I read another Lindsay Maracotta mystery set in evil Hollywood: "The Dead Celeb" - Lucy keeps her sense of humor as the bodies pile up around her. I'll look for more books by this author.
The Oscars. It was again party time at M's and the fun started at 2pm. Due to downtown trains skipping local stops, I had to go up to 125th and then back down, and then the Flushing line wasn't running so I had to walk to the shuttle to get across town, then downtown on the Lexington line, and finally got there at 2:30 just in time for the first game.
This was a paper/pencil game of movie stars phonetically spelled out in adjacent pictures on a grid: e.g., Omar Sharif was (Oprah magazine) (Pen Gwyn) (underwater ocean scene) or O + MARCIA + REEF. I eventually got them, but not very quickly. L was first on this and every other game.
Next, Jeopardy with categories related to nominated films like "Benjamin"/"Button" where every answer had one of those words, and Slumdog Millionaire (Slumdog wasn't in quotes) about people who rose to wealth from poor backgrounds. L won, but I became co-champ when my final J answer was later ruled correct. The question was something like, "Which movie in the last 20+ years won Best Picture and the title character also won Best Actor/Actress?" The intended answer was "Forrest Gump" but my "Gladiator" was judged acceptable, even though the gladiator's name was really Maximus.
Then a Pass the Chicken-type game where we were given cards with a movie title and had to get our team to guess it using only one-syllable words (and NOT charades, though a few gestures found their way in). Some titles were really well-suited ("If you build it they will come," "We rob banks" and "Shortz") and others not (oops, just because a word is short it doesn't mean it has one syllable). The completed cards then got taped to the cabinet. We had a feeling M wasn't just being decorative.
Last was a Who What or Where game we'd played before with 3 things that belonged in a category, of varying difficulty. Afterward, we played again with last year's answers which no one remembered.
We watched some red carpet entrances on E! and then ABC (a memo must have gone out requiring one-shouldered and strapless dresses) and soon it was time for pizza. Yum, chicken and plain (there was also meat lovers' and veggies that included - ick - olives). I made myself not take a third slice since my weight is on the high side. And although I brought a pizza container for leftovers, decided not to take any home since, yeah, my weight is on the high side. There was also fruit, caffeine-free diet soda (I did take a leftover can home), and herb tea which I spilled (never did understand M's pitchers).
8:30, show time! But wait, we had to get our cards with random mixes of nominees. Mine were pretty unlikely, except Danny Boyle for Best Director. The broadcast was paused and we learned that those movie cards on the cabinet could be chosen for an appropriate prize (e.g., "Wordplay" which I just had to take, was a pad of grid paper).
Although "I.O.U.S.A." did not make it off the short list to the Best Documentary nominees, I had a few personal connections to this year's films. I thought past little-movies-that-could "Juno" and "Little Miss Sunshine" were vastly overrated, but was onboard for "Slumdog Millionaire" as I'm still somewhat interested in all things WWTBAM. Sure, the plot was preposterous but I liked the movie. When I saw it before release, I didn't dream it would be Oscar bait, and still can't quite believe all the acclaim.
The other connection was that my high school classmate Carolyn Marks Blackwood produced "The Duchess," up for Art Direction and Costumes, both well-deserved. I was hoping to see Carolyn on the red carpet telling Joan Rivers who she was wearing, but she said she watched at home in her PJs. The movie did win for Costumes. Yay!
*Miley Cyrus is there AGAIN?
*Wait, Anne Hathaway's dress in the opening was different from what she wore on the red carpet.
*Hugh Jackson can really sing and dance. I was never sure what was prerecorded (Beyonce?) and what was live. Is it asking to much to expect singers to actually sing? If it's not perfect, that just adds to the realism and charm.
*The auditorium seemed differently shaped than in the past (rounder in front?).
*When Jennifer Aniston was presenting, they cut to reaction shots of Angelina. Catfight?
*I was soooo happy for the "Man on Wire" win, and loved Philippe Petit's coin trick and Oscar chin-balancing.
*I would have loved to see Robert Downey Jr. win for "Tropic Thunder" (a movie so funny and yet so wrong), since I didn't like the "Batman" film but Heath Ledger was a lock and it was nice that his family could accept. I was hoping Michelle Williams would join them.
*Oh look, it's John Legend. And Queen Latifah sang beautifully, but the long shots of the dead people were too far away to read.
*I liked the former winners individually honoring the acting nominees (how about adding directors? - which sort of happened last year for Scorsese), but would have liked to see Jack Nicholson paired with Mickey Rourke. Speaking of Mickey, sorry we didn't see THAT speech but I bet the vote was close.