Oscar babble pt 1: Run, fatboy, run
The evening’s become a tradition I’ve found myself looking forward to — until now. The Academy has added five nominees for Best Picture to the preexisting five, guaranteed to extend the telecast an unwelcome thirty minutes at least. This, we’re told, necessitates the services of two hosts: Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. Rather than explore all the reasons why or how these are mistakes, let me cut to the chase: I don’t like Alec Baldwin.
Nor do I suspect he’s high on anyone’s list of must-see actors. Have you ever rushed out on opening weekend to a movie because he’s in it? I doubt Alec sells many tickets, whereas people — a lot of people — will plunk down ten bucks to see anything, no matter how dire, with Steve Martin.
Outside of his tailor-made and shrewdly brief bit in Glengarry Glen Ross (shrewd, because they don’t dare put him in the same frame with Al Pacino; is he Hyde to Pacino’s Jekyll?), Alec has floated in and out of secondary parts, supporting roles, and as The Shadow, something of a super hero done at a time when super heroes were hot… except The Shadow. They say he’s the star of television’s 30 Rock. He could very well be brilliant, but primetime TV isn’t my bag.
To these eyes, he’s not a good actor. Other than Glengarry, he’s always had the look or given the impression of a man acting. He approaches roles as if maneuvering an obstacle course, of a man pretending, of a thug reaching in vain for sophistication.
In recent years Alec’s piled on the pounds, appearing ill and bloated. He carries a rehearsed swagger aping Sinatra, if only he possessed an iota of Sinatra’s talent, bravura or standing. Without those things, Alec doesn’t wear Old Blue Eyes’ arrogance so well. An apparent drunk (doesn’t alcoholism gallop through that family?), Mr. Baldwin could be Old Bloodshot Eyes.
I won’t get into the publicized (promoted?) dark side of Alec’s failed marriage to Kim Basinger and his damaging relationship with his daughter. He wrote a tacky ‘tell-all’ book about proper parenting (!), this after calling daughter Ireland (whose age he isn’t sure of) a “thoughtless little pig” during a self-pitying, screaming rant on her telephone answering machine. I haven’t the credentials or education to remark professionally here, but his public berating of Kim and the attack on Ireland reveals, at the very least, a man with twisted issues spitting on the gift of fatherhood. He displayed no sense of humility throughout his subsequent book tour, opting for the laughable position of ‘victim.’ Alec Baldwin is the kind of man who’d make a normally forgiving father-in-law employ connections well versed in the fitting of cement overshoes and firsthand knowledge of the East River’s deepest recesses. Or, at the very least, a good, hearty beating.
More Oscar babble to come!