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Oscar night

Feb 26, 2012 By Steven R. Peck

The words and images from our favorite movies become part of our lives, our culture, our history and our nation. Sunday's Academy Awards ceremonies will add to the memories and the myths.

So here again, with a few updates since the last time we did it, enjoy an overview of the Oscars from the likes of Clark Gable, Marlon Brando (twice), Humphrey Bogart (three times), Ali McGraw, James Cagney (twice), Anthony Perkins, Tom Hanks (twice), Clint Eastwood, Joe E. Brown, Al Pacino, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bette Davis (twice), Ronald Reagan, Michael Douglas, Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand, Joan Crawford, John Belushi, Rodney Dangerfield, Vivien Lee (three times), Gary Cooper, Diane Keaton, Andy Serkis, Jack Nicholson, Ellen Degeneres, Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Al Jolson, Basil Rathbone, HAL 9000, Brad Pitt, Heath Ledger, Russell Crowe, Sylvester Stallone, Claude Rains, Chevy Chase, Sean Connery and Alec Guinness.

The American movie industry hands out the most famous awards in entertainment, the Oscars. Frankly, my dear, you may not give a damn. But you probably do.

Throughout our lives, they make us an offer we can't refuse. Usually, the bond is established early. It's the beginning of a beautiful friendship. We needn't be embarrassed about our love of the movies. Love means never having to say you're sorry.

The joy of winning an Academy Award must be just about the greatest a person can feel. Made it. Top o' the world, Ma. My mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my sister thanks you and I thank you. That about covers it.

Many people enjoy predicting Oscar winners in advance. See the front page of this section for one who does. But it's tricky business. Predicting Oscars is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get.

If you're doing some predicting of your own for the big night, maybe you've even get a dollar or two on the outcome of, say, Julia Davis vs. Meryl Streep, or George Clooney vs. Christopher Plummer. But you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well do ya, punk?

There's no crying in baseball, but there's plenty on Oscar night. The winners tend to gush a bit. Well, nobody's perfect. If you win, you'll be forgiven for holding up your Oscar statuette so the audience can say hello to your little friend. Every winner must be tempted to shout "I'm the king of the world!"

But it's not all glory. Many have won an Oscar only to feel let down afterward, as if there ought to be something more. But they shouldn't ask for the moon; they've already got the stars.

Once you've won the first, you always hunger for another. You want to go out there and win just one more for the Gipper. Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.

Few of us will ever attend the Academy Awards ceremony in person. But we can watch it on TV. There's no place like home. Those lucky enough to attend in the flesh get a sense of glamour like nowhere else on Earth. They quickly get the feeling they're not in Kansas anymore.

And the outfits. Hello, gorgeous! Many people watch the Oscars just to see the clothes. One thing's for sure: Movie stars use no wire hangers, ever. (Perhaps that's not true if the selected attire for the evening is "toga, toga!") Some stars wear things most people wouldn't dare try. Looks good on you, though.

Movie stars act like big shots, but it's the audience that makes or breaks them. The stars have always depended on the kindness of strangers. And if they do win, they consider themselves the luckiest men, or women, on the face of the Earth. As God is their witness, they'll never be hungry again.

But not everyone can be an Oscar winner. Most nominees won't win. Oh, well. La dee da, la dee da. After all, tomorrow is another day. Some, however, will demand to know why they didn't win. The truth? They can't handle the truth.

Things can get ugly. Sometimes the losers are mad as hell and they aren't going to take this anymore. In that case, fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night.

An Oscar can transform a career. To them, the gold statuette is myyyy precioussss. For the winners, it's time to show them the money. But an Oscar loss can be a different story. You can end up feeling you coulda been a contender, you coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what you are. All you can do at that point is keep on swimming. Just keep swimming (and, perhaps, ask why is the rum gone?).

The Oscars aren't just for Americans. Sometimes there are foreign winners. In fact, what business is it of yours where they're from, friendo?

But wait a minute, wait a minute. You ain't heard nothin' yet. It's Oscar night, and no amount of advance hype can match the moment itself. How can you get in on it? Elementary, my dear Watson. Just tune in. You also can buy a ticket to see one of the winners. Movies depend on box office sales -- and, cousin, business is a-boomin'.

If you still don't quite get the point of the preceding paragraphs, then perhaps you need to watch more movies. It's time to open the pod bay doors and see what's on screen.

So here's looking at you, kid. Celebrate the movies. Love that you love to go into the dark with others and watch the giants on the big screen. Movies are the stuff dreams are made of.

So why so serious? Let's put a smile on that face. Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?

Yo, Adrian! The big night is here. Round up the usual suspects, gather round the TV, join the fun. Be the ball. And maybe even enjoy a martini -- shaken, not stirred.

So vote for Pedro. Enjoy the Oscars. And may the force be with you.

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