Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Nobody Cares About Art Directors (Or, How to Accept Your Award and Shut Up)

I've always been an awards show junkie, which surprises even me because I like pretty dresses but not that much, and the last time I saw a movie in the theaters was in 2009 (my beloved Gran Torino, which got hosed during awards season). I watch about three television shows regularly and one of them is American Idol, so my taste level is already pretty suspect. I genuinely do not care if Tina Fey wins another award.

And yet still I love the Golden Globes and the Oscars. I'll generally watch anything in which pretty statues are given out.

Oooh, shiny.

I dunno, I just like seeing people act shocked and happy. Which brings me to acceptance speeches, because OH MY GOD SHUT UP AL PACINO. So I'd like to throw out a few guidelines in case any celebrities are reading this, because I have it on good authority a guy who was an extra on Punky Brewster one time has me on Google alerts.

1. You are not Hugh Laurie.

Hugh Laurie is British, charming, and extemporaneously funny.

In fact, I'm pretty sure people keep giving him awards specifically to hear him go onstage and be awesome for a few minutes, because House's ship sailed about two seasons ago.

Unfortunately, shiny baubles and the acknowledgment of their peers makes celebrities forget they are not Hugh Laurie. Do not attempt levity when you've already rambled for twelve hours and the guy at the front table has face-planted into his shrimp cocktail out of sheer exhaustion, and if you do, do not laugh at your own joke, Natalie Portman. Is there anything more awkward than Natalie Portman attempting to be charming?

Acceptable alternatives to Hugh Laurie include Sacha Baron Cohen, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert.

2. Don't thank your spouse. 

Because holy shit, Sandra Bullock, was that ever a bad idea.

3. If you are a Hollywood legend, that only gives you an extra 30 seconds before the audience gets antsy.

Was De Niro's speech at the Globes a painful descent into "Oh my God, get off the stage" or what? He started off well -- funny, even -- and then devolved into a joke about Mexican waiters and even Ricky Gervais was all, "Not cool, dude," and then he shifted uncomfortably and blinked at the audience for another five minutes before Miss Golden Globe slapped a wristlock on him and dragged him offstage while Matt Damon looked like he wanted to crawl into a hole and not come out until after the Oscars. I get hives just thinking about it.

4. If you've already won the Golden Globe, BAFTA, and SAG award for a role, don't act shocked when you win the Oscar.

Sandra Bullock had the good sense not to look like she'd just won the lottery when they called her name last year. Come on, she knew. Follow her example and acknowledge the elephant in the room and get on with thanking your parents, because your acting coach won't be impressed with your "Who, me?" schtick. Meryl Streep knows better than to pull that shit, and so should you.

Wipe that look off your face right now.
5. Opening your speech with "I'll keep this short" is the most common prelude to somebody reciting a list of 527 names.

Seriously, just thank your parents, the director, the writer, and your kids. You can the leave the caterers out of it, I promise, and there's nothing more painful than watching somebody attempt to wax poetic when they're so nervous they're about to vomit (not that I'm thinking of anyone specific here, Daniel Day-Lewis). (Shut UP.) I was amazed watching the Golden Globes when the best speech of the night came from a 20 year-old kid in his first role.

How great is that? He gets off a cute joke, thanks all the right people, and says something meaningful in 45 seconds flat, all while being about half a second away from hyperventilating. Awesome.

Nice job, Colfer.


  1. Why not mention the only good thing about it?
    Ricky Gervais!
    Podunk = small or crappy, or both?

  2. Ricky Gervais was completely fantastic, of course, but I was addressing acceptance speeches rather than hosts. I considered live-blogging the Globes, but I don't watch enough TV or movies to have had decent commentary on all three hours of the show. There are only so many witty ways to say, "I'm bored" or "that dress is terrible."

    Podunk = small AND crappy.