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HOLLENBECK: Academy Awards time: Hooray for Hollywood and all its glory

March 5, 2012

Watching the Academy Awards has been a ritual for most of my life.
My enthusiasm for the broadcast has waned in recent years since I don't go to the movies the way I did in earlier years.
In previous decades, I watched every movie, I knew facts about all the actors and I could spout out personal and professional information about most of them.
This situation changed after my spouse and I stopped going to movie houses. A hearing impairment made it not just difficult but practically impossible for him to get any of the dialogue and I found myself doing instant replays throughout the film. Not something that endears you to others in the theater.
Other times he would just sit there quietly and patiently, but not getting one thing out of it. This didn't add to my enjoyment — or to his — so we just stopped going altogether. Once in a great while I'll go to a movie with other family members, but it's a rarity. But thank goodness for VCRs, DVRs, TVs and such. These technological advances have formed my movie theater in recent years.
However, this doesn't facilitate timeliness. It has put me way behind in my movie knowledge. When you have to wait for the DVD of a film, most of the time it isn't timely for Academy Award viewing.
A lot of years I haven't seen a single film at the time the Oscar showing takes place. That doesn't give you much incentive to be excited about a particular actor unless he or she happens to be a favorite already.
But this year I had seen one of the nominated films — "The Help" — so I felt more prepared. I was rooting for a contender since I loved that movie with its stellar cast.
Not only was it a well-put-together picture, it was a movie with a message that, hopefully, has helped erase a lot of the wrongs that occurred in the 1960s-era South.
And how delightful to see Christopher Plummer, at the age of 82, win an Oscar. If that doesn't inspire those of us in the 50-and-older set to keep on doing whatever it is that we do, I don't know what will.
I can remember a time when a movie star's career was pretty much over by the age of 40, except for those good enough and humble enough to accept character roles. (Truthfully, these often are the best roles and the best showcase for talent, but it's not easy for someone who's always been in the starring role to step out of the big light.)
One thing in the Oscar show that was refreshing, from my perspective, was seeing the actresses in such beautiful fashions. These could have been regenerated from the 1950s and 1960s when movies were in their heyday because the styles were so similar to those worn by the stars in that period.
I didn't see anything outlandishly awful, which I haven't been able to say in recent years.
I'm not sure whose dress I would call my favorite, but I'll have to say that Tina Fey was stunning in her classic gown. That would have been one of the surprises of the night for me.
Either I dozed off or had left my perch on the couch for some reason, but somehow I missed the segment that featured Dolores Hart, the former star-turned-nun.
She entered a convent some time after co-starring with Elvis Presley in "King Creole." I don't know if being with Elvis is what inspired — or maybe drove — her to a nun's habit. All I know is that was the order of events.
According to accounts I read of the incident, she said she and Elvis had daily Bible readings while they were making that movie.
A documentary about Mother Dolores, including her monumental change in lifestyle, was nominated for an Oscar for a short film titled "God Is the Bigger Elvis." I'd like to see it.
I loved seeing the tribute to stars who have died in the preceding year, especially that last clip of Elizabeth Taylor with her signature wink as Queen Cleopatra.
Stars may come and go, but there will never be another Liz.

Lynda Hollenbeck is senior editor of The Saline Courier.
lyndahol@yahoo.com

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