The Oscars are upon us. I don't watch that nonsense, but each year I do write the ceremony as it should happen. As I've been doing this for awhile, it's taken on a continuity of its own, which is why Jack Nicholson is dead.
Jack's not actually dead. At least we don't think so.
Five days before the ceremony, the annual treatment of Jack Nicholson’s body will have started. This is in accordance with the stipulations of his last will and testament after he died several years ago during an Oscars ceremony: Jack Nicholson’s body must be preserved and placed in the front row for each Oscars ceremony. The Academy will have given strict instructions to the embalmers, while privately wondering why they have to indulge this particular requirement of a will.
Director Glenn Weiss and producers Lynette Howell Taylor and Stephanie Allain will meet with members of the Academy two days prior to the ceremony. The usual customary reassurances about going overtime will be made. Discussions will include the fact that once again there’s not really a host for this event. And contingency measures will be examined at length for the two biggest problems plaguing Oscar nights: Tom Cruise and Barbra Streisand.
The day before the ceremony, Barbra Streisand will receive visitors at her home. One of them will be a producer with ties to the Academy, saying he wants to cast her as the lead in a prestige film called The Aristocrats. He guarantees that it is the sort of film that will get her a Best Actress Oscar. Streisand, having never had heard of the stand-up comedy routine of that name, will gleefully sign on the dotted line, not noticing that the document she’s signing is a voluntary committal form for a mental hospital.
Tom Cruise will receive a restraining order forbidding him from coming within ten miles of the Dolby Theatre for the next forty eight hours. This will leave him outraged, telling the clerk, “Damn it, I’m a top actor! They can’t do this to me! I’m starring in the Top Gun sequel, and they know it!”
Streisand will be confused, after signing the documents, as to why two of her visitors start putting a straitjacket on her and removing her from the mansion. “What’s this? What is this about?” she will ask before they sedate her.
An hour later, Weiss, Taylor, and Allain will have learned that Operation Streisand has succeeded.
On the morning of the ceremony, Streisand will wake up in St. Bartholomew’s Hospital For The Hopelessly Deranged, in a padded room, still wearing her straitjacket. “Let me out of her!” she’ll yell at the camera monitoring her room. “I’ve got to get to the Oscars! Don’t you know who I am? I’m Barbra Streisand!”
A doctor monitoring the video feed will turn it off, wondering why this “Jane Doe”, as she’s listed as being, would want to claim to be a washed up singer who hasn’t worked in years.
Tom Cruise will have gathered together an elite team of bus boys, drivers, commercial actors, and Jett Jennings, that guy who used to be on General Hospital. He will lay out his plans for breaking into the Dolby theatre tonight, vowing that no restraining order will keep him off the stage he belongs on. “It’s about time those Academy people learn who really runs things in this town.”
“It’s Betty White, isn’t it?” Jennings will ask.
“Shut up!” Cruise will snap at him.
At his home, Leonardo DiCaprio will be getting ready for the ceremony, being a nominee this year. He’ll be looking over several sheets of paper before putting them in his tuxedo jacket pocket. Armed with what he’s calling his Get Even, And This Time I Mean It speech, he gets himself into the angry, outraged mood he needs to be in. As opposed to giving any thought to the very dangerous woman who put him in the hospital last year. And the year before that, and the year before that… Try though he might, he won’t be able to hold back a whimper as he mutters to himself, “Marisa Tomei causes pain!”
At the Dolby Theatre, Taylor, Allain, and Weiss will meet with the designated enforcers for the night. Tommy Lee Jones and Marisa Tomei are on hand again to keep order, just in case Tom Cruise defies the restraining order, or if Leonardo DiCaprio starts to make a scene. “Let him,” Tomei will say with a smirk. “I’m already picturing breaking his nose again.”
Weiss will ask if it’s possible for the designated enforcers to try to keep people from letting their speeches run long. Jones will shake his head. “That’s up to you, but let’s face it, even if they’re told to keep it short, nobody’s going to actually pay any attention to that.”
Elsewhere in the building, workers from the funeral home will be placing Jack Nicholson’s body in his customary seat. They will wonder to himself which seat fillers will be paid to sit in the immediate vicinity of the dead guy for four hours. Or however long the ceremony is actually going to go, because these things are never on schedule.
James Brolin will be at home getting ready for the Oscars, wondering where his wife Barbra is.
At St. Bartholomew’s, Streisand will be seething while sitting in a therapy session with her assigned therapist, Dr. Millicent Campbell. “Yes, Ms. Doe, you say that you’re Barbra Streisand. And while I can see the resemblance, that doesn’t mean anything. My question to you is this. Why would you want to be Barbara Streisand? She’s a no talent self absorbed battle axe, after all.”
Streisand will try to lunge at her therapist, only to find that her straitjacket is linked to the chair she’s sitting in. “I'll show you who’s got talent!” she’ll scream.
Campbell will write in her notes two words: looney tunes.
John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston will be getting ready for the ceremony at home. Travolta will be in a good mood as he adjust his hairpiece. “I’ll tell you something, honey, it’ll be quite a thing getting out there tonight and seeing everyone. Maybe Jessica Larrabee will trip on the stairs again.”
Elsewhere, Jennifer Lawrence will be getting dressed, imagining that pivotal moment sometime during the evening when she’ll engage in her annual fall on the stairs or the red carpet. It’s her thing, after all. Falling in public is her way of getting off.
Somewhere back stage in the Dolby Theatre, workers will hear Eye Of The Tiger being played and find Jones and Tomei face to face, yelling at each other in a motivational way. “No pain! No pain!” Tomei will say.
“Let’s bust some heads tonight!” Jones will reply back.
Cruise and his company of operatives will be setting out in vans for the Dolby Theatre. Cruise will still be fuming after being denied by the U.S. military the use of an F-35. “I’m starring in Top Gun, and those ribbon wearing cowards are saying no to me??? I’m going to show them all!” he’ll rant. Some of his colleagues will be wondering if it might have been a mistake taking this job, but this is Hollywood, and sometimes paying the rent requires responding to weird ads like “A-List Star Requires Top Talent To Get Even With Academy”.
The red carpet will be ready for hours before the ceremony. Crowds of onlookers will be assembled. Paparazzi will be gushing about who will be wearing what, or if Harry and Meghan are going to put in an appearance.
Betting pools across the country will be doing brisk business before the ceremony. Potential winners will be one topic for bets. The actual running time for the ceremony will be another. The first time a winner shushes the orchestra for trying to coax them off stage will be yet another. And whether or not there’s a repeat from last year of Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s scorching duet from last year that left a lot of people taking cold showers will be yet another.
At their home, Katherine Heigl and her wife Katherine Heigl will be getting ready for the ceremony. This despite neither of them being in a film in the past year. The two Katherines, one from this reality and one from another reality, have found the one true love of their lives in each other, and ever since have been engaged in a long tour of debauchery, exhibitionism, and pay attention to us antics across the world. The two Katherines will be quite hands on with each other, having had agreed on a way to out-do that duet Cooper and Gaga did last year.
Brolin will turn up at the Dolby Theatre, on his own. “No, I don’t know where Barbra is,” he’ll admit to a reporter. “But she leads a very active life, and sometimes we don’t see each other for days. To be honest, she is something of a pain in the neck. Wait, you’re not recording that, are you?”
Streisand will be reduced to tears, singing Memory in the therapist’s office. Campbell will be wincing in pain. “Will you stop that?” Campbell will ask.
Cruise and his team will have gotten past the outer perimeter of security thanks to a well placed bribe. While the rest of the team take getaway position near the Dolby Theatre, Cruise and Jennings will be scaling a neighbouring building. Jennings will be saying, “This reminds me of the time we had the mad bomber storyline and I had to kill my character’s evil younger brother….”
“Will you shut up?” Cruise will snap at him.
Up in the Alberta foothills, at his detachment, legendary RCMP Inspector Lars Ulrich will allow himself a rare smile, knowing that every entertainment reporter on the continent is far, far, far away from him, giving him a guaranteed night of peace and quiet.
Jennifer Lawrence will arrive at the Dolby Theatre, smile as she takes some questions from entertainment reporters on her way in, trying not to roll her eyes as she’s asked who designed her dress, and promptly trip as she reaches the threshold of the building. People will gasp, flashes will light up, photos will go viral on social media, but none of that will matter to her. She’ll be allowing herself a satisfied smile. Because she’ll have accomplished what she set out to do… and it feels so good.
Travolta and Preston, seeing the fall, will be astonished. “Look, honey!” Travolta will say. “Justine Lexington did it again!”
The two Katherines will turn up at the red carpet, hands all over each other, making out as they make their way to the front door. The issue of how they scored an invitation will be one that will be questioned in the days to come.
Tom Cruise will be in the process of setting up a cable line from one rooftop to another to reach the Dolby Theatre. Jennings will be saying, “You know, I’m reminded of that time when my character went up against that Sicilian countess villainess. Which reminds me, how is it in one of your movies, the villain gets dispatched inside of two hours, but in a soap opera, the villain never really pays for their crimes and is around for thirty years?”
Cruise will turn on him and snap, “Nobody cares!”
Leonardo DiCaprio will arrive for the ceremony, looking around at the multitude of colleagues and seat fillers in the auditorium. For a moment, his eyes will fall upon two people down at the stage, both of them watching him. He’ll gasp in horror at the sight of Marisa Tomei and Tommy Lee Jones. Tomei will make a gesture with one finger sliding across her throat, and point at him. DiCaprio will shake and quiver.
Seat fillers will have gathered around the body of Jack Nicholson, as assigned. For the ordeal of spending time in the presence of a man who’s been dead for several years, all of them will be making serious bonuses on top of the usual pay for seat fillers.
Travolta will point out Nicholson to his wife. “I’ll tell you, honey, Judd Norbert looks pretty good for a guy who’s been dead all these years.”
Weiss, Taylor, and Allain will have a final meeting before the ceremony is to kick off. They’ll make private bets amongst themselves as to how long the ceremony will run past its supposed ending.
In Washington, at the Oval Office, the president will start sending out a tweet before falling asleep. The contents of the tweet will lead to endless memes and ridicule for months to come: “So boring kerdaffles…”
Cruise and Jennings will be crossing the cable line towards the Dolby Theatre rooftop, hand over hand. Jennings, admonished into silence by the egomaniac star, will wonder if he made a mistake taking this job. Cruise will find himself wondering whether or not he should cut the line when he gets onto the roof and send Jennings crashing down to the street below.
At St. Bartholomew’s, Streisand will be uncharacteristically quiet as she tells Dr. Campbell, “you know, maybe it all starts with the fact that my parents really didn’t like me….”
The ceremony will get underway with an opening act that somehow deals with the fact that there’s not really a host for the evening. Weiss, Taylor, and Allain will find themselves wondering ever after how Bjork got on stage, wearing an ensemble including purple ribbons, a fake stork, and a Davy Crockett raccoon hat.
The first of the night’s winners will be announced. Other nominees will try and fail to conceal their frustration at not winning. The winner will come up to accept their Oscar, and warn the orchestra, “don’t even think of starting to whisk me off the stage, I’ve got forty pages of people to thank.”
Network executives will sigh in exasperation.
Cruise and Jennings will have reached the rooftop and find themselves waiting for the time Cruise has appointed as the ideal time to head inside. “You know, I’m reminded of that storyline with Blaze Wentworth and the Doomsday Machine back in ’92…”
Cruise will turn on him. “Do I look like I care about a doomsday machine?”
The evening will progress. Network executives will check their watches and calculate how many hours they’re already behind. Speeches will be made, people will be thanked, at least four vital people will be forgotten during those speeches. There will be glad handing and self congratulatory nonsense. Bets will continue to be taken as to how much longer it will last. Across the world, people will start asking themselves if they really care to find out who’s the best picture winner.
Weiss, Taylor, and Allain, in a panic, will call Billy Crystal and beg him to come salvage the Oscars. Crystal will cheerfully tell them to go fuck themselves.
Samuel L. Jackson will take the stage as a presenter, glare around at people, and set the network censors into a meltdown when he starts to talk. “Well, look at all you motherfuckers here tonight.” The next minute and a half, before getting to the nominees in the category, will consist of forty seven uses of the word motherfucker, and seventy eight different fucks.
One of the seat fillers beside Jack Nicholson will wonder if the corpse just moved.
Dr. Campbell will ask Streisand, “What we’re trying to get to the bottom of here, Jane, is this: why do you believe you are Barbra Streisand?”
Streisand, a mess of tears and dishevelled hair at this point in the session, will say, “But I am!”
Campbell will sigh. “We were so close to a breakthrough.”
The ceremony will be interrupted by an increasing volume of moans and sighs. A camera will briefly fall upon the source of it: the two Katherine Heigls, one of them on top of the other in their seats, tearing at each other’s clothes, going at it. “Oh baby!” one of the Katherines will say to the other. “Yes, right there!”
John Travolta will tell his wife, “Well, Kristina Howard and Kristina Howard are really into each other.”
Jones and Tomei will escort the two Katherine Heigls out of the building, tossing them in the back of a waiting limo, and instruct the driver to send them off the nearest pier before going back inside. The driver will watch them go, and ask, “was that serious? Or just a joke?”
The driver will leave regardless, hearing the sounds of the Katherine Heigls in full mating mode in the back of the limo, despite the supposedly soundproof glass. He’ll decide to drop them off at a hotel. In the meantime, he’ll turn on the limo radio, which at that moment is conveniently playing Helter Skelter, just to drown out the noise.
Katherine Heigl and Katherine Heigl getting it on will become the viral meme of the night.
The March of the Dead will take place, noting all those actors, writers, directors, and other members of the industry who have died in the last year. The applause will be particularly loud for Kirk Douglas, having had recently died. However, for those whose careers have been more behind the scenes, the applause will be far less, and more of ‘who the hell is that guy?’ queries among the audience.
The March of the Dead will also include Bradley Cooper’s Marriage, featuring images of Cooper and Lady Gaga engaged in foreplay during their Oscars duet last year. Cooper will be seen sighing and rolling his eyes, and wondering what Gaga is doing right now.
Cruise will unscrew a ventilation shaft grate when he’s decided the time is right. Jennings will say, “This reminds me of that hostage taking storyline where everyone was down at the pier and nobody could…”
Cruise will spin around and hit him. Jennings will pause, touch his chin, and ask, “was that supposed to hurt?”
Streisand, frustrated by not being believed, will start singing at the top of her lungs. Hitting the high notes will break every bit of glass in St. Bartholomew’s. Campbell will find herself wondering if, despite the committal papers claiming this woman to be a Jane Doe believing she’s Barbra Streisand, whether the patient actually is that person.
Late in the ceremony, the Best Actor nominee will be announced. Leonardo DiCaprio, expecting to win, will be outraged when someone else is named. He will charge down the aisle to the stage, grabbing the Oscar before the winner can reach the stage. “This belongs to me!”
At this moment, Cruise will drop in on a zipline, touching down on stage and grabbing for the Oscar. “You idiot, that belongs to me!” He will try to wrest the Oscar away from DiCaprio.
Travolta will smile. “I don’t think Lawrence DeBenedetto or Troy Curtis are taking this well, honey.”
Jones and Tomei will move in from either end of the stage while Cruise and DiCaprio are engaged in a tug of war with the Oscar. The actual Best Actor winner and the presenter will look at each other in an awkward way, and remind themselves never to work with Cruise or DiCaprio. Jones will pull Cruise back, turn him around, and start beating him up. At the same moment, DiCaprio will find himself spinning around, dropping the Oscar, and come face to face with Tomei. He’ll shriek in horror as Tomei throws a punch, hitting him in the nose.
At St. Bartholomew’s, Streisand will be discharged from custody. “This isn’t the end of this, do you hear me?” she’ll tell Campbell. “You kept me away from the Oscars! I’ll have my revenge! On you and on the entire Academy!”
“Whatever you say, Madame Nutcase,” Doctor Campbell will say as Streisand leaves the site in a taxi.
The remaining Oscars will be handed out. Network executives will be outraged that it’s now eight twenty in the morning as the event wraps up. Of the team of operatives employed by Cruise to help him violate the restraining order, only Jennings will be found. As he’s taken into custody, he’ll be telling the responding officers, “this reminds me of the time when my character got sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit…”
“Shut up!” both of the officers will tell him.
Cruise himself will be in a hospital, getting treated for multiple broken bones, groaning about not being treated seriously by the industry. Police officers will be waiting to take him into custody for violating that restraining order.
In a nearby treatment room in the same hospital, DiCaprio will find himself shaking involuntarily while a doctor tries to reset his busted nose and tend to his other injuries. Every once in awhile he’ll cry out involuntarily the same words: “Marisa Tomei beat me up!”