By: Tanya Ward Goodman
Instead of hobnobbing with the celebs while wearing a floor length gown, I spent Oscar night curled on the couch with my kids. Thanks to the wonders of DVR technology, we fast-forwarded through the red carpet chatter for a quick review of the dresses. Cate Blanchett’s fashion-forward lavender number was deemed by my son “too bumpy,” while Matthew McConaghey and his date were scorned by the under ten set for looking “haunted.”
“His clothes are too black,” my daughter said. “And his face is too red.”
Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban were “too black and too white” and Robert Downey Jr. was chided for having “shiny shoes.” Gwyneth was a hit in her Malibu Barbie get-up, as was Reese (same doll, different era).
When the actual ceremony started, we settled in with ballots in hand. Of all the nominees, my kids have only seen “Toy Story 3” but, because my son likes any sort of competition, he’d very seriously filled out his ballot, taking into account every newspaper ad, bus stop poster, and glimpsed commercial in his memory before making careful choices. My daughter’s choices were based on her own set of guidelines. For instance, she chose “Salt” to win for achievement in Sound Mixing because she likes salt. “Dogtooth,” because she likes dogs and the short “God of Love” because she likes love (though not “kissy-kissy” love). For best Original Screenplay, she wrote in “Fluffy Bunnies”.
Though this year’s show was designed to appeal to a younger audience, at the end of thirty minutes, my extremely young audience still wondered “is it the middle of the night yet?”
The acceptance speeches were generally a bore for the kids.
“Don’t they have scripts?” my son asked. “Or do they just talk and talk and talk?”
My daughter was more to the point. “This is just boring, horrible, terrifying, and mean.”
Despite their complaints, both children were (as I always was) determined to last through the whole thing. For them, as for me when I was their age, watching the Oscars is a kind of sign that you are growing up.
In the clip montage, when Colin Firth was shown weeping, my daughter asked, “Who is that? Because the fake crying he’s doing is horrible.”
“That’s what they call special effects,” my son replied.
They were, however, delighted when the Englishman took home his (well deserved) statuette because they had both checked his box on their ballots.
My husband and I used to watch the awards show in bed while drinking champagne. It was a good tradition that is nice to remember and currently impossible to recreate. New traditions are beginning. Watching the Oscars with the kids was fun and funny.
As the show ended, the youthful hosts popped out for one last hurrah with an even more youthful chorus. My daughter watched with a smile as her peers sang on stage and then leveled a more critical eye at Ms. Hathaway.
“I like her dress,” she said, “but the boobs are too big.”
Then, wearing zip-up, fuzzy-footed pajamas, she climbed the stairs to bed.
[Photo credit: freakgirl]