I even got interested enough in the Oscars to fact-check something I’ve been telling people — that I almost never see any of the films up for Best Picture, and that the last one I probably saw was Amadeus, which won for the 57th Oscars in 1985. A kernel of truth in there. Other than The Artist, I had not seen, and still have not seen, any of the movies up for Best Picture in the last eight years. But I see I also caught Best Picture winners Platoon, Rain Man, Dances with Wolves, Unforgiven, Schindler’s List, Forrest Gump, Braveheart, Gladiator, and Return of the King between Amadeus and today — ten out of twenty-seven. And I saw a little under half of the other nominees in the theatre. (I’ll probably have to change my standards sooner than later, but I don’t count movies for Oscars unless I see them in the theatre before the ceremonies — and the recent ones that I didn’t see on screen I still haven’t seen on TV or DVD.)
Plus I noticed that none other than Jack Benny hosted the 16th annual awards ceremonies, where Paul Lukas won the Best Actor trophy (beating out Bogie as Rick in Casablanca! — there’s one that’ll make you skeptical of the whole process). My Jack Benny research team tells me that Jackson made a running joke on his radio show that he, despite not being nominated, should have won Best Actor, not Lukas. And later Lukas is one of the people Jack wants to borrow an Oscar from after he looses the statue he’s taken from Ronald Colman, in one of the absolute classic story arcs. I still can’t stand Lukas’ acting, but I’ve got to think he probably was a fun guy in person, to go along with the joke.