The Academy Awards ceremony is coming up this weekend. I will be avoiding the whole thing like the plague it is, because frankly I would rather crawl through a kilometre of broken glass. But it has been my tradition for some years now to write about how the ceremony should go. Of course it references previous continuity, which I have taken to calling the Kendallverse (good God, I've got continuity), and which means if you haven't read these before, it's probably going to come across as a wee bit confusing. Just consider yourself warned.
And so here we go...
One hundred forty seven hours before the ceremony begins, fans will be camped out around the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, gushing about who's going to be seen walking down the red carpet this year, who might be a sore loser, and how long past its scheduled time of conclusion the ceremony will actually go.
At the headquarters of ABC, this year's broadcaster, the network president will be taking calls from the leadership of the Academy in the days running up to the ceremony, griping about the network's insistence on keeping things short and putting yet more categories into the pre-show non televised portion. "Spielberg's calling us assholes, James! When you lose Spielberg, you've lost the audience!"
The ABC President will shrug. "Your point being?"
Two days before the event gets underway, at an undisclosed LA funeral home, the body of Jack Nicholson, who died several years ago at an Oscars, will arrive for the annual embalming treatments. The morticians, all too aware of the specific requirements of Nicholson's will expressly demanding his presence at every Oscars even after his death, will find themselves wondering why Nicholson didn't ask to get cremated.
In an endeavour to prevent Barbra Streisand from coming to the Oscars, the Academy will send an invitation and plane ticket to the home of the egomaniac and tell her that the ceremony has been moved to a new location. In Australia. Taking them by their word, Streisand will immediately board the flight, forgetting her husband at home, and spending the entire twenty three hour flight annoying every other passenger on the plane.
On the morning of the Oscars, the three hosts will meet with producers Will Packer and Shayla Cowan. Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes have been selected to host the events in turns, effectively in three acts. After Packer and Cowan have given their briefing on the hours ahead, Sykes, Schumer, and Hall will disregard the order that they were supposed to go out and do this thing and decide who goes first, second, and last through rock-paper-scissors. The result later in the night will be one-liners that are supposed to be coming from someone else.
Tom Cruise, barred from attending the Oscars by a restraining order, will be engaged with a group of extras, waiters, and washed up sitcom stars in planning his Mission Impossible style infiltration of the theatre. Assembling his motley crew around a table in a poorly lit conference room, he'll be talking about his intentions of skydiving onto the roof of the theatre.
"But I don't like skydiving," Scott Baio will say.
"Shut up, Chachi!"
In the Alberta foothills in Canada, Inspector Lars Ulrich, the legendary Mountie and world's crankiest man, will be in his detachment, feeling content in the knowledge that there is no entertainment reporter in the country tonight, confusing him with that other Lars Ulrich.
Packer and Cowan will meet with the two designated bouncers of the Oscars, Tommy Lee Jones and Marisa Tomei in the hours before the ceremony while the auditorium is being readied. Cowan will stress the importance of keeping good order and not letting speeches go over the time limit. Jones will counter that their contracts specifically state "if they feel like it".
Cowan will ask, "what's that mean?"
Tomei's reply: "you'll find out."
At home getting ready for the big event, Leonardo DiCaprio, still nursing grudges and PTSD from recent years when he's been the subject of a beatdown by Tomei on more than one occasion, will spend hours in front of a mirror, telling himself, "she can't hurt you, she can't hurt you, everyone loves you, everyone loves you..."
John Travolta, at home getting ready for the big evening, will be looking into a mirror and reminding himself, "now don't get anyone's name wrong this year, are we understood, Joe Tavares?"
The body of Jack Nicholson will be put into his front row seat as stated in his will. The seat fillers who are paid to do that job throughout the ceremony will be paid extra to sit with him throughout and put up with the scent of formaldehyde and whiskey.
Barbra Streisand will arrive at the coordinates noted in her invitation- only to find out that instead of a grand theatre, it's a bar in a dusty one-intersection town in the Australian outback. Her scream of outrage will be heard as far away as Cape Town, South Africa.
The pre-televised ceremony will be taking place. Those categories that are never televised will find themselves joined by other categories new to the little kid's table this year.
Outside, celebrities will start showing up and spending time on the red carpet talking to the horde of entertainment reporters, most of whom will be asking, "so who are you wearing?"
Tom Cruise and his Mission Infiltration team will board a plane outside LA for their top secret parachute jump. The pilot will be making triple his usual rate, paid in advance by Cruise's assistant, for the irritation of putting up with Cruise for a half hour.
At least one member of the group will be wondering if this is all worth it.
Among the categories in the pre-show will be the Best Original Score category. The winner will walk up to the podium, and start their speech by saying, "First of all, to the individual responsible for shunting us out of the televised portion of the evening: go fuck yourself, James."
At ABC headquarters, the president of the network will be outraged. "Nobody says that to me and lives!" He will storm out of his office.
In the Australian outback, Barbra Streisand will be annoying local Aussies in the bar with her demands. "Do you know who I am? I need to get back to Los Angeles right now!"
On the red carpet, Streisand's husband James Brolin will tell reporters, "actually, I don't know where Barbra is tonight."
Travolta, passing by, will say to no one in particular, "hey, that's Jake Barrett!"
The Mission Infiltration team's flight will run into some nasty headwinds that force them off course. Cruise will yell at the pilot. The pilot will refrain from wanting to punch him in the face.
The celebrities will start filling the auditorium. The encirclement of the body of Jack Nicholson by seat fillers being paid high rates will have been complete. Jack will look like he's sleeping, with his sunglasses on and his tuxedo. No one will want to approach and say hello, knowing he's shuffled off his mortal coil years ago.
Travolta will mutter to himself, "Jimmy Nuthall is really missed by everyone."
Leonardo DiCaprio will arrive with whatever model he's dating this month. Across the auditorium he will see Marisa Tomei and Tommy Lee Jones, who will notice him. Tomei will make a fist and point at him. DiCaprio will tremble.
The ceremony will begin. The first of the three hosts will step out on stage. Packer and Cowan will look at each other. "She was supposed to be third," Packer will say.
The president of ABC will turn up at the theatre and confront the winner of the Best Score for what was said. The winner will proceed to calmly stand up... and beat the president of the network to a pulp.
Travolta, watching from his seat, will smile and say, "it's like that character in that boxing movie, Randy Barbossa."
In Australia, patrons of the bar will be contemplating homicidal thoughts as Streisand sings Memory.
DiCaprio will find himself thinking he should have just stayed home.
The pilot of Mission Infiltration, having had managed to turn back against the headwinds and gotten back into LA airspace, will tell Cruise and his team of misfits that they'll be good to go in five minutes.
"But I'm scared of heights!" Baio will say.
"But I'm scared of heights!" Baio will say.
"Shut up, Chachi!" Cruise will tell him again.
The first award of the televised portion of the night will be handed out. The winner will start thanking people, and the orchestra will discreetly attempt to get them to go. "I'm not finished yet," the winner will chide them. It will be the first time of what will be a long night.
Backstage, Sykes, Hall, and Schumer will be having a discussion with Packer and Cowan. "What's this about all of you out of order?" Cowan will demand.
"We decided we'd have more fun this way," Hall will reply.
In Australia, calls will be made from the bar to the local police requesting an immediate removal of that crazy American with the horrible singing voice.
Cruise and his team of misfits will launch from their plane high over the theatre. The pilot will feel a great sense of relief that his job for the night is done. One of the team will realize he forgot his parachute. Unfortunately it's not Cruise or Scott Baio.
Cruise will be on target descending through the atmosphere, oblivious to the scream of terror passing by hurtling towards the earth. All he'll be focusing on is getting even.
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga will reprise their having sex on stage musical number from several years ago.
Marisa Tomei will take an opportunity to look up through the seats, catch the eye of DiCaprio, and run a finger across her throat and point at him. DiCaprio will struggle to hold back tears.
Team Mission Infiltration will descend towards the earth. One of them much faster than the rest, hitting terminal velocity and pancaking into the ground down the block from the theatre in a parking lot. Multiple luxury cars will be smeared with blood and what's left of inner organs of a guy who used to wait tables and wait for his big casting opportunity which will now never come.
The rest of the team will have pulled their chutes and will be descending towards the theatre. Scott Baio, having had seen the fall of his colleague, will throw up. The vomit, called a protein spill by the housekeeping staff at the theatre, will hit the red carpet. The wind will shift, sending nearly everyone off course.
Another member of the team will land on the street four blocks away- directly in front of a street sweeper. He will be crushed underneath its weight, leaving behind a pet hamster at home and no prospects beyond being an also-ran on The Bachelor.
Another member of the team will, in a scene reminiscent of Deadpool 2, be dragged by his parachute into a wood chipper.
Yet another member of the team will end up caught in a tree and get pecked at by angry birds.
And yet another member of the team will drift into the area of a local zoo, landing on an island in the alligator enclosure.
Baio will tumble to the red carpet, landing in his own vomit and throwing up again.
Cruise will hit the roof of the theatre, knocking his head against the wall, and getting knocked out.
Jones and Tomei will receive word of some disturbances outside.
DiCaprio will note their departure and wonder if his stomach will settle and if he'll ever stop being deathly afraid of Marisa Tomei.
Travolta will mutter to himself, "I wonder where Teddy Lou Jackson and Molly Thatcher are going."
The president of ABC will find himself in a hospital, groaning in pain and wondering if it was all that important to keep the running time of the Oscars on schedule after all. One of his aides will inform him that the ceremony is already twenty minutes behind.
In Australia, Barbra Streisand will be given a mild sedative with her coffee and put into a car to return to the airport. The senior responding police officer will consider filing a formal complaint to the American embassy.
Jones and Tomei will find Scott Baio still throwing up outside on the red carpet, with an ever widening gap of people keeping their distance, and housekeeping staff wary of approaching too. "Why'd I have to eat the chili?" Baio will ask no one in between heaves of Exorcist-levels of vomit.
Up on the roof, Cruise will remain unconscious- for the moment.
The ceremony will continue. Winners will be happy. Losers will fume. The running time for the ceremony will be further and further behind.
Leonardo DiCaprio will wonder if maybe tonight's the night when he can storm the stage and make up for his previous mistreatment by ranting at everyone.
Three hours later, the ceremony will still be going on.
Scott Baio will have been taken to the hospital, crying and still throwing up. He won't be any good giving any answers as to what happened for the next two weeks.
A short distance away, police will be busy at multiple sites of the deaths of skydivers. In one parking lot, one will remark on how stains like that will never come out of a Mercedes.
Tom Cruise will still be unconscious.
In Australia, Barbra Streisand will have been returned to the airport. She will be complaining and griping about how she was fooled once again by those people to anyone passing by. "Oh, they'll pay! Believe me, they'll pay!"
The March of the Dead will be taking place on a big screen, with footage of actors, directors, and others in the industry who have passed away since the last Oscars being displayed. Those who are well known will be applauded. Cinematographers, on the other hand, will garner a 'who is that' look from the audience.
Upon seeing William Hurt's face flash on the screen, John Travolta will exclaim, "Hey! I know that guy! Wally Hutchings. I worked with him in that angel film... what was it called? Oh! Marco!"
Tom Cruise will wake up on top of the roof, wonder how long he's been unconscious, and stagger his way to a nearby staircase door. An employee of the facility, who's spent the last seven hours on the roof smoking weed entirely oblivious to the presence of Cruise, will stare at him as he goes through the propped door. "Hey, you can't go in there.... hello?"
In Australia, Barbra Streisand will be screaming at a border official. "Do you know who I am????"
The official will shrug. "Ask me if I care."
Streisand will start screaming even more, and even less intelligibly.
Tom Cruise will find his way through the backstage areas of the building, trying to find his way to the stage. He will stub his toe on a stair and howl in pain.
Leonardo DiCaprio will muster up the courage to stand up during the Best Actor nomination call and start heading down the stairs.
Tommy Lee Jones and Marisa Tomei will see DiCaprio heading down the stairs towards the stage. Despite not being a nominee. Despite not being a presenter. At the same time they will see Tom Cruise stagger out on stage, looking disheveled and slightly unhinged. DiCaprio will be heading right towards the podium at the same time as Cruise. Both Jones and Tomei will start moving, choosing targets.
"Get out of my way, I'm Tom Cruise!" Cruise will say.
"No, you get out of my way, I'm Leonardo DiCaprio," DiCaprio will shoot back.
"You don't get it! The Academy doesn't respect me!" Cruise will insist.
"They don't respect me either! I went years without winning an Oscar, and when I finally won, I got beat up for it!" DiCaprio will say.
In the audience, Glenn Close, who's been nominated many times and never won, but has always taken it graciously, will sigh, shake her head, and tell her daughter, "They're both morons."
John Travolta, watching it all, will mutter to himself, "Ted Crane and Larry DiSaverio don't much like each other."
The argument between Cruise and DiCaprio will be broken up when Jones grabs Cruise by the shoulder, turning him around, and punching him in the face. DiCaprio will start laughing until he feels a tap at his shoulder. Turning around, he'll find himself face to face with Marisa Tomei. She'll give him a deceptively sweet smile before throwing a right hook and hitting him in the nose.
The beatdown of both egomaniacs will continue.
On a plane lifting off from Australian soil, Streisand will be on the phone to her agent, demanding names of the people who fooled her into missing the Oscars. "Don't you tell me you can't find out, Larry! Do you know who you're talking to????"
The ceremony will wrap up, seven hours past its expected time of conclusion. Somewhere in a hospital in LA, the president of ABC will be waking up, sustaining multiple bruises, contusions, and broken ribs after being beaten up by the winner of the Best Original Score. He will wonder where it all went wrong. It will get even worse when he's told how long the ceremonies took to actually finish.
In the same hospital, Tom Cruise will be treated by doctors for broken bones, abrasions, bruises, and a stubbed toe. Police officers will be outside waiting to speak to him about the four individuals in his employment who met horrible ends doing a parachute drop with him into Los Angeles.
Elsewhere in the hospital, Leonardo DiCaprio will be treated by doctors after sustaining multiple injuries. He will be heard crying after his nose has been reset.
"Marisa Tomei broke my nose! Again!"