I spent the better part of the Oscars wondering if there was a fashion conspiracy at hand. One by one, female starlets stepped onto the red carpet and the Swarovski-bedazzled Kodak Theatre stage in what looked like drag queen-ready mermaid costumes. Miley Cyrus traipsed between the velvet ropes in her scalloped prom gown with barnacles glittering on the edges, Beyonce busted any myths about the existence of giant squids with her black and gold sushi boat number and Sophia Loren floated about wrapped in some sort of ocean foam found on the Jersey shore. Even Tina Fey looked like she needed a triton. It was as if all the fashion designers had gotten together, and the head of their secret society, probably Donatella Versace or Kathy Lee Gifford, said, ‘Maybe if all of our dresses are ugly, no one will have to be on the worst-dressed list.”
It was a great joke, but I went to bed before the punchline came, when Kate Winslet’s detachable tentacles enveloped her and her new little gold man. My friends complained at my exit, saying I would miss the montage with all of the movies no one’s ever heard of and seeing Jessica Biel wear the same burlap sack Ariel wore in ‘The Little Mermaid.’
What my friends didn’t know is that I retreated to my bedroom because the Oscars were ruining my future moviegoing experiences. I had only seen a fraction of the nominated films, the most notable being ‘Kung Fu Panda’ and ‘Hellboy II.’ Therefore, all of the five-second clips, glorified instrumental scores and Hugh Jackman’s musical numbers were giving away the plot lines to movies I hadn’t yet seen but planned to someday when I remembered to add them to my Netflix queue. I removed myself from a situation that would have been hazardous to my enjoyment of the films.
As I sat in my quarters contemplating my fingernails, I heard my roommates Tim and Ellie excitedly conversing while Ryan Seacrest’s incoherent post-show rabble played quietly in the background. They were talking about past Oscar winners and possible future ones. Naturally the subject turned to ‘Harry Potter.’
Ellie quickly stated that she needed to read the final ‘Harry Potter’ book before she sees any more of the ‘HP’ movies. Tim, perhaps thinking he was doing her a favor, interrupted her and said she need not read the book because he could tell her the end. And then he did, leaving Ellie near tears and leaving me free of 1,000 pages of laborious reading.
Ellie was still mad in the morning. She scrambled her eggs with obvious rage and loudly declared that all people who ruin endings to movies, books, TV series or YouTube videos belong in a certain circle of hell. Tim has failed to apologize to Ellie or myself for giving away ‘-‘- not one, but many ‘-‘- devastating endings of the final ‘Harry Potter’ novel. I was tired of waiting for this apology so I ate his pack of Twizzlers to make us even, but Ellie’s fierce silent treatment has yet to be broken.
I was a little upset that Tim ruined ‘Harry Potter’ for me, much like I was upset that Anne Hathaway ruined ‘Frost/Nixon’ for me, but I never considered that there was malice to the act of spoiling an ending. I thought of all the times I’d seen romance movies that are obviously not comedies and I’d yell at the screen ‘She’s going to die.’ I never meant to hurt anyone, but after seeing Ellie’s pure hatred of Tim, I see there are different levels to this sin.’
I can claim innocent outburst, but there is a certain satanic quality in people who go around blabbing the ending to ‘The Sixth Sense’ or ‘The Departed.’ But, like I said, there are always exceptions. For instance, I would have very much appreciated someone telling me that ‘I Am Legend’ was a movie about zombies. All I knew before entering the theater was that it was about Will Smith as a single man in New York City. I figured it was somewhere along the lines of ‘Hitch 2,’ but the second I saw that dog, and I got the urge to yell ‘She’s going to die’ at the screen, I knew it was not going to be an enjoyable event.
Tim argued that Ellie had literally had years to read ‘Harry Potter’ so she shouldn’t be mad that she was finding out the ending to a cultural phenomenon so late after its publication. Sure, I’d had plenty of time to see the Oscar-nominated films before the big day, but you can’t rush art absorption. I would hope that despite my tardiness, I can still be moved by Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance in ‘Titanic,’ Eddie Murphy’s performance in ‘Dreamgirls’ or Hulk Hogan’s performance in ‘The Wrestler’ and say, with my own conviction, ‘He should have won the Oscar.’