I had some misgivings about Monday's inaugural 20/20 Awards (as in "hindsight is..."), in which a "syndicate" of over 100 film "luminaries"—including Lynn Shelton and Sherman Alexie—"correct" the "ills" of the Academy Awards from 20 years past. This year's awards took on the Oscars from 1990, giving Heathers (for example) a chance to beat Dead Poet's Society for best original screenplay. (Monday's winner: Crimes and Misdemeanors.)
It's off-puttingly elitist when people claim to know better, and if the Academy Awards are so stupid and irrelevant (um, duh), why pour all this energy into correcting them? Just to prove you have awesome taste? Whooooo caaaaaares?!
But. It was a fun event, if a bit long-winded and earnest (presenters' speeches ranged from soporific to pleasant to borderline lively). And you have to admit that 20/20's corrected record looks better than the original: Crimes and Misdemeanors and Do the Right Thing dominated the categories; Roger & Me took home best documentary (it wasn't even nominated in 1990). With some time and heavy whittling, 20/20 could be a smart, funny addition to Seattle's film calendar. (Plus, wine!)
I presented the award for best actor to Daniel Day-Lewis (who declined to attend) for My Left Foot (he won in 1990 as well), a movie I have not seen and probably won't. Instead of actually watching the movie and using brainpower to prepare for my speech, I just looked up Daniel Day-Lewis's Wikipedia page. Actually, no I didn't. I just wrote a fake Wikipedia page for Daniel Day-Lewis and read that out loud to the crowd. It went like this:
Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis (born 29 April 1957) is an English actor with British and Irish citizenship, the son of actress Jill Balcon and the Irish-born poet laureate Cecil Day-Lewis. Daniel Day-Lewis was born in London with neither cerebral palsy nor a left foot. Living in middle-class Greenwich, Day-Lewis found himself among tough South London kids and—being Jewish and "posh"—he was often bullied. Frequently teased about his complete lack of a foot, a young Day-Lewis quickly mastered the accent, palsy, and two-footed gait of the locals, and credits that with being his first convincing performance.
In 1989, Day-Lewis was cast as Christy Brown in My Left Foot: the story of an Irish author, painter, and poet with severe cerebral palsy, who did all kinds of stuff with his foot because the rest of him didn't work. When approached about the role by director Jim Sheridan, Day-Lewis objected, "But look, guv'nah! Oi've got no foot! Fish 'n' chips! Cheerio!" To which Sheridan famously quipped, "You're an actor, right? Act like you have a fucking foot." Then, using method acting, Day-Lewis infected himself with cerebral palsy.
Then he died. He is truly the best actor ever.