooting for Crash and PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN to win, as he told me at an intimate Oxonian Society reception in his honor at the Princeton Club last week. Recently, British GQ named the comic—best known for The Office—a more powerful figure than JUDE LAW and MICK JAGGER, if not as much so as TONY BLAIR. "Take it with a grain of salt," advised Gervais, laughing. Yeah, he's probably more powerful than Tony Blair.

After a very quick gossip break—DEBORAH GIBSON is in talks with VH1—let's pull ourselves out of all this fake gay pride and revel in one dark faygeleh reality. As I recently hinted, Q television network just went toilet-wise, thereby screwing more people than a prostie without an agent. The channel canceled most of its programming and gave pink slips to about 100 lavender lights, owing them so much back pay it could finance West Hollywood's secession from the union. I know the feeling. I'd been hired by Q (a "premium channel") to do weekly gossip reports and was told they adored me and that this might even lead to bigger things. Yeah, like them lying about the check being in the mail and quickly becoming unreachable, all while the axed throngs file complaints with L.A.'s labor commission! Q clearly stands for quisling (Webster's: a traitor, especially one who agrees to govern on behalf of the conquering nation). It's such an unhappy-ending situation ANG LEE will probably do the movie version.


musto@villagevoice.com

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