Live from Hollywood . . .
. . . or at least from the hotel in downtown Los Angeles watching the Oscars, live, in real time.
Having arrived here from New York only a few hours ago I am not bothered enough to go out into the night life of downtown LA. The telecast however is sorely testing my lethargy. James Franco and Anne Hathaway, the compares, have learned their lines and their performances are smacking of the school concert. I suspect James Franco has had more to drink, smoke or snort than is good for him but perhaps he needs the support for when Anne Hathaway’s jokes fall flat on the stage floor.
The absolute star of the show, so far, has been Kirk Douglas. Such a trooper, and, even with the crumbling mumbling slurring words brought about by the effects of a stroke in his mid 90’s he still has the wit to pull off the cracking charm. Like a very aged grandpa at any wedding with an eye for the bride’s maids, the twinkle in his eye reminds us of the vitality that has made him the man he is and the man he has always been, loved and cherished.
The Oscars are taking place at the Kodak Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. Once upon a long time ago the ceremony was held at the Biltmore, a gorgeous art deco hotel near here in wonderful downtown. What to say about downtown when there is so much to say?
On a crisp but sunny Sunday afternoon here in downtown the people on the streets tell the story and most of them are speaking Spanish. Families out and about shopping along Main and Los Angeles, eating fried pastries and corn cobs from sidewalk grills. So many of the shops in this part of town are store fronts to what were once glamorous film theatres. Now it is jewellery or denim.
Downtown is downtrodden and shabby but home to many who live on and within the streets. In the middle of all of this is the stunning Los Angeles Central Library. Once upon a time it was open seven days a week giving refuge to all citizens, homeless and otherwise. Budget cuts have closed it to five. They should be so lucky. London boroughs have been closing down libraries for years. Today, when Hollywood supposedly shuts down to celebrate the motion picture industry we saw three lots of crews shooting film of some sort.
Scarlett Johansson also appears to have had a little too much to drink. Obama pops up from somewhere in the White House to tell us he thinks Casablanca had the best soundtrack. Shouldn’t he be too busy, too pre-occupied to be bothered with this? Casablanca? He has Libya and Michigan to deal with for starters.
The Oscars are over, AT LAST, and I can only imagine how many sorrows are going to be drowned in the bonhomie of the after parties, not to mention the need for a stiff drink.
Such a dreary telecast. Next year they should give the gig to Sandra Bullock and Billy Crystal, or better still, Ricky Gervais and Russell Brand, with another walk-on part for Kirk. Warm and entertaining, and outrageous, they could do it in their sleep without putting us to sleep.
The bar at the Biltmore is looking good . . .