Maybe Woody Allen tributes don’t go so well with ‘Mr. Rogers’ and ‘Ding Dong School’ - The Buffalo News

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Maybe Woody Allen tributes don’t go so well with ‘Mr. Rogers’ and ‘Ding Dong School’

Somewhere in a Woody Allen movie that none of us has ever seen, there is a nastily hilarious scene in which an actress sometimes known for “having had entirely too much therapy” pays tribute at a duncey award show to a former lover who’s a brilliant film auteur renowned for both sophisticated wit and reclusiveness.

In this Allen movie that none of us has seen, her tribute to her old lover – not too bad until its coda – ends with a final a capella musical declaration of fealty to her old friend. “Make new friends,” she sings, sounding like Mr. Rogers or Frances Horwich on “Ding Dong School” in TV’s Jurassic Age, “but keep the old/One is silver and the other gold.”

In that wicked, wicked Allen movie, there is a quick cut to the reclusive film master watching the spectacle at home with his wife. His jaw drops to his lap at the infantilism of his old friend, lover and co-star. His wife smirkingly congratulates her husband on his decision to never show up at an award show.

Then again, maybe all of that didn’t happen in a Woody Allen movie that none of us has ever seen. Maybe some of it actually happened when the Golden Globes gave their Cecil B. DeMille Award to Allen on Sunday evening – an intrinsically hilarious juxtaposition of film names right there, eminently suitable for a gag in an Allen movie – and Diane Keaton had to accept it for him because Allen would probably rather listen to his ex Mia Farrow have more public wistful memories of her ex-husband Frank Sinatra than attend an award show.

I’m sure there are those who loved Keaton’s song. I hope poor Allen was otherwise occupied when it was on.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globes can be taken seriously only to this degree: It’s an effort by some people who are: a) foreign and b) often clueless to read the Hollywood zeitgeist as award season progresses toward the Oscars, the only movie awards that really matter.

The news on Sunday’s Globes was good, which means no one sang Mr. Rogers or “Ding Dong School” ditties. The Best Picture Oscar now definitely seems to come down to David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” vs. Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave,” the two best picture (comedy and drama) winners. My reaction to that is that I’m fine, just fine with it, which ever way it goes.

“American Hustle,” is, by far, the more likely but if somehow there are enough Hollywoodians persuaded by historical imperatives, I’d be delighted with an Oscar ceremony that makes spiritual reparations to Black America for an American film history actually capable of enshrining in its pantheon the hideous racism of both D.W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation” and Selznick/Fleming/Mitchell/Cukor’s “Gone With the Wind.” Recognizing “12 Years a Slave” as a Best Picture Oscar winner would do all of that.

The next important – and genuinely significant – event in what has turned into the major award progress toward Oscar night is Thursday’s announcement of Oscar nominees. And then, right afterward, Saturday’s Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards where we all find out what’s on the actors’ minds. (And they, after all, comprise the largest Motion Picture Academy voting bloc.)

And that’s where Sunday’s most surprising winner – Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyer’s Club” – is ready to go on a roll. He is likely to gather even more clout at the SAG’s. Nothing is likely to please other actors more than an actor decisively redeeming his reputation by completely committing himself (to the tune of a 47-pound weight loss) to a powerful film about the early days of AIDS, when the losses to the dramatic and film community were at their most harrowing.

That’s where McConaughey from now on may have the decisive Best Actor advantage over Chewitel Ejiofor for “12 Years a Slave,” as fine as he was.

The narrower and more recent historical imperative is likely to triumph – mostly because superb actor Ejiofor is British, not a Texas Good Old Boy like McConaughey having a career-redeeming year.

Again, in any Ejifor vs. McConaughey, I’m peachy which ever way the Oscar goes. It’s an honorable, defensible award either way. Leonardo DiCaprio, for all the 500-horsepower wildness of his performance in “The Wolf of Wall Street” isn’t a SAG nominee.

His Golden Globe acceptance speech was good but someone should have given all presenters a pronunciation sheet beforehand so that he’d know that the name of the movie starring Dame Judi Dench was “Philomena” (Fill-Oh-Meen-Ah) and not “Philomania.” (The love of people named Phil, I suppose. Perhaps DiCaprio is a Philip Roth or Dr. Phil fan.)

In the future, the Hollywood Foreign Press should 1) keep Tina Fey and Amy Poehler; 2) give them a lot more to do; and 3) seat award winners at tables where we don’t have absurdities like the “Frozen” table being 15 feet from the stage microphone while early evening winner Jacqueline Bissett’s table was located somewhere in Bakersfield, necessitating a near-record hike to get her prize.

By the time she got up there, she forgot what she was up there for.

Hey, in her age group we can relate.


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