Oscars 2011 – Watching the frocks on the red carpet and the coyotes on the fairway

With the Oscars almost upon us, preparations for the big day are gathering pace. Over in Hollywood, they’ve already unrolled the red carpet and stars and their stylists are getting their looks just right. Meanwhile, we here in Movie Talk tower are making our final preparations to ensure we’re ready to stay up all night to cover the ceremony live. Which makes us extremely envious of our friend Ron Turner over in Southern California, who recounts here the far more relaxed way he and his wife Sue are preparing for the Oscars broadcast.

Looking out of our living room windows over our wonderfully green golf course and across the San Andres Fault, the sun begins to set on the beautiful treeless Chocolate Mountains, and I notice a coyote running by with the neighbor’s Chihuahua in its mouth…

My wife Sue and I live in La Quinta, California. La Quinta in Spanish translates: “hot air balloons over olive trees”. This desert city is only a two-hour drive from Hollywood and is home to many of Hollywood’s rich and famous. The attraction to this area for these well-heeled is the 360 days of sunshine, tennis, golf, polo and the Betty Ford Center for drug addiction [stay two months and get the third month free.]

We are typical American movie lovers. A few times a month we happily hop in our car, drive 5 miles and spend $7.25 per ticket [senior discount] and $11.69 for a number 1 combo extra-large popcorn [one free refill] and extra large drink. Some theatres offer better popcorn than others so we select our movies based on popcorn quality rather than an R or X rating of the movie. With soft drink and popcorn in hand we gorge ourselves for the next 1.5 hours enjoying Hollywood’s best and sometimes worst efforts.

Given the above background the once per year Oscars offers us an opportunity to relive those golden popcorn moments over the past 12 months. Living in Southern California there is no time delay in the television broadcast of this year’s 83rd Oscars. The TV viewing starts at 3pm with red-carpet arrivals of all guests. I hope it does not rain? The formal Oscar broadcast begins live at 5pm.

Having little interest in what people are wearing nor caring who is with whom, Sue and I pay little attention to the two-hour red carpet presentation. I would guess my snowbound friends in the Northern and Eastern States will watch. In February most of these folks are dizzy from lack of sunshine and stay inside to avoid the snow and cold. Cabin fever is the only reason anyone would watch Joan Rivers on the red carpet.

Unlike sports fans who gather at our local Beer Hunter Sports Bar, drinking themselves into the ground while watching their favourite sports team ion 10 TV screens, Sue and I are spending a casual evening alone in front of our 60″ hi-definition TV as the Oscars are presented. We will snack on a little Napa Valley 1998 Trefethen cabernet sauvignon with Dublin Irish aged cheese before we break open a box of microwave popcorn and get down to serious Oscar viewing. It does not get any better? With hi-def TV little is missed. Throughout the presentation we enjoy pointing out poorly capped teeth, female mustachios, exposed chest hair and tears of those non-winners. Viewing Hollywood’s rich and famous during their weak moments is a sport unto itself.

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