Nearly 5 years ago and I am watching the 80th Oscars and calling my mother at every commercial, per usual. (She has particularly awesome things to say about Tilda Swinton's speech and dress; someday I am gonna write a book of my mother's Oscar witticisms. Or her witticisms in general. The woman is a modern day Dorothy Parker, but, you know, less drunk.) It is the "dark Oscars," the year of murderous oilmen and the scariest pageboy in creation. When the funnest thing in your arsenal is teen pregnancy, Hollywood, let's put down the cocaine and relax a little, eh? Totally kidding, Hollywood! Snort away because it is a great year for movies; the year my mother falls in love with Javier (despite his hair), Jon Stewart is really funny, and the writer's strike has just ended. Hope reigns supreme and I am riveted to the screen. Well, to be honest, I am actually watching it out of the corner of my eye because I am pacing the room and debating drinking Tabasco, while I frantically try to induce labor. Super Preschooler is 10 days late and I feel like an Iceberg floating toward an unsuspecting Titanic. (Oh, I haven't even begun, Readers. Fasten your seatbelt, it is gonna be a bumpy post. Whee, another one!)
Now, a word about Super Preschooler as Super Fetus. The child is still pretty sloth-like, but in utero, if he moved once a day, I was lucky. I treasured those rare kicks and burned with envy at my fellow gestaters who rhapsodized about midnight gymnastics and playing little games of tag with their fetuses (feti?). Nope, Super Preschooler rationed out his movements and I hadn't had one all day. I was starting to think that I was losing my mind (one of the best ways to win an Oscar, incidentally; play crazy) and having an hysterical pregnancy. Anyone who has seen me eat can easily figure out where the weight gain came from. So, I am whirling around the room in flannel pjs that won't fully close, mumbling about Castor oil and dragging a throw blanket behind me like a crazy queen, and that is when an actual queen stalks onto the Oscar stage. OK, so it is really Helen Mirren to present the Best Actor award, but come on, she is totally regal. I finally sit down on the coffee table to watch her announce Daniel Day-Lewis as Best Actor, and Super Preschooler goes insane. Now, I mean insane for him, which is maybe 3 kicks and a poke to the ribs, but it feels wonderful and I take it as a sign that he is finally coming to meet us. I am about 2 days, 16 hours of active labor, and an emergency C-section off, but I am right that it is a sign. It is a sign that our Best Actor in a Leading Role has arrived and would like to thank the Academy.
In 84 Academy Awards, there have been 85 best actor awards given to 76 different men. I am pretty sure that Super Preschooler could out-act all of them if it meant that he could get out of going to bed. No one needs that many drinks of water.... While Super Toddler is a born character actor and Super Baby just wants to direct, Super Preschooler is the star of the show. That the show is something that he and Awesome Preschooler threw together with some glitter and 3 my Little Ponies, and then presented from the top of the stairs with an audience of me, Awesome Mom, 5 stuffed animals, and a sleeping Super Toddler takes nothing away from it. Super Preschooler's shows are epics to rival Lawrence of Arabia. (Now, you can't really say that Peter O'Toole was robbed in 1962 considering that he lost out of Gregory Peck, playing Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. Don't really get more best than that.)
Of course, if you were going to get more best (simmer down, Grammar police) than that, it might look like this:
Emil Jannings won the first Oscar for a Lead Actor, and, since stuff was totally done differently in the 1920s, he won his award for 2 different roles, a bank clerk and a grand duke. Over his brief film catalog (the advent of sound and his thick German accent killed his career), one finds Henry VIII, some czars, Othello, numerous professors, and, naturally, the Devil. Not many could go toe-to-toe with Emil in versatility, but I bet you that Super P. could. Whose middle name is, incidentally, Emil. Super Preschooler's recent show (and I mean, he is doing it right now in the living room while I type this) involves Iron Man rescuing some fairies from an evil plot that an octopus and Darth Vadar have hatched from their lair, the train table. He appears to be letting his brother play Darth Vadar, but all other roles are his to emote with. And emote he does; Emil would be proud.
The 1930s bring us a treasure trove of leading men; Lionel Barrymore plays an alcoholic lawyer, Clark Cable single-handedly ruins the undershirt industry, Paul Muni revitalizes medicine, and Spencer Tracy wins both his Oscars, though he will go on to be nominated 7 more times. Frederic March and Wallace Beery tie in 1932, the only time that this will ever happen in the history of the Oscars. A word about Frederic March; he is my favorite actor of all time. This post is already long and supposed to be about Super Preschooler. Call me if you want to know more; he is an under-appreciated gem. Super P. would have been all over this decade; monsters, screwball comedies, biopics, and Ronald Donat acting so hard that it actually made British people cry.
Yes, she is doing every decade. Take breaks and stay hydrated, it's the only way to complete an Awkward Mom movie marathon alive and sane.
The 1940s include such cinematic luminaries as James Stewart, Gary Cooper, James Cagney, Bing Crosby, and Laurence Oliver. Fredric March wins again, this time for The Best Years of Our Lives, which may be the best movie about war veterans every made. Or I might be slightly biased. Who cares; you just need to check him out! The leading men of the 40s are honored for their ability to portray alcoholics, soldiers, artists, journalists, and politicians; roles that we, with our modern arrogance, often glance at with misguided sophistication and pronounce quaint. They aren't; they are unflinchingly honest and complex portrayals that colorfully defy their black and white film reels. They are no more quaint that Super Preschooler and his surprisingly astute tales of warrior princesses and sympathetic dragons.
We shift to the 1950s and immediately enjoy Jose Ferrer as Cyrano, Humphrey Bogart as Charlie Allnut, and Gary Cooper in High Noon. Holy Cats, is there no end to this magnificent movie mastery? Nope, because here comes William Holden. And then we have Marlen Brando in On the Waterfront and Earnest Borgnine in Marty, which are two of my favorite movies of all time. Yul Brynner dances with Deborah Kerr, Alec Guinness blows up a bridge, and David Niven sits at Separate Tables, but basically plays himself. Ah, David Niven; wit, charm, and a natty dresser. (Did you know that Ian Flemming had him in mind to play James Bond?) Super Preschooler is well on his way to David Niven territory, pity that we couldn't give him a British edge, but he'll get here. Super Preschooler can pull off a successful David Niven, given (tee-hee) that he got Awkward Grandma's wit and a style that no one in our family tree can claim. Seriously. He is currently wearing a dinosaur shirt, jeans, 8 bracelets, a cape, and devil horns, while telling me that he is desperate need of some more rings. The 1950s end with a win for Charlton Heston, proving that even the Oscar voters are human and vulnerable to err on occasion.
Go get a snack, Readers, we are heading into the 1960s! Burt Lancaster hosts a revival, there are Nazis, Rex Harrison deals with the rain in Spain, and Lee Marvin plays 2 characters in the same movie, each funnier than the next. Gregory Peck makes life harder for men in general as he sets the bar ridiculously high and Sidney Poitier breaks down boundaries beautifully. But I want to talk about Paul Scofield in A Man for all Seasons. When don't I want to talk about A Man for all Seasons is the real question. This stunningly tender portrayal of Sir Thomas Moore is probably in the top 10 reasons why I have any faith at all. More like top 5. It is a life-changing film to watch and it reminds me of Super Preschooler. Not that he is in danger of dying because Henry the VIII is shooting blanks and needs a new wife. No, but Super Preschooler is incredibly principled and faithful. Rules are rules, games are to be fair, and God help you if you told him 5 minutes when you really meant I'm-gonna-say-in-5-minutes-so-he-will-go-away-and-let-me-surf-Facebook-in-peace. Super Preschooler will call you on it. Not in a mean way, mind. But in a Paul-Scofield-gently-disappointed way that will haunt you far longer than any fit.
George C. Scoot marches us into the 1970s and Dustin Hoffman divorces us at the end. (See what I did there? Oh, clever Awkward Mom!) In between, Gene Hackman drives all crazy, Richard Dreyfuss has art imitate life, and Jack Lemmon is quite depressing. Like really depressing; be careful with this one and have some chocolate on hand. Peter Finch and Jack Nicholson both win for playing crazy (told you), and Marlon Brando declines to accept his award for the Godfather for political reasons. George C. Scott actually does the same thing because it is the 70s, Readers. Peace, pot, and protest central. I often think that little flower child Super Preschooler would have fit in quite nicely in the 70s. He just floated in here and told me a story that involved some misunderstood ogres. "Mom, they aren't really mean. I am pretty sure they are actually hungry." Speaking of, be right back!
Man, I love cake. What? Oh, hi there. OK, where was I? Ah, the 1980s. Wow, OK. Robert De Niro beats people up, Henry Fonda becomes the oldest Lead Actor winner ever, and Ben Kingsley plays Gandhi, although I doubt there was much playing involved. Looked pretty hard actually; I have never wanted to feed another human being more. Micheal Douglas teaches us that greed is good, and Dustin Hoffman wins again, this time for counting cards and dancing with Tom Cruise. I would give him an award for dancing with Tom Cruise alone. Robert Duvall, F. Murray Abraham, William Hurt, Paul Newman; my goodness. And yet, I see Super Preschooler all over the place here. Big meaty roles with more than a little scenery chewing. It's OK guys; after all, it was the 80s.
Here's the thing: Super Preschooler is very small for his age and I worry about him constantly; the world is full of big bullies. However, I must remind myself that his little body contains one of the biggest personalities ever housed. For when I worry, stuff like this happens:
Random girl at a church play group: Hey, you can't wear a princess dress! You are so weird.
Super Preschooler: Nope, I am Cinderella, wanna come to my ball? I've got lots of necklaces over here.
Random Girl: hmmmm....OK. Cool, a purple one!
Super Preschooler has got the confidence to be a leading man in any era, even the 80s, which is closed out by a tour de force performance by an up and coming actor named Daniel Day-Lewis. Wonder what ever happened to him?
Ah, the 1990s. Where did I put those Doc Martens and that floral dress? Must be with my flannel shirts and mix tapes. Jeremy Irons and Anthony Hopkins freak us all out, Nicholas Cage and Kevin Spacey depress us all, and Geoffrey Rush shines. (Man, I love wordplay.) Tom Hanks wins back to back Oscars, an honor he shares with Spencer Tracy; they also won both when they were exactly the same age. I smell the Illuminati at work here... Roberto Benigni wins, walks on top of Stephen Spielberg's chair, and gives a speech about making love to the audience. My mother has a field day with that Oscars; it is epic. Just because, here is a picture of my mom and Super Preschooler doing what they do best: hanging window clings and being fabulous:
This was after they hung a light up ghost in window, rags from the curtains, and strategically placed no less than 3 glitter pumpkins all over the house. They share a brain; why do when you can overdo?
The aughts begin with Russell gladiating (what? It can be a verb.), Denzel training, and Adrien playing the piano and kissing Halle Berry. He won the award for the piano playing, but he easily could have won for that kiss. Wow. Jamie Foxx, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Forrest Whitaker, and Sean Penn win for playing real people. Harvey Milk, Truman Capote, Ray Charles, and Idi Amen. Who can match them up? Do it right and I will give you some of this cake I have been eating while writing this. You might want to hurry though.... Daniel Day-Lewis wins his second of three Oscars (if my mother has anything to do with it), Jeff Bridges has a Crazy Heart, and Sean Penn gives another annoyingly political acceptance speech. Sean buddy, run for office already or get off the stage, I am trying to figure out Tilda Swinton's dress and you are blocking my eye line. The aughts are an award-winning decade in the Awkward household too, as they bring us Super Preschooler and the long awaited graduation of Dr. Awkward Dad. Where is my Oscar? I have some folks I would like to thank.
The 2010 Oscars gave Colin Firth the lead actor award for stuttering, and the 2011 Oscars gave Jean Dujardin the lead actor award for not talking at all. 2010 gave Super Preschooler a brother, 2011 gave him a sister, our move to Ann Arbor gave him some good friends willing to act in his opuses (opi?), and now he is ready for his close-ups, Mr. DeMille. There is no other leading actor that I want to share my stage/screen/home with. Super Preschooler is the best kind of lead actor; generous, vivacious, brimming with energy and creativity. Playing with him only enhances your own abilities, only serves to make you a better actor/person/mother. Is he a bit of a drama king with a tendency to chew the scenery and poof you with stone roses? Yes, but so is Al Pacino. Go watch Scent of a Woman and try to refute me. You'll have to trust me on the stone roses. Nothing wrong with a little drama, and Super Preschooler adds plenty to our life here at Awkward Manor. He also adds more than his share of glitter, sequins, and accessories, but there is nothing wrong with a little fabulous overdoing either. And know this, whenever Super Preschooler wins his award (and he will win one, that is totally a foregone conclusion), I will be proudly beaming and probably crying when he thanks me. Oh, he'll thank me. They always thank the mother.
Trust her on that one too, the woman watches enough award shows to know the script. Also, much love and thanks to Awesome Mom, who has arranged it so that Awkward Mom and Awkward Grandma will be watching the 85th Academy Awards in the same room. This hasn't happened in over 10 years and shall be amazingly snarky and delicious on so many levels. Clam dip level, for starters. Fasten your seatbelts, Readers. Oh, you know the rest....
How Awkward Mom usually looks Oscar night; dolled up and on the phone with her mom. This year, we are considering a Lincoln theme, complete with hoop skirts and stovetop hats, or we might just raid Super P.'s jewelry box instead. We'll let ya know after Sunday!