Sunday, March 7, 2010

In Search Oscar blog

I would like to win an Oscar. To tell you the truth, up until about two days ago when Jay Leno started knocking on people's doors and asking them, I thought everyone wanted to win an Oscar. But most people were like "Who me? I could never!" which surprised me because, like I said, I've always wanted to win one.

The Oscars are a big deal in my family, second only to Christmas...well, if we celebrated Christmas. We love the movies. Who doesn't? As a matter of fact, my brother works in post production on most of what you see in theatres, so we have many discussions throughout the year.

You may be thinking that I wanted to win my Oscar for acting, but that is not the case...though I do seem to have the ability to cry willy nilly, and that could win me one in a pinch. While I don't remember what year I first became conscious of watching the show, I can tell you when I knew for certain I wanted that bad boy, and what I knew I was going to win it for.

It was 1973 when I went to the movies and '74 when the awards were presented. I was only eight as I sat mesmerized and weepy-eyed in a movie that was way beyond my years, but hey, it had Barbra Streisand in it, and you can't deny a Jewish girl from New York her Barbra Streisand. Yes, there was Katie and Hubbell, too beautiful for words standing in front of The Plaza, but there was another character in that movie too - the music. And as the strings swelled and the theme played throughout it, as we heard that glorious voice sing that haunting melody, with each word capturing the emotion of the images on the screen, I knew with great certainty that that was my calling. I wanted to win my Oscar for Best Original Song in a motion picture.

I thought about scoring movies too, but beyond sweeping melodies I don't like to fool with arrangements. Besides, I like words. No, the song, that was the thing. And it wasn't like it is now where the song is played as the credits are rolling and everyone's vacating the theatre. Back then the song was part of the movie, and that is what thrilled me.

Growing up in the seventies gave me plenty of opportunity to make sure this was not a passing fancy. I watched Goldie Hawn drive down the California coast in Foul Play as I listened to Barry Manilow sing "Ready to Take a Chance Again," and Seals & Crofts offer up "My Fair Share" in a Robby Benson movie called One on One. The clincher of all was Didi Conn lip synching "You Light Up My Life" in the movie of the same name. That one really hit home because it was about an insecure woman becoming a hit singer/songwriter. And I didn't care that even as a child I had to suspend a lot of belief to buy into the idea that Kasey Cisyk's voice was coming out of Didi Conn. (And just for you trivia buffs out there, it was Kasey Cisyk, not Debby Boone that sang it in the movie, but no record label would release the song at the time with a jingle singer. So when the movie finally got picked up for theatrical release, Joe Brooks, the songwriter, had Debby Boone record it where it stayed at #1 for ten weeks. I personally feel bad for Kasey Cisyk, but such is show business.)

Back to my Oscar win. I envision them calling my name, and me approaching the stage looking stunning in my black or purple gown (I can't decide). And I climb the stairs proudly, kiss the presenters, and at long last hold the golden statue in my hands. I will be prepared, not like all those people who are stupid enough not to be when they know they are nominated. As a matter of fact, I've been preparing for years. I remember to thank the academy first (and not God because God doesn't have a vote in the academy, so He can wait), and then whomever was responsible for getting my song into the movie. After that it's up for grabs (so you might all want to be nice to me if you want quality air time). Maybe I don't thank a laundry list. Maybe I talk about the value of dreams. I've had a lot of variations on my vision of this moment over the years.

But tonight I will be watching at home. In honor of the auspicious occasion I will be dressed in sweats without holes in them. I might even break out my favorite Saturday Night Fever shirt. (John Travolta was nominated for that movie, so at least there's an Oscar connection.) I will undoubtedly be bejeweled. I'll rethink my own speech as I watch others give theirs. There are not supposed to be many surprises this year, but I'm hoping for one - Best Actress. While Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep are two of my absolute favorites, I want Gabourey Sidibe to win for Precious. I want an upset. I want us all to remember that anything is possible and that some dreams are worth keeping alive.

As for songs, I cast my personal vote for the Jeff Bridges movie Crazy Heart because it's about the music business, and I think it's the best song. While I appreciate Randy Newman, it all sounds like the theme from Monk to me. The French song that was nominated was sort of nondescript, and the song from Nine was good, but "The Weary Kind" gets my vote hands down.
I'm off to the gym now, then wardrobe and makeup. I'll put the finishing touches on my acceptance speech in the limo. Can't wait to taste what Wolfgang Puck has whipped up for the Governor's Ball.

I'd like to thank the academy...and all of you for stopping by. Happy Oscar Day!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

In Search of...a good night's sleep

I've lost track of the last time I slept through the night. No, I do not have a child waking me, or even those panic attacks that have been known to stir me from a sound sleep for no apparent reason. No, this time I'm stymied. I wake up, look at my clock, mutter, "Oh no," toss around for a while, and finally get up, knowing that sleep is not a gift I'm likely to receive again this night.

I haven't wasted the extra time. I've been organizing my tax receipts, reading, watching movies, you name it. I actually wouldn't mind this extra time when the rest of the world is quiet, and it feels like it's just me and God, but by 11a.m. I feel spent, and I actually have work to do. Plus, it makes me not want to exercise, not that I ever really want to exercise.

I've tried drinking Chamomile tea at night because I heard that relaxes you. I stopped all late night munchies. I've stopped watching violent things on television before bed, anything that might help. But alas, when 3:30-4:30 rolls around, I am awake. It's a vicious cycle that is starting to seem like it can never be broken.

After a while, it seems like I'm in a permanent haze. My tolerance is short, as is my memory of anything people tell me while I'm in this state. It's likely that I'm not thinking clearly, or maybe when you have enough sleep deprivation, you think more clearly. For instance, I'm very certain that people are crazy, life is precious though thoroughly unfair, and that we would be better served to ship Congress over to Canada instead of a case of beer for their Olympic hockey win.

It's 6a.m. now, and I'm kind of wondering about Shaun White. I've been obsessed with him lately, only because I want to know what it feels like to propel yourself high in the air, defying gravity almost, in your own world, iPod blasting, far away from it all, suspended and unfettered. I wish I could feel that way, even for just a moment. I think I'm going to imagine it now, and if I'm lucky, maybe it will bring me to another place where I can sleep a little while longer.

So if anyone has any suggestions that don't include chugging NyQuil or warm milk, let me know. Thanks for stopping by, and please tell your friends.