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Awards shows? You gotta hand it to Hollywood ...

AL MARTINEZ

February 21, 2005|AL MARTINEZ | Al Martinez's column appears Mondays and Fridays. He can be reached at al.martinez @latimes.com.

Ah, the Oscars. Ah, the Grammys. Ah, the Globies. Ah, the People's Awardies, the SAGgies, the Producies, the Directies, the Writies and, later, the Tonys and the Obies, and probably some other -ies I've forgotten.

Right now, I'm at the stage of the Wearies.

The Academy Awards, just a wiggle and a gown away, have, through the chemistry of hyperbole, assumed a level of importance superior to the most altruistic and humanistic honors the world can bestow.

When, for instance, Mother Teresa accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, no one speculated on whether she would wear a Versace or a Valentino to Stockholm, and what rockin' all-night parties she might attend. As it turned out, she wore a hooded smock and asked that a dinner be canceled and the money used to feed the poor.

We gave her a story or two, television news acknowledged her between sports and the weather, she thanked the Swedes and that was it. Back to the slums of Calcutta.

But the Oscars ...

It's not just who will win. It's the whole glitzy, shimmery, coronation-style excess of it all. It's the women slinking down the red carpet, all looking somehow gorgeously the same, to be greeted at the end by Joan Rivers, waiting like a submerged croc to devour the meat that flounces by.

The men will drift along like sullen afterthoughts, hair properly mussed in $300 'dos, stubbles of beards announcing their mix of style and masculinity, wondering vaguely who they might marry next or whose child they might father.

"Can't you enjoy something I like?" my wife asks as I growl my way through this column. "You watch the Stupor Bowl in a catatonic state. The Oscars at least are fun."

"That's Super Bowl. Not Stupor Bowl."

"Whatever."

She points out, properly so, that it was a year of some very good movies. I especially liked "Sideways," "The Aviator," "Million Dollar Baby," "Hotel Rwanda" and "Uncle Nino."

Uncle who?

Nino.

Actually, the movie isn't in contention because it just came out. It's about an old Italian guy who comes to this country to visit his brother's grave and runs head-on into American culture. No one's breasts are exposed in it, either male or female, and no one ends up in the sack with anyone else, male, female or any combinations thereof. But it's still a very nice movie. How can that be? One wonders.

Back to the Oscars, I was so turned off by the eternal hype aimed at my spotless mind that I plumb forgot to vote in the Writers Guild Awards. The envelope containing the names of the nominees came weeks ago and sat on my desk amid PR pitches for facial creams and garden books and got completely overlooked. I'm so ashamed.

I thought about making my selections and writing a little note about why I'm late, but these awards are taken more seriously than the vote in Ohio and they'd probably come looking for me, although writers aren't very physical so there's little to fear. They would maybe whap me with a story outline or an unfinished script.

I'm not much of an awards person, even when it's me receiving one, and less when it isn't. But I understand that recognition for good work, from plays to porn movies, is a valuable asset to one's career, although it hasn't helped mine a lot. Well, no, I've never been in a porn movie, not even an amateur video. If I ever suggested it to Cinelli, I'd be heaved out the back door and left hanging over the deck railing like an old pair of pants, pleading for forgiveness.

Us magazine devoted almost an entire issue to the Golden Globes, or the Globies. I picked it up only because there was a picture of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie on the cover with the tearful question in large white letters, "Did Brad Cheat?" And, smaller: "Hot new details on what really happened with Angelina -- and how it broke Jen's heart."

"I thought Jen was married to someone named Marc Anthony?" I say to Cinelli, who somehow keeps up with everything.

"That's Jennifer Lopez."

"I thought she was dating Tom Cruise."

"That's Penelope Cruz. She married someone else."

"Michael Douglas, right?"

"Wrong again. Catherine Zeta-Jones is married to Mikey."

"Is Angelina Jolie thinking about going back to Billy Bob Thornton?"

"It's either that or get rid of the tattoo that says she will love him forever, unless she already has."

Our fixation with celebrities, their fashions and their movies are, I suppose, harmless diversions, like turning from the blood of war to the vacuity of daytime talk shows. I lost interest in the romantic capers of celebrities after Britney Spears' first marriage lasted only 55 hours, which is the Hollywood equivalent of a three-minute mile. I figured that nothing could top that.

I'll be watching the Oscars because Cinelli likes them and because I feel deeply guilty for having missed the deadline for the WGA vote. I liked all the movies except "Kinsey." There's only so much about the sex life of the gall wasp that I'm interested in.

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