Sunday, February 25, 2007


For years now, our friend Daniel has been working heroically to debunk the myth that the audience for the Oscars is a billion people:

But the worldwide audience for the Oscars isn’t even close to a billion, as a little common sense makes plain. In the United States, 43.5 million people watched the show last year. That’s a lot, but it’s 956.5 million short of a billion. Can the show really pick up that many viewers in countries that most of the films and people being honored are not from, and where the speeches are in a language that most of the population does not speak?
Maybe. We can't promise that other countries will pull their weight - I'm looking at you, India - but we're pretty sure you can add 107 million Mexicans to the tonight's tally. Mexicans, or their films, are nominated for an unprecedented 16 awards, and while we're too young to remember the Apollo 11 moon landing very clearly, the sense of national pride and acomplishement was probably something approaching what's happening here in Mexico.

Despite being just a couple hours drive from Hollywood, Mexico has, by our (possibly incorrect) count just five Oscars in the national trophy cabinet; and two of those are, let's face it, bullshit, since they belong to Anthony Quinn, who was born in Chihuahua but moved to the US when he was four years old. Two more went to a single short documentary in 1972 - the producer of which is still alive and all over the press this month. The following year, Gonzalo Gavira won Best Sound Effects for The Exorcist. His death in 2005 - the death of a sound effects guy who won an award three decades earlier - was front-page news. If anyone out there can name any other winner in the Best Sound Effects category without resorting to Google or actually having been the winner of the Best Sound Effects category yourself, we will come to your house and cook you dinner. So, given the odds against an 0-for-16 shutout (Pan's Labyrinth is the heavy favorite for Best Foreign Language Film), we've decided to move the car to a guarded lot for the night.

The one (Update: make that two - Children of Men's Emmanuel Lubezki is also Mexican) Mexican Oscarnaut we want to see crash and burn is Best Cinematography nominee Guillermo Navarro (Pan's Labyrinth). Nothing personal, but he's up against our friend (in the Hollywood sense; we haven't actually seen him in seven years) Wally Pfister (The Prestige, which isn't even available in bootleg form down here). Wally may be a two-time (Batman Begins, last year) Academy Award-Nominated cinematographer now, but back when his fee was more reasonable he was the cameraman on a few documentaries we produced for PBS. That's him filming in our basement in 1995 (left), and in a much more recent photo, modeling a Theory blazer and shirt and DKNY jeans.

But lest you think he's gone all Hollywood on us, he still says the best part of working on The Prestige was "getting to meet David Bowie." How can you not love a guy like that, even if he's failed to get you Oscar tickets two years running?


7:40pm: Okay, not sure why it didn't occur to us that the ceremony would not be broadcast in English, but it's just excruciating. You know that kind of monotone simultaneous translation you get when CNN pulls in a bin Laden video from al-Jazeera? We've got four hours of that to go.

7:49: And the first award of the night goes to Mexico! We're running up the street to slip the parking lot attendant 200 pesos.

7:56: And the second award of the night goes to Mexico! Fuck it, we've always hated that car.

9:00: The TV Azteca team is anchoring from a studio remote studio, where the hosts are apparently obligated to hold up and plug the sponsors' products - Diet Coke, Listerine, DHL, etc. There's even a local sponsor, a fast food chain called Haz Sandwich, which makes a foot-tall "Tower of Babel" special. Wicked classy.

9:14: Guillermo Navarro. Bah! It's just a stupid popularity contest.

9:33: Cate Blanchett: And the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film goes to...
TV Azteca Hostess: This is it! This is it! El momento! El momento!
Cate Blanchett:...Germany!
TV Azteca Hostess: [Stunned silence.]


radosh said...

I predict a Lives of Others upset. Brace yourselves for riots.

Anonymous said...

Yah think they'll ask Al Gore to plant his hands (or whatever they do) in a box on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (or whatever they call it)? Are W and Condi now behind closed doors working on a script? Is Dick, armed and dangerous, lurking behind the penguin house at the Washington Zoo?

radosh said...


Burro Hall said...

You da man. I'm guessing the Academy's voting members were afraid their gardeners and maids wouldn't show up for work Monday morning. Anyway, people here are too defeated to riot. That's why I love these guys - the four Oscars they won are completely overshadowed by the 12 they lost. Glass three-quarters empty.

Did you catch noted braniac Al Gore referring to the billion people watching? He always was an exaggerator.

Anonymous said...

Haz Sandwich is Bimbo Bakery

Burro Hall said...

It sure is.