The Awards That Ate Themselves

Just in time for the Oscars, Jonathan hands out his own Ouroboros Awards.

ouroborosLike the famous man from Nantucket, Hollywood is quite adept at blowing itself. Yes, here we are again in the high Holly season — two months of non-stop celebrity onanism. We flabby plebes will gather around our sets and eat chips and dip while watching a group of carbon-silicon-based lifeforms bestow awards upon themselves, auto-erotically, with much fanfare and hoo-ha. The #oscarnoms are in and it looks like it will all be very (#slavery #torture) Important and Meaningful. Someone, probably Anne Hathaway, will cry and then someone will make twenty GIFs of Anne Hathaway crying and we will all enjoy this happy listicle while we too cry, alone and un-GIFed, with no award for our tears and a thick orange film of Cheetos dust covering our fingers.

Like the less famous man from Madras (with his head quite far up his ass) I am an introspective person. “Hmmmm,” I thought to myself, “here I am a certified internet movie commenter, a dream factory doyen, if you will, and it is awards season… People like awards, #slavery is bad, so why not give out some awards?” And what better award to give than an Ouroboros Award? The ouroboros is a snake that eats its own tail and does it all in one take while singing! Just kidding. It has something to do with eternal cycles of recurrence. All ideas are old ideas in new brains. So awards should go to how well the ancient tropes are re-packaged, the aged actors are re-used, and the hoariest cliches are unhoared.

Given this mandate, we should probably just give all the awards to Uncle Dben Unchained (the D is silent). In our post-pre-post-modern (or pre-future) age, nothing says originality like snagging the good bits from ten just okay westerns and slapping them all together into one super-okay western. Film theorists call this “muffin tops” movie making, all the sweet without the substance.

Upon seeing this bloody masterwork twice, once in reverse, the Ouroboros was pleased. Also, the Ouroboros’ tail tastes like Tarantino and stale Ragu. The Ouroboros can rest on his scales, if he likes. But we celluloid intellectuals like to spread the love around, just like the man from Penn Station. (He often gave sperm donations.) So here goes:

The Ouroboros for best recurring actor goes to Tommy Lee Jones as an ancient, shriveled, sunken-eyed Jabba the Hutt in Men in Black 3, Hope Springs, and, most effectively, Lincoln. Tommy Lee Jones’s aging face now looks like the landscape of Monument Valley. Think of all the dynamite you would need in order to build a workable rail system across his cheeks! In Film Year 2012, Lee Jones used his essential tiredness, the way he seems to be receding into his own face, as a compelling reason to watch him ever more closely.

Least essential recurring character: Speaking of Uncle Dben, he’s Martin Sheen now instead of Cliff Roberston (who bowed out on account of being dead, but according to Cloud Atlas he will likely come back as a Future Asian). The movie, of course, was The Ejaculatory Spider-Man which was just like all the other Spider-Man movies except with a lizard. The Ouroboros digs a good bildungsroman, but does it have to literally feature a boy with drippy jizz on his hands?

Most surprising recurrence: Q*Bert in Wreck-it-Ralph. This orange, long-schnozzed dude just doesn’t go down. The last time I saw him, he literally crashed to the bottom of the game machine with a thud near my knees. That was thirty years ago and now I’m taking my daughter to this movie and, hey, there’s Q*Bert again… Oh! I see. Disney regurgitated that early ‘80s video game character in order to appeal to parents. I get it, Disney: I’m old. Well, I’m too complex a person to fall for your easy emotional ploys. I will not be nostalgically charmed until you bring back Dig Dug.

Speaking of decrepit old age, the Ouroboros for most embarrassing recurrence goes to The Expendables 2, a distressing contemplation of the aging male body that was like catching your father in his underwear, posing for the mirror. Somewhere there is a portrait of Sylvester Stallone that never ages while he grows ever older. Spooky.

Best new rendering of old technology: The CGI lens-flares in The Hobbit. It’s like how I used to burn the edges of my love poems to make them look more olde tymey. The ladies dig browned love poems. Also, try some kind of cursive font and center that shit like back in the day. You can learn all of these tips while earning your very own MFA in poetry in less time than it takes to sit through The Hobbit.

Best new version of an old character: The Hulk in The Avengers. Sometimes it takes three reboots to really get a character right, even if that character has only one characteristic.

The Ouroboros for the most beautiful, charming, special, humble, and treasured actress of our generation: Anne Hathaway. I mean, come on, she’s like Katharine Hepburn, Barbara Stanwyck, and Shirley Temple all in one package, eh, grandpa and/or TCM host?

Confession: there is no award for most beautiful actress. The Ouroboros just wants to see if Anne Hathaway will cry. Hathaway tears are known to clear up acne and cause spontaneous combustion in field mice, which is why you are only allowed 3 oz. of them at airport security.

Finally, for an Oscar prediction, let’s turn to the man from the all-male chorus, the Ouroboros, who speaks only in palindrome.

Hey, what’s up Ouroboros?

Yo, banana boy.

So who do you think is a sure thing to bring home some Oscar gold this year?

Anne H. top spot! Henna!

Well folks, there you have it. “Master cineaste, out!” as the kids say. Pass the guacamole and the creeping sense of existential dread, Seth MacFarlane is about to #croon.

Image courtesy of WikiMedia

Jonathan Gourlay is an editor at The Bygone Bureau and author of the ebook Nowhere Slow: Eleven Years on a Micronesian Island. He lives in the quiet corner of Connecticut where he is a vicarious goat herder. Follow him on Twitter.