Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Monday I post a new column.
I’ve never been invited to a fancy Oscar party here in Hollywood. I don’t drink enough gin on weekdays to qualify as show business personnel. However, I have been invited to Oscar parties thrown by friends. These parties usually take place in some married couple’s living room, which tells you pretty much everything you need to know about them.
To put the comparison in Minnesota terms, these parties are very similar to your small town city council meetings. You’re not really sure where all these half-crazed lunatics came from, you just wish there was a way to leave without everyone staring at you. Sadly, there isn’t, so you sit motionless for four hours with your head in your hands, praying God will send a flood to drown all these horribly obnoxious people.
Most people think we Hollywood residents are all wannabe actors and actresses, but that’s not true. Sure, some people here are drunks, deadbeats, or perverts – the main vocations of aspiring actors – but many Hollywood residents are just fanatics of celebrity culture. People who moved here not because they want to work in the business, but because they want to be close to the business.
You might think that’s a little creepy, but those of us who have attended a lame Oscar party full of these folks know it’s creepy. Take the most celebrity-obsessed person you know and times it by 12,000. Then surround yourself with those people in an environment where they’re encouraged to study and analyze celebrities as if they were discussing Plato’s theory of forms. The result is both comedic and tragically disturbing.
“Look at Lindsay Lohan’s eyebrows in these photos,” says one woman with a thick valley girl accent, clutching a copy of US Weekly as if some invisible menace were plotting to steal it from her. “They’re sooooo good. She’s obviously going to a new salon. I think she’s totally going to recover and become a big star again.”
“Yeah, but look at her dress,” says a flat-nosed woman whose sentences often disintegrate into unintelligible squealing. “There’s, like, tacky sequins all over it. She’ll probably kill herself next week. I know I would.”
Take 20 of these people and put them in the same living room with a large bowl of Wheat Thins, and you not only have a reason to hate humanity, but also an Oscar party that someone as lame as me gets invited to. These are the sort of people who, if there wasn’t TV or movies, would sit underneath the Golden Gate Bridge waiting for suicidal people to jump.
Why must we have Oscar parties? Why do we even have the Oscars? Aren’t rich and famous people fortunate enough? Do we really need to throw them a multi-million dollar ceremony that’s held on the same day as church? Do we really need to give people this lucky an opportunity to gush about how great it is to be lucky, and then complain bitterly about how the band played them offstage after 45 seconds? If someone who makes $20 million per film is still talking about themselves after 45 seconds, their Oscar should be given to the runner-up.
Yet Oscar parties are still a popular activity here. Everyone seems to hold one or go to one. It is considered rude to not arrive with a pot of little smokies that you’ve titled, “Weenie Todd and the Demon Sauce” or a bottle of expensive alcohol which you’ve named, “No Country for Old Scotch”. Or Bloody Mary mix that you refer to as, “There Will Be Bloody Marys”. I could go on for hours listing Oscar-friendly culinary puns. God knows the people at the Oscar parties did.
The only reason I can think of to gather a bunch of celebrity-obsessed people in the same room is to slash their car tires while they’re inside. I, for one, am done with Oscar parties for good. In movie terms, I am “Gone Baby Gone”.
Did I just make a movie pun? Oh God, it’s too late.