The Oscars According to Scowl


Fifteen year-old Scowl agreed to watch The Academy Awards, this past Sunday, not because he has a particular fascination with celebrity fashion or because he put money down on the wins; my son was simply in it for the sociability.

And the pleading of a case. As cynically critical as adults can be about the plethora of navel- gazing award shows blanketing prime-time in Winter, our opinions are like saccharine compliments compared to the cinematic parsing of a teenage boy.

“Who’s that old dude, Mom?” Scowl asked. “What’s he been in?”

“Did you ever watch ‘The Sound of Music’?”

“Only the parts you made me see,” said Scowl.

“Well, he played the father. He’s an excellent actor – and he’s Canadian, too,” I said, pulling out my flag.

“Really?” said Scowl. “Then why is he speaking with a British accent?”

I was silenced. And speaking of which . . .

“If that movie, “The Artist” wins, I swear I am never watching this show again.”

Not completely in disagreement, I asked Scowl why. “Because why would anybody make a silent movie when they can make it with sound?” asked my son. “The only reason they made silent movies back in your day is because sound wasn’t available! It’s ridiculous. “And, what’s with the black and white? Seriously, we’ve had colour for over fifty years. Who wants to watch newsprint, Mom? It’s old-fashioned.”

That’s the point, I want to tell him, but part of me wonders. Is “The Artist” a complete original depiction of a wonderful era in film-making or a pretentious re-invention of false authenticity? Judging by the awards it garnered, the “powers that be” seem to believe it’s the former, but who are those people? Is anybody truly qualified to sway personal opinion?

As the evening waxed on, Scowl persisted with his commentary. I probably would have succumbed to sleep around time the “Best Foreign Film” award was announced if my son hadn’t deviously postulated that Iran only won because the Americans covet their oil and are prepared to suck up in any way possible. He also kept questioning why so many film editors and producers thanked their children. “What did they do for the movie?” he asked. “Puke all over Daddy’s shirt before he left for work?”

My son is too young to fully comprehend that kids are inspirational as their very existence makes us happy, makes us want to be better, stronger, and in my case, funnier – because Scowl cracks me up seventeen times every day.

Of Meryl Streep’s win for Best Actress, Scowl was glad and almost philosophical. “Good that she won, Mom. I know it’s been a long time for her and maybe now that she earned this award for playing a dull, old British woman with no sense of humour, she’ll relax and go back to making movies that matter like ‘The Devil Wears Prada’.”

‘That’s all,’ he added in his best Miranda Priestly impersonation.

I smirked.

When “The Artist” won Best Picture of the Year, Scowl threw up his hands in disgust and stomped off to bed with the righteous indignation only a fifteen year old occasional movie-goer can affect. “I am done,” he announced. “Never again,” he reiterated. “Mom, really. ‘The Fast and the Furious 5’ wasn’t even nominated and this boring, silent, colourless thing wins? I just wasted three hours of my life!”

And I had just enjoyed three of the most entertaining of mine – no thanks to the telecast.

I am certain that Scowl, with his lopsided grin that accompanies each opinion, is well aware that “The Artist” is probably more accomplished than a formulaic action film. I am also willing to wager that my kid will never watch “The Artist” unless it’s compulsory in Grade Twelve Cinematic Studies. If truth is in action, my teenage son lives life like he’s permanently under oath.

Word to his mother.

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