Oscar Night

By: Tanya Ward Goodman

This year’s award for most enduring bad mood goes to my daughter. She seems determined to sweep the categories for deepest scowl without the employment of a makeup crew, loudest door slam without the assistance of a Foley artist, and most dramatic performance of the phrase, “You are the worst mother ever.”

Oscar night found us with more Sturm und Drang in our house than on the screen all year long.

I’m not sure why it is this way. I’m not sure how to change it. I am feeling a bit defeated and powerless and, above all that, tired to the bone.

It started out fine. (Just as everything was fine when that poor family moved to Amityville.) We worked on a themed menu for dinner: pigs in a blanket in honor of “Moneyball,” brie, pate and baguette in tribute to “The Artist” and “Hugo” (though with all the Brits in Scorsese’s Paris, perhaps we should have gone with tea and scones). We had deviled eggs and pie for those belabored gals in “The Help.” My daughter selected artichokes and made a salad of spinach and strawberries. It was fun. For a minute.

Then it wasn’t.

We didn’t eat the salad fast enough or apparently with the desired amount of excitement. (Though it was very good. Perhaps we need an acting coach to work on our line readings for this very particular director.)

Though we repeated over and over that the ballots were only for fun, feelings were hurt when my kids guessed wrong. (How could they be right all the time when they’d only seen one of the films in the contest? Considering their answer in every category was “Hugo,” they still did pretty well.)

To complicate things, my daughter was awake one minute and the next asleep. It was a lovely and quiet interlude. She looked adorable wrapped in a blanket on the sofa. Her face, relaxed from its perpetual furrowed fury, was angelic.

And then she woke up.

“This is the worst day of my life,” she said. “You kept going without me.”

We did keep going. We had to. We were as determined as Billy Crystal to keep this evening on schedule. Bedtime was at nine and the Academy helped us by ending the glittery doings just a few minutes before the witching hour.

My daughter, like perhaps a starlet or two, slept last night in her clothes. She woke this morning with bleary eyes and turned immediately to the paper. “Who won?” she asked. “What happened?”

I was not exactly sure how to answer.

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Tanya Ward Goodman

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