I can’t see Clint Eastwood as himself without thinking of this incident from just a few years ago. My friend Jim was on vacation out west, accompanied by his wife Pat and Pat’s adult daughter from her first marriage. They boarded a hotel elevator that already contained a lone male passenger. After the doors closed and the car began to move, they realized that the man was none other than Mr. Eastwood. To Jim’s keen mortification, the women with him simply began screaming pretty much non-stop. The thing Jim observed was that Clint took it all in stride. He stood there quite calmly with a bemused smile on his face, and it occurred to Jim that this sort of scene has probably been a familiar part of Clint’s life for most of the man’s time on the earth.
I just want to say this for the record – I enjoyed David Letterman the year he hosted the Oscars! He was savaged by the print media at the time, and history has similarly judged him as one of the worst hosts ever, but in my book, he’s a winner. I laughed a lot that year. Okay, the whole “Uma, Oprah, Oprah, Uma” thing fell a little flat, but hey, nobody bats a thousand at that job! All that being said, and no disrespect to the charming Ms. DeGeneres, but I still miss Billy Crystal!
I’ve missed very few Oscar telecasts in the last 40 years (whew!). Actually, as I think about it, I don’t know if there’s ever been a year where I didn’t see at least part of the telecast. Even in those years when the telecast was in March on the same night as the championship game of the NCAA basketball tournament, we would flip back and forth between the two (well, if mom was around, the flips over to the basketball game were few and far between!). I was watching the year a naked man went streaking across the stage while the unflappable David Niven stood at the podium. I watched the bizarre moment in 1973 when one Maria Cruz went to the podium to reject Marlon Brando’s award for The Godfather, although it wasn’t until much later that we learned her real name. That night, her given name was Sacheen Littlefeather, and she had been appointed by Brando to make a speech on behalf of the American Indian Movement while rejecting Marlon’s award. I think the most eloquent, moving acceptance speech I ever saw was Tom Hanks’ for his performance in Philadelphia. If you didn’t see Tom’s speech, I sincerely suggest you Google it and imagine an impassioned Tom Hanks delivering those words (I’m assuming it’s out there in cyberspace somewhere).
There was one year I thought I would be watching the awards all by myself, but ended up having a good friend to watch it with. It was sometime in the mid 1980’s. I was spending a week on the road hundreds of miles from home with a touring show about alcoholism (boy, THAT’S a separate post right there!). Anyway, we were settled in for the night at a motel somewhere in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan when there was a knock on my door. It was my friend Irene from the show. It turned out that we had a few things in common that night – neither of us was accustomed to being on the road for that long, and both of us were Oscar junkies. We put on our jammies, ordered a pizza, and sat up late watching the Oscars and having a much better evening than either of us imagined we might. It’s a simple thing, I know, and it doesn’t really make for much of an anecdote, but it was the right thing at the right time and it still makes me happy.
Update – Martin Scorsese finally won his Best Director Oscar! Though watching him standing there with Coppola, Lucas, and Spielberg towering over him, I couldn’t help thinking that he should have won the Oscar for Best Short Subject.
I will close here with something completely unrelated to the Oscars. It’s a joke I heard from Cheryl S. It made me laugh and if your standards are anywhere near as low as mine, it may make you laugh too:
Q: If girls with big boobs work at Hooter’s, where do girls with one leg work?