Oscar Buzz

It was obvious that something was up the second I stepped into the lounge and saw Chandra Chakravarthi and Sarah Miller conferring with Baxter at the bar.

“Fancy finger foods and cocktails that look as good as they taste,” Sarah was saying.

Sarah Miller

“I’m sure I could prepare a suitable theme drink for the occasion,” Baxter offered.

“Yes, but champagne is a must,” Chandra insisted.  “It makes you feel like you’re actually there celebrating with the stars.”

“The usual?” Baxter asked me as I joined them.

“Please.  What’s going on?”

“We’re planning The Cobalt Club Oscars Night Party,” Chandra said.

Chandra Chakravarthi

“We’re having an Oscars party?”

Sarah gave me an irritated look.  “Plug in, will you?”  She turned back to Chandra.  “And we gotta have those chocolates that are shaped like tiny Oscars, the ones Chef Marcel made last year.”

“Right.  I have a huge sweet tooth, so I would also suggest Oscar-shaped sugar cookies, tuxedo chocolate-covered strawberries, and cupcakes and cake pops covered in edible glitter — yes, Baxter, there is such a thing —  for some pizzazz.”

“And for those of us who are not hypoglycemic?” I asked.

“Covered,” Sarah said.  “Chandra’s setting up a popcorn bar.”

I sipped Bacardi and Dr Pepper.  “Decorations?”

“Black and gold.  Everything will be shiny and sparkly.”

“Have you two made your predictions yet?”

Chandra nodded.  “They weren’t too hard this year.  Only one category was a toss-up.”

“Having seen none of the nominated movies, my predictions were a total craps shoot,” Sarah said as she accepted a Screaming Viking from the bartender.  “I decided on my strategy after talking with my boyfriend Allan.  My boyfriend Allan told me something that was very helpful.  My boyfriend Allan said that Lincoln would clean house at the Academy Awards.  My boyfriend Allan…”

I couldn’t take it anymore.  “We get it, Sarah.”  I turned around to the room.  “Does everybody get it?”

“Sarah has a boyfriend, and his name is Allan,” the loungers replied in unison.

“As I was saying,” the artist said, directing a more irritated look at me this time, “my strategy was to pick nominees from each category that were from Lincoln.”

“You chose Lincoln just because of what your boyfriend told you?” Chandra asked.

“Not just for that reason.  I did watch the trailer for Lincoln. It looked really good, so I feel like I made some solid decisions.  Besides, any project involving Joseph Gordon Levitt gets my vote.”

“Do you agree with Sarah about Lincoln as Best Picture?” I asked Chandra.

“No.  Initially, when I heard about Lincoln and that Daniel Day-Lewis was going to be portraying him, I immediately assumed that it would be a strong contender and would probably sweep all the award shows. I haven’t seen it because I don’t have the patience to sit through films that are almost three hours long, but I heard it was a snooze fest.  I think Argo is the frontrunner, but if it were my choice, I’d give the golden statue to either Les Mis or Silver Linings Playbook. I absolutely loved those films and the casts.”

“Sarah’s giving the Best Actor nod to Daniel-Day Lewis,” I said.  “Are you?”

“Grumpily, yes.  I don’t even understand why anyone else was nominated.  I heard that his portrayal of Lincoln was so magnetic you feel like you’re watching Lincoln himself. He’s such a selective actor, and he knows how to pick films that gain critical acclaim.”

“Okay.  Suppose he hadn’t been nominated.  Who would win?”

“Hugh Jackman,” Chandra said without hesitation.  “He probably had a solid chance because his performance in Les Mis was superb, and after reading about the grueling process and preparation for this role, you can’t help but admire his dedication and passion to the craft. The same can be said for the rest of the Les Mis cast.”

“Best Supporting Actress?  Sarah, you’re going with…”

“Sally Field, for Lincoln.”

“Right.  And Chandra, you’re choosing…”

“Anne Hathaway.  Again, why was anyone else even nominated?  She was getting Oscar buzz back when she was just cast for Les Mis.”

“I didn’t see Les Mis, but doesn’t…”

A gasp came from behind the bar.  “How could you not see Les Mis?” the bartender scolded.  “That film is an amazing spectacle.  The production value alone…”

“Sorry, Baxter, but I dislike motion pictures in which the characters are prone to break out into song at any given time.  But doesn’t Anne Hathaway’s character die early on in the film?”

“Yes, but for the short time she is on screen, she is absolutely flawless, and she killed that number ‘I Dreamed a Dream.’ I think making that movie was probably an emotional rollercoaster for some of these actors, and I respect them for that. She also went through a lot of preparation for this role, and I always admire people who go to extreme measures to really immerse themselves, even though I think they are crazy for going to such extreme lengths.”

“You said she’s been getting Oscar buzz for a good while now,” Sarah said.  “Did she live up to the hype?”

“I know there is a lot of backlash and eye-rolling because she has won every award and is probably getting on everyone’s nerves with her acceptance speeches, but I can’t think of any other actress who could have done justice to that role. She’s proven that she is a versatile actress, and multi-talented. She’s come a long way from Princess Mia in The Princess Diaries. I also respect her because she hasn’t felt obligated to design a clothing line, launch a silly fragrance, or release an album. She’s just stuck to her craft.”

“Best Supporting Actor?” I prompted.

“Tommy Lee Jones,” Sarah answered.

“Agreed,” Chandra said, “although you could justify any of the five winning here. All of these nominees are already Oscar winners. I would like Robert De Niro to win only because I loved Silver Linings Playbook,” and I want that movie to win as many awards as they can. The same goes for Les Mis.”

“Best Actress?”

“Since that’s the only category that didn’t have nominee from Lincoln, I picked Quvenzhané Wallis,” Sarah said.  “I think it would be amazing for an actress to win an Academy Award for something as huge as Best Actress at such a young age.”

“Chandra?”

“I’m really rooting for Jennifer Lawrence to win. Yes, she is young and has all the time in the world to win an Oscar unlike Emmanuele Riva…”

“That’s cold,” Baxter said quietly.

“Well, no offense, but the woman is 85 years old.  I’m not sure if this is Jennifer Lawrence’s best role to date because I haven’t seen that many of her movies and I’m sure she’ll be nominated again in the future, but there is just something about her that makes her so likeable and genuine.”

“As opposed to the artificial publicist-coached celebrity?” I asked.

“I think so.  Maybe it’s the fact that she doesn’t have a filter and just says whatever pops into her head, which, let me tell you, makes for hilarious interviews.  Just watch them for yourself. She’s hysterical.  She just seems like a good role model for young people because she is so down-to-earth and unpretentious.”

“So that just leaves us with Best Director.”

Sarah looked at Chandra.  “Spielberg?”

“Since Best Director usually goes hand-in-hand with Best Picture, and Ben Affleck was shut out in this category, I think Steven Spielberg will take home the statue. He let the story and the actors carry the film. I had actually forgotten he directed Lincoln. I’m accustomed to his movies being loaded with lots of visual effects and mediocre story lines.”

“Will the party include a predictions contest?” I asked.

The girls looked at each other again.  “A contest,” Sarah said.  “That’s a great idea.  I wouldn’t mind being in charge of that.  We could come up with a prize…”

“And swag bags!” Chandra exclaimed.  “Of course, they won’t contain $62,000 worth of gifts, but I’m sure we could come up with something nice.  Got your iPhone?”

“Sure.  Why?”

“Pull up Pinterest.  Who doesn’t refer to Pinterest for inspiration?”

It was time for me to go.

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