Thursday, 4 March 2010

The BAH!scars #9: Dead Person Popularity Contest

Up to now, I’ve speculated and weighed in on quite a few categories and awards. But there is one I have not mentioned: The Dead Person Popularity Contest.

For those of you who are not Oscar savvy, the Dead Person Popularity Contest is the part of the Awards show where they “pay tribute to those who have left us in the past year” and some people stay to hear who gets the loudest applause but most people go to the bathroom, get some chips, or make themselves another Inglourious Cocktail, Avatarita, or Hurt Locker Car Bomb. They are fools. This race is the tensest one of any year.

Sure, there may be 10 Best Picture nominees, but there are dozens of contenders for this space! Furthermore, you never know who will win. One acclaimed director may seem to be zombie-walking away with this prize only for a beloved actress to snatch it from his cold dead hands. Obviously, I can’t weigh in on everyone who died this year. Some I’m not even sure will get mentioned in the telecast. Will Billy Mays manically smile at us on Oscar night? Will they honor one of final Munchkins to bite the Yellow Brick Dust, Mickey Carroll? What about pornographic thespians; is Jack Wrangler worthy of the Academy’s attention?

Sadly, I was forced to narrow it down to nine people. I won’t get scientific (or pseudo-scientific) with it; merely just give some thoughts and speculations.

Patrick Swayze

This guy is, in my opinion, the current favorite for the winner. He died semi-young, valiantly, and tragically. He was pretty, he was well-liked, and he’s most associated with younger, innocent roles like those in “Dirty Dancing.”

Who to cut to after picture is shown:
his wife.

Michael Jackson

While MJ won 2009’s Dead Person Popularity Contest (perhaps the whole decade’s), this ceremony will leave him empty-handed. Hollywood looks after its own. Jackson may have been in a great music video/mini-movie and had a walk-on in Men in Black II, but he’s not an actor.

Who to cut to after picture is shown: the cast of Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire…as they will be the only other black people in the room.

Natasha Richardson

This poor girl looked like an early hopeful for the winner of the contest last March, right when the new season of contenders opened up. I remember thinking upon her passing that I might finally be able to make fun of Heath Ledger without getting a “too soon.” Little did we all know that the Summer of Death was to follow and she would just be a brief memory come fall, let alone Oscar time. She’ll get some applause, mostly out of guilt from forgetting her, but she’s just like Up in the Air is for best picture: she peaked too soon.

Who to cut to after picture is shown:
Liam Neeson, or perhaps her kids. Slight chance of Vanessa Redgrave

David Carradine

Considering how he died, I wonder what the reaction to him will be. His death seemed one of the quickest ones to joke about and (since he was never that prestigious or iconic of a star) I doubt the guests will hold him in all too much reverence. There will be some polite clapping, but that’s all they will muster.

Who to cut to after picture is shown: Quentin Tarantino

Ed McMahon

There will be a brief pause as people try to remember who he is, followed by much louder applause than warranted to atone for the prior lacuna in sound.

Who to cut to after picture is shown: some random D-List celebrity. Or maybe they’ll go all out and have Kathy Griffin appear just so they can cut to her after him.

Farah Fawcett

Ah, the girl who turned the death of Ed McMahon (and the earlier one of Carradine) into an epidemic of celebrity deaths. Her glamor and tragic death should have her in Patrick Swayze territory (or at least close), but unfortunately, she’s now most famous for being upstaged by the King of Pop.

Who to cut to after picture is shown:
let’s just hope they cut to someone instead of going straight to MJ.

John Hughes

He will receive a decent applause, but probably less than one would expect. This disappointment will most likely be due to the fact that he became a bit of a recluse for the past two decades and he is most remembered for pieces of 80s kitsch (and while Swayze will get more of the idealization from the nostalgia, he’ll get more of the derision and mockery in people’s heads). But he was quite a successful writer and director, so while there is still some good clapping in his future.

Who to cut to after picture is shown:
Molly Ringwald or perhaps some young teeny bopper actress who has no clue who this man is.

Bea Arthur

She’ll get standard “old dead person” applause. Reverent of her long career, but realizing that her death was not all that great of a surprise and it’s not like she was expected to do anything else of note. Unless she could’ve guest starred on SNL as well.

Who to cut to after picture is shown: PLEASE have Betty White be at the Oscars!

Brittany Murphy

“Do I clap? Didn’t she OD? Wait, she didn’t? Are you sure? Okay, then I should clap. Are other people clapping? Would it be too much if I joined in? Well, some people are clapping. Clueless was good. I should probably commend that. And she was in Sin City, right? Was I in Sin City? I think so. I got a check. Or that might’ve been for a re-airing of a Simpsons episode I was on. Man, everyone was in Sin City. It’s like Valentine’s Day but with hookers and severed hands. Granted, I didn’t see Valentine’s Day. Maybe it does have hookers in it after all.”

Who to cut to after picture is shown: the next trashy girl to kick the bucket. It’ll be the camera cut of DOOM!

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