Okay, I have no clue who will win golden statuettes tonight, other than Heath Ledger, who seems to be a shoe-in. And though the road to hell is paved with good intentions, I’ve seen only one nominated film: “Vicky Christina Barcelona”-this afternoon, no less. All I know is that every year when the awards are doled out, I remember with fondness my very favorite Oscar telecast.
Board the way-back machine with me, if you will, to 1994. David and I had been married about six months and he had client business in Florida, so I flew down with him and stayed with my grandparents in Boca, to their great delight. This was back in the days when the Oscar telecast was still in late March on a Monday evening, and I’m sure Nana and Grandpa and I enjoyed a classic Nana dinner of roasted chicken or London Broil with kasha varnishkes and a lime jello mold topped with mandarin oranges for dessert. We probably bid our time after dinner by donning the kitchen table with a fitted vinyl cover and playing a scintillating game or two of Rummikub until the stars began gracing the red carpet. Nana loved glamorous fashion-her high school nickname was “HRH The Duchess Sonya” even though her real name was Claire-and she had a charming fascination with beautiful celebrities and royalty, so the Academy Awards was high on her television viewing list.
I excused myself a few moments before the telecast was to begin, went to my room and changed into the formfitting black sequined gown I had secretly packed for the occasion. I slipped on high black heels, swept up my hair, slicked on red lipstick, accessorized with appropriate sparkly costume jewels, and proceeded toward the family room, where Nana was perched on the sofa in one of her many truly elegant housecoats (I’m serious! Glam jammies!) and a pair of gold-lame wedge-heeled slippers.
I entered the room with dramatic flourish, and to this day I can not forget Nana looking up unsuspectingly and erupting into the most hilarious belly laugh I ever heard.
“Well you always taught me to dress for the occasion,” I quipped.
She laughed and laughed until she nearly wet her pants, and Grandpa proudly proclaimed that I was officially crazy enough to carry on the long line of family nuttiness to the next generation. I wore the gown for the whole show, and even though it’s perfectly hideous, it still hangs in my closet as a sentimental memory.
And oh yeah, incidentally “Schindler’s List” cleaned up the night.