Just a quick note from seedy Hollywood Boulevard. I’m at a coffee shop directly in front of the Kodak Theatre where the Academy Awards will be handed out tonight. I’ve never seen this town shut down to this extent. With all the security, bomb squad vans, police dogs, and ugly concrete barriers, Hollywood looks like the Gaza Strip on full alert. I practically had to get an internal body cavity search just to walk down the street.
They’ve even chased away the costumed characters who hang out at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre every day. I just snapped this photo of Superman, my former gay lover, none too pleased at being forced behind the barricade. I also spotted Darth Vader ripping off his helmet in disgust as he saw his tourist dollars disappearing as fast as Princess Leia’s home planet of Alderaan when it was attacked by the Imperial Death Star.
Speaking of Carrie Fisher, I stepped over Debbie Reynolds’ star on the Walk of Fame a minute ago and found myself thinking back to when the Oscars were a truly glamorous event full of real movie stars. Not that I’m trashing this year’s nominees, I actually think it’s one of the most deserving bunches in years. I stand by my predictions but have a sinking feeling that Mickey Rourke is going to beat out Sean Penn. If longshot Penelope Cruz wins the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, as I predicted, I will scream so loud I may puncture the developing eardrums of my unborn children (I read that this is the week when they can actually start getting startled from loud noises outside of Kendall's body).
There’s been a ton of press about all the SURPRISES in store for viewers this year and a lot of attempts at creating buzz about the SECRET presenters. Double yawn. Do they really need to shake things up for this awards show? Is that really going to attract more viewers? I think not. Remember the last time they tried that and presented some of the awards in the audience and for others had all the nominees gather on stage so we had to stare at the losers? What a debacle. The only thing that gives me hope the show won’t be a total disaster is the fact that Bill Condon is producing it this year. But I’m terrified by the “leaks” I’ve heard so far, that they’re changing the order of how the awards will be presented to follow a “narrative.” Please don’t. Host Hugh Jackman will apparently not be doing an opening monologue. My guess is that he’ll sing some kind of movie medley. Beyond that, I have no clue, except for one thing: how much do you want to bet that President Obama will make an appearance one way or another?
As I’ve mentioned, my friends Helena and John are attending the awards this year and I’m going to stop by their place in a few hours to catch them dressed to the nines as they drive off in their limo (see above—that's "Sunset Boulevard" appropriately playing on the TV behind them). Helena received a long list or rules from the Academy on what she can and can’t bring with her tonight (no cameras, of course) but I look forward to her first-person account. It’s fitting that she is my only childhood friend who is in the Academy. The first day I met her, in our 7th grade class at Peterson School, she hoisted her leg up on my desk and started crooning “Falling in Love Again” in full Marlene Dietrich accent. She hasn’t changed much since, and told me she picked her dress for tonight because it reminded her of something Hedy Lamarr would wear. Helena and John are both founts of information about Old Hollywood which is as it should be for Academy members. She frequently tells me horrifying stories of movie bigwigs she works with who are painfully ignorant of their industry’s gloried past (“Who’s Clark Gable?”).
And now, friends and moviegoers, I’m going to take my life in my hands and try to get OUT of Hollywood. May the force be with me.