I live for the gay Super Bowl known as the Oscars and always go against the popular waves of feeling in my reaction to everything on the telecast. When the media was crucifying Cher, Bjork, and Geena Davis for supposed fashion crimes, I was raving about how adorable they looked while searching around for cheap swan knockoffs. I even liked Celine thumping her heart through the BACK of that jacket. The Oscars are a bad-taste idea to begin with—pitting actors against each other merely because they were good—but then if someone wears something a little colorful or left of center, they’re strangely attacked for not being tasteful enough! Absurd. More troubling is the way the winners get vilified on the rare occasions when they’re actually honest. Sally Field‘s legendary “You like me!” speech was simply a case of someone saying what she felt—that she didn’t know if she’d been truly validated by her peers before, but now she felt it and it was wonderful. “Die, Sally!” came the callback. “How dare you admit you need us even though we spent the whole year and shitloads of money preparing for this crazy event?” Sally’s speech was far preferable to that of later winner Julia Roberts, whose cutesy effusiveness seemed SOOO calculated and rehearsed (She’d won every other award before that. How could Jules have been that surprised?) and Halle Berry, who was elaborately teary and self-congratulatory even as she pretended to be acknowledging a host of other people. Oh, by the way, let’s put an end to those laundry list speeches, where everyone who’s ever lent the star a cracker or some Vaseline gets thanked (you know, “William Morris, mom, God, Billy Ray Cyrus…”). Supposedly this year’s nominees are being coached to avoid that sort of thing and say something meaningful instead. Now THAT’LL involve some award caliber acting.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 22, 2008