To prepare for Monday night’s Oscar broadcast you could warm up your voice so you don’t go hoarse yelling “Oh, the horror!” for every one of the 14 awards “Titanic” does/doesn’t (choose one) win. Or… you could get into the festive mood by renting past films that have scenes set at the Oscars, scenes more memorable than any that have occurred at recent ceremonies. But before you head down to the video store, remember: They’re all winners.
“A Star Is Born” (1954) In the middle of Judy Garland’s Best Actress acceptance speech, her husband, a drunken James Mason, stumbles onstage to plead to his peers for more attention. Sadly, teenagers who watch the film today will think Mason copied this award-show-crashing scene from Ol’ Dirty Bastard.
“The Oscar” (1966) In this camp classic, a misanthropic best-actor nominee (Stephen Boyd) secretly feeds information about his sordid past to the press, hoping Academy members will assume his co-nominees leaked the dirt and vote for him out of pity. It’s a wonder this film hasn’t spawned more conspiracy theories about Woody Allen’s recent nominations.
“The Bodyguard” (1992) The tense climax of this love story, with best actress nominee Whitney Houston being stalked at the Oscars, depicts many Hollywood watchers’ worst fear: What if Robert “Arliss” Wuhl ended up emceeing the Academy Awards? Bodyguard Kevin Costner wouldn’t be the only person hurling himself in the path of a bullet.
“Naked Gun 33 1/3” (1994) Infiltrating the Academy Awards to stop a mad bomber, buffoonish undercover cop Leslie Nielsen ends up at the podium, lecturing the audience on how dolphins should be fed to cats to leave more tuna for people’s consumption. How ridiculous! Everyone knows that you’re forbidden to kill dolphins now that they’ve appeared with Leo DiCaprio in “Titanic.”
“Private Parts” (1997) There’s one good thing about Howard Stern’s cheek-less Fartman suit, which he wears in a fantasy sequence while descending from the rafters to accept his Best Actor statue: It would finally render style-snobs Joan and Melissa Rivers speechless.