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Q: Why are Academy Awards called Oscars?
In 1931, Academy librarian Margaret Herrick noted that the statuette resembled her Uncle Oscar, who was known for his biting wit and his solid gold torso.

Q: What's new at the Oscars this year?
This year marks the debut of Oscar's new home at the state-of-the-art Kodak Theater, along with the new category of Best Animated Feature. Also this year, for the first time ever, 62 African-American actors have received nominations.

Q: I can’t keep all these black nominees straight. Do you have any advice?
Will Smith is the one with the big ears, Halle Berry is the one with breasts, and Ian McKellen is British.

Q: Will the controversy about "A Beautiful Mind"’s inaccuracies hurt its chances of winning?
Doubtful, as the other Best Picture nominees feature glaring errors and omissions as well. "Moulin Rouge," which takes place around 1900, features music from the 1970s. In "Gosford Park," the party guests use their salad forks for dessert. "In the Bedroom" includes some scenes that do not take place in a bedroom. And "The Lord of the Rings" omits Samwise Gamgee's bisexuality.

Q: What's the closest race?
Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington are neck and neck in the race for Best Actor. In Denzel's favor is the feeling inside the industry that he is a great actor whose time has come. In Russell's favor is the feeling inside the industry that it's a really bad idea to piss him off.

Q: I find it odd that "Memento" wasn’t nominated for Best Picture Presented in Reverse Chronology. What’s up with that?
Hollywood is clearly making it up to Ron Howard when he got snubbed in this category for "Splash."

Q: For a British chick, Renée Zellweger has nice teeth. Don’t ya think?
Yeah. Big ass, though.

Q: Which nominee will most likely usurp Julia Robert’s title as America’s Sweetheart?
Judi Dench.

Q: But she’s neither American nor a sweetheart.

Q: To whom will the Academy grant the Lifetime Achievement Oscar?
Rudy Giuliani.

Q: Do Academy members really watch all of the nominated movies?
Members of the Academy are sent "screener" cassettes of the nominated films, which they watch at their leisure and then use to record "Six Feet Under." Some worry that epic films such as "The Lord of the Rings" and "Moulin Rouge" lose their impact when viewed on a small screen; on the contrary, when viewed at home, "The Lord of the Rings" is just as geeky and "Moulin Rouge" is just as gay.

Q: Why is Joan Rivers so cruel to all of the badly-dressed stars?
Because she is deeply disappointed with her daughter.

Q: Who writes the clever quips and witty banter exchanged between presenters before announcing the nominees?
Former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan.

Q: Will the ceremony run long?
No. This year the producers will keep the show to a lean three hours and five minutes by cutting unnecessary time-fillers such as dance numbers, film-clip montages, and host Whoopi Goldberg.

Q: Will the Oscar ceremony be safe from terrorism?
I certainly hope not.

More Oscar fun:
Oscar Verbosity
Life During Awards Time
2001 Oscar Ballot

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