The Oscars are upon us. I won't be watching the ceremony- crawling on my hands and knees through a mile of broken glass has more appeal- but instead I present my annual predictions on how things should go. As I've been doing this a few years now, some of the following references events of previous years, in what I've come to call the Kendallverse. Enjoy!
Four days before the ceremonies begin, the annual embalming update of Jack Nicholson’s corpse will begin at a Los Angeles funeral home. Nicholson, who died several years ago at an Oscars ceremony, stipulated in his will that he must be present, even after death, at his customary seat in the front row for the big night. The Academy will oblige the conditions of his will, because, well… it’s Jack.
Two days before the ceremony, the Academy board of governors and show producers Donna Gigliotti and Glenn Weiss will have a meeting with network executives. The fact that this year’s ceremony is technically without a host will be discussed and debated. The odds of the ceremony going overtime will be of much concern to the network executives. Gigliotti and Weiss will reassure them that speeches will not be permitted to go overtime and nothing will go wrong, even saying, ‘we pinky swear on it.’ The contingency measures meant to keep Tom Cruise and Barbra Streisand far and away from the ceremonies will be finalized.
The day before the ceremony, Barbra Streisand- still nursing grudges over previous Oscars in which she has been dropped into the Sahara or temporarily banned from being anywhere near California, as was the case last year in which she and hordes of her fans ended up in a massive pile up in Indiana while in a Mad Max style convoy- will be pleasantly surprised by a call while in Paris from the Academy president informing her she is to be awarded a Lifetime Achievement award at the ceremony, and will be picked up by limo at her hotel shortly.
Tom Cruise will be shocked to find out that the Academy has filed a restraining order against him forbidding him from turning up at the Dolby Theatre tomorrow night. He’ll tear up the restraining order with his tiny hands and frown. “Nobody does this to me!” he’ll yell at the back of the court clerk who served him the restraining order.
Streisand will be met by a limo driver at her hotel, and assured that the plane will be waiting. She will be beaming and singing. The limo driver, alerted in advance as to who he’d be driving and where they would be going, will have already put earplugs in his ear to protect his own sanity.
Jennifer Lawrence, whose peculiar kink involves tripping in public, will be practicing at home in casual clothes as opposed to the glamourous clothing she’ll be wearing tomorrow night. “After all,” she’ll tell a friend, “I can’t damage the dress in private like this. It requires a global audience.”
The funeral workers finishing up with the embalming of Jack Nicholson’s body will wonder how long the stiff can last before deterioration is irreversible.
Streisand, sitting in the back of a limo with tinted windows, will find herself blissfully unaware of the fact that her driver has just driven the limo up the ramp onto a Hercules transport plane. She’ll be too busy composing what she’s informally calling her Get Even Speech.
Tom Cruise will have gathered together a crew of operatives to help him break into the Oscars yet again. His Mission Impossible co-star Simon Pegg will have declined, recognizing a debacle when he sees one. So too will the other four hundred and twenty seven other names of people he’s worked with on his list. And so Cruise will have to recruit a team of actors whose credits include commercials for weight loss and off-off-off-way-off Broadway productions like The King And I. And Scott Baio, who hasn’t acted in anything but a Republican convention appearance in twenty years.
Gigliotti and Weiss will be watching final preparations in the Dolby Theatre with twenty four hours to go. They will receive word that the Streisand Protocol has been enacted, and that the Cruise restraining order has been served. They will discuss both matters, and wonder what their go-to excuses should be when the ceremony goes long this year. Because it always goes long. Everyone knows it. Gigliotti and Weiss know it. The audience knows it sitting at home. Everyone knows it except for the network executives who hope that they’ll be able to air the morning newscast without cutting off the Oscars.
Streisand, not being of sound mind anymore, will have fallen asleep on the flight, oblivious to the fact that the limo had gotten onto a plane. She will wake up in the back of that limo, parked on Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. She will be told of her arrival and location by airport authorities- who are unhappy having Hurricane Barbra deposited on their island- that it’s Sunday morning and that she won’t be able to catch a flight out until Monday at the earliest. Streisand will pause for a moment and then begin to throw a temper tantrum so epic that it will be heard a thousand miles away along the West African coast.
Hours before the ceremony in Los Angeles, people will be camped out in the vicinity of the Dolby Theatre, waiting to see if they can get autographs or selfies with the stars. Dimwitted entertainment reporters will be eagerly positioned at strategic sites, blathering on to their home programs in short spots going out either live on television or to the program websites.
Cruise and his team of not so elite operatives will be busy going over an elaborate entrance plan, Mission Impossible style, to break in from below. Baio will speak up, saying, “I know a guy! He’s an usher inside! I worked with him before! Give him a couple dozen bucks and he’ll leave a back door open for us.”
Cruise will frown. “That’s too easy. This isn’t Mission Easy, this is Mission Impossible.”
One of the other operatives, who played the lead role in an Omaha production of Little Orphan Annie fourteen years ago, will ask, “you do realize that those are just movies, right?”
John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston will depart for the ceremony, all decked out for the occasion, driven by a limo driver. In the back seat, Travolta will look out the window before turning to his wife. “You know, I don’t know why they didn’t ask me to present an award this year, Keira. I mean, I don’t mix up names anymore, right?”
Preston will smile, nod, pat his hand, and wonder if she should get her husband in to see a doctor.
Leonardo DiCaprio, still nursing grudges and traumatic memories from previous ceremonies in which his own temper tantrums were broken up by the ferocity of the Designated Bouncer (otherwise known as Marisa Tomei and her co-Designated Bouncer Tommy Lee Jones) will be examining his tuxedo at home, brooding on his hurt feelings. Despite not being nominated or even being in a film in the last year, he will want to vent tonight. “They don’t respect me. They never did,” DiCaprio will tell himself. “Well I’ll just have to make them respect me!”
Gigliotti and Weiss, walking through the Dolby Theatre overseeing last minute preparations for the ceremony, will make a private bet between themselves as to how late the ceremony will run past its scheduled finish.
A network executive in Los Angeles will turn to one of his underlings. “So help me, Janetty, if this thing goes overtime, I’m feeding you to the sharks!”
Streisand will have spent the better part of twelve hours screaming into a camera about how she’s been treated by the Academy and how the residents of Ascension Island don’t respect her and how they don’t even have a local masseuse. This despite the fact that there are professional masseuses on the remote island- they just don’t want to come see the crazy old narcissist who’s spent hours ranting and roaring. Finished with her diatribe, she will be even more outraged when the cameraman looks at his camera and says, “oops, I forgot to hit the on switch.” Ten seconds will pass before she figuratively explodes.
Jack Nicholson’s corpse will be placed into his usual seat for the ceremony, decked out in the customary tuxedo and sunglasses. Gigliotti and Weiss will have to pay out bonuses to the seat fillers who will be around him the whole time, as they will have to put up with the not that pleasant scent of embalming fluids and other preservatives.
Cruise and his squad of misfits will be busy trying to access the Dolby Theatre from maintenance tunnels beneath the building. Cruise will find himself losing his temper when he is told that tunneling drills are not rented out by the hour. “Do you know who I am???” he will scream into the phone.
Baio will suggest, “We could still use the back door.”
“Shut up, Chachi!” Cruise will snap.
Tommy Lee Jones and Marisa Tomei will meet with Gigliotti and Weiss, once again taking their informal roles as Designated Bouncers. The producers will admit that while they’ve told the network that speeches will be cut off as needed, they don’t really expect to follow through with it. Tomei and Jones shall discuss the likelihood of Cruise breaching the restraining order, or DiCaprio making a scene. “I hope Leo does,” Tomei will admit, cracking her knuckles. “I’ve been busy with punching bags the last few days.”
Stars will begin arriving outside the Dolby Theatre, waving to the crowds, intercepted by entertainment reporters who will ask them inane questions about who they’re wearing tonight. Anthony Hopkins will employ a dry tone reminiscent of his Hannibal Lecter performance and reply, “the last entertainment reporter who asked me that.”
Despite being a musician, singer Bjork will continue her streak of appearing at the Oscars in outlandish clothing. This time she will be wearing a tutu, welder’s apron, mismatched evening gloves, and the helmet of a bobsledder painted psychedelic purple.
John Travolta and Kelly Preston will be among the arriving celebrities. Travolta will see Bjork and turn to his wife and exclaim, “Look, sweetie, it’s Bizarro!”
Jones and Tomei will run into Simon Pegg, who will inform them that Tom Cruise asked him to assist in a break-in to the Dolby Theatre. Jones will smile- a rarity for him- and say, “Let him come.”
Streisand will have commandeered a computer at the airport terminal on Ascension Island and will find herself trying to log into her own Facebook account to start issuing a manifesto to her fans. Puzzled as to why it’s taking so long to load a page, she’ll inquire with a clerk as to what the issue is. The clerk will tell her that coming bad weather in the area might be interfering with the internet. “**** the bad weather!” Streisand will scream. “I’m Barbra ****ing Streisand!”
At home, actor and nine time Oscar host Billy Crystal, who made the job look easy, will be spending the evening with his wife Janice. He will take a frantic call from Weiss, asking him to come in and host the Oscars. “No,” he will cheerfully say before hanging up the phone.
Beneath the Dolby Theatre, Cruise will be in a state of meltdown during a call with a demolition company while his cohorts look on. “Damn it, do you know who I am? What do you mean, you won’t give me explosives?”
Actors will fill the theatre, heading to assigned seats. Speculation will run wild as to who might win tonight, who might be a sore loser, and if any flubs will be made during the broadcast. Questions will be raised as to if those major categories due to be announced during commercial breaks will in fact be included in the broadcast. Bets will be made as to if this whole thing will go past the scheduled time.
John Travolta and Kelly Preston will find their seats, and notice the corpse of Jack Nicholson down in the front row. Travolta will smile and say, “I wish I’d had a chance to work with Jebediah Norrington before he died.”
Leonardo DiCaprio will arrive in the theatre, look around at everyone, and find Marisa Tomei and Tommy Lee Jones watching him from the other side of the crowd. Tomei will run a finger across her throat as a warning. DiCaprio will quake in fear.
Without a host, the Oscars will open up with something different. A production number featuring Betty White and Liam Hemsworth that will spectacularly backfire and end up making everyone forget the whole Rob Lowe dancing with Snow White fiasco of 1989. Afterwards, Travolta will turn to his wife and say, “Brenda Watson and Luke Higgins really have red on their face, don’t they?”
Weiss and Gigliotti will find themselves wondering if they can change their names after tonight.
In Las Vegas, the bookies will be busy taking action on what will win this year’s Best Picture, and how long the broadcast will actually run.
The first winner will glare at the orchestra conductor who’s trying to musically coax him off the stage. “Stop that! I’ve got people to thank!” he will say, taking a booklet that appears to be three hundred pages thick out of his jacket pocket. It will establish the tone for the rest of the night with winners refusing to keep things short.
Streisand’s meltdown, having had kept everyone on Ascension Island up through the night, will end when doctors sedate her. This will only keep her out for a few hours, but should be adequate for the islanders to get some sleep.
Beneath the Dolby Theatre, dismayed by his failed efforts at a break in, Cruise will turn to Baio and ask, “a couple dozen bucks for your pal to let us in?”
Jennifer Lawrence will make a presentation, and trip on stage in front of everyone. Having had fulfilled her carnal desire to fall in front of an audience, she’ll hide her smile as she gets up to her feet.
Travolta will turn to his wife. “Wow, Karolina, what is it about Julianna Logan that makes her keep tripping during these things?”
The hashtag #HemsworthWhiteHumiliation will start to trend on Twitter.
As the show goes on, Gigliotti and Weiss will be looking at their watches backstage, mumbling under the breath curses about how far the show is behind schedule. “Why did we allow performances for best song nominees again? They go on forever!” Weiss will say.
One of the seat fillers around Jack Nicholson’s corpse will find herself wondering if the ten thousand dollar bonus is really worth having to sit beside a dead guy who reeks of embalming fluid.
Cruise, Baio, and the rest of the Mission Not That Hard Now team will find themselves making their way to the back of the Dolby Theatre’s perimeter, waiting by an employee entrance. Baio will be on his phone, wondering why his buddy inside isn’t answering his phone. “Damn it, Chachi, you said this would be easy!” Cruise will say, foaming at the mouth.
Watching from his offices, the network president will look at a clock, making a calculation as to how far behind the broadcast already is. Annoyed, he will think of the threat he made to one of his minions earlier about feeding him to the sharks. Turning around, he’ll see that Janetty, the minion in question, is missing.
Outside the network building, Janetty will be catching a cab to the airport, figuring that no job is worth getting fed to the sharks.
The March Of The Dead will be projected on the screens. Well-known actors who have died in the last year will be applauded. Less well known writers and cinematographers who have died will be met with ‘who the hell is that’ kind of questions among the audience. The faces of Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey will be projected on the screen, with the words “the careers of Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey” beneath them.
Travolta will nod at the end of the March Of The Dead, and say to his wife, “Howard Wurthinger and Keith Sedgwick must not like seeing that.”
Cruise and his team will finally be let in the back door by Scott Baio’s buddy. Cruise will let himself smile in that maniacal way of his, and bide his time, waiting for the right opportunity to storm the stage.
The President of the Academy will wonder why he didn’t ask the Fiji Water Girl, who stole the stage at the Golden Globes, to host the Oscars.
On Ascension Island, Barbra Streisand will briefly wake up in a hospital, wonder where she is, only to have the doctors sedate her again.
More awards will be handed out. Weiss and Gigliotti will look at their watches and wonder how on earth it could be four thirty in the morning.
The time will come for Best Actor to be announced. But before it can happen, two things will occur. Leonardo DiCaprio will storm down from the audience towards the stage. And Tom Cruise will emerge from back stage onto the stage. The two egomaniacs will glare at each other. From their places in the audience, Tomei and Jones will start advancing on the stage.
“Get lost! I was here first!” DiCaprio will tell Cruise.
“No, I was!” Cruise will shout back. “And I’m a bigger star than you!”
“No, I’m the bigger star!” DiCaprio will insist.
While the egomaniacs bicker, neither one of them will notice Tomei and Jones come up on stage. The two Designated Bouncers will tap each of the egomaniacs on the shoulder. Cruise will turn and find himself face to face with Jones, just before Jones hits him in the mouth. DiCaprio will turn and find Marisa Tomei throwing a hard punch that connects with his nose. What follows will be brief, a beat down of two egomaniacs that ends with blood and tears for Cruise and DiCaprio, and satisfied grins for Jones and Tomei.
Travolta will be impressed. “Teddy Lou Jackson and Molly Trelesta really know how to fight!”
The last of the awards will be presented for Best Picture. Shock and outrage will spew out over social media over the decision from fans of the other films. The end credits will start running at nine forty eight in the morning.
Weiss and Gigliotti will be nowhere to be found, having had decided at six twenty seven to leave the building, change their names, and disappear off the face of the earth.
Cruise and DiCaprio will find themselves in the emergency department of a Los Angeles hospital, being treated for cuts, scrapes, bruises, and emotional trauma. Cruise will be muttering over and over about the “face of pure rage, out to destroy me.”
DiCaprio will wail and shake and shiver, wondering if his broken nose will ever re-set properly. Over and over again he'll be heard to exclaim, “Marisa Tomei causes pain!”