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Overheard at the Oscars

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FEBRUARY 27, 2014

Ellen DeGeneres is up onstage introducing the presenters for one of those awards that no one really cares about, except if they were nominated. All the A-listers in the audience start to quietly talk to one another in order to escape the snooze-fest.

Over in the “Wolf of Wall Street” section, Martin Scorsese leans over toward the middle of everyone with a guilty smirk on his face like your drunk uncle — drunkle — who is about to tell you he slipped some vodka into your mother’s juice. “Hey guys, if we lose, just think about all those regretful parents that took their young kids with them to see our movie. That oughta give you a good chuckle, eh?” He leans back and squints his eyes in laughter as his black-rimmed glasses bob along.

Leonardo DiCaprio politely chuckles through clenched teeth as he sweatily squeezes the hand of Supermodel #26 whom he picked out of his catalogue titled “Leo’s Lionesses” the night before. He takes a quick swig from his flask and casts a glance to each side to make sure no cameras are capturing his moment of unusual weakness before taking a swipe across his forehead with the back of his hand. Jonah Hill says that he feels like a Directioner at a Death Grips concert. No one really gets what he means, so he just rips a fart to lighten the tension, and everyone moves on.

“Guys, should I just trip? I can do it. I can totally do it. I’ll trip. Heck, I can just randomly fall out of my chair right now. Maybe I can take the microphone stand and pretend to be riding a pony while smacking my booty? Anything, guys, I got plenty of adorkable material that will win the audience over,” says Jennifer Lawrence in the “American Hustle” row. After several noncommittal grunts from the section’s other occupants, JLaw drops it with a roll of her eyes and a sigh. Christian Bale keeps quiet and considers reverting back to his people-punching days as Batman while Bradley Cooper begins to delve into yet another freaking story about when he was on the set of “The Hangover.”

Meanwhile, Matthew McConaughey looks deeply and longingly into the glass of wine he is holding with both hands before him. Jared Leto tries to tap his arm to get his attention, but Matt remains with his eyes cast downward at his own reflection. He shakes his head in remorse. He thinks about what he could have been if he just stuck with his old career path. “I could have taken my shirt off whenever I wanted,” he thinks. “I could have been the king of rom-coms. I feel like I really had a talent for that, and I gave it all up for this?” He lets out a deep sigh.

Across the room: “Excuse me, are you gravity ’cause I’m pretty sure the Academy is falling for you!” exclaims George Clooney with his mouth open wide in a literal knee-slapping laughing fit. Sandra Bullock wonders if she could beat this with a gravity-centric joke of her own, but the best she can come up with is: “It seems like the servers feel a pull toward our row, huh, huh?” since there was an exorbitant amount of calamari being passed around between them. Instead, she reverts to suddenly belting out “Gravity” by John Mayer, which she only knows a single word of, and I’ll let you guess which one that is.

Next to them is the group from “Her.” Joaquin Phoenix thinks he is being totes clever by dramatically asking Siri on his iPhone whether or not they will win. She responds that he isn’t her type — she prefers blondes. This Siri-asking gets a bit out of hand and eventually turns into everyone asking their individual Siris — Sirai? — trivial questions like, “Why is Jonah Hill fat again?” Suddenly, they realize no one is actually talking to each other.

The get-off-the-stage music cues, and the teary-eyed winners of that random category quickly wrap up their speech. The celebs in the audience stop talking — their category is coming up.


Taran Moriates is the arts columnist. Contact him at [email protected].

FEBRUARY 27, 2014