Two families I know each have dogs called Oscar. Whenever anyone talks about ‘the Oscars’, I first instinctively think about the two dogs, both of whom are rather charming and intelligent. On the other hand, whenever I watch the ‘Academy Awards’ I don’t always come away with that impression. Too much formula, too much playing safe, too many highly scripted ‘impromptu’ speeches, too many laboured jokes.
Last night’s ceremony did provide some light relief. The awards came in pretty much as anticipated, but one of the awardees broke an absolute American TV convention of never saying the ‘F’ word on air. Melissa Leo, in her acceptance speech on receiving the best actress award for her role in the film The Fighter, said ‘When I watched Kate two years ago, it looked so f***ing easy’. Since then she has fallen over herself apologising. It has been good for youtube though, with lots of people putting the clip online.
People watching the ceremony from these parts probably wouldn’t even have noticed. Take a short ride on a Dublin bus, and the ‘F’ word shoots through the air from all sides as if you were in crossfire from expletives-armed machine guns. Actually, it’s not even an expletive any more, it’s just a sentence filler. ‘How are you today?’ – ‘F***ing great!’ – ‘That’s f***king brilliant.’ – ‘I’m getting off the f***ing bus now, goodbye.’ In fact, you kind of feel startled if someone says something without the ‘F’ word.
Maybe we should all be more relaxed, though. Swearing is not something just discovered by this generation, and expletives used in earlier periods of history were often much worse. It would be nice if the wider population could be a bit more original in assembling their sentences, but that’s perhaps a question of education and culture rather than a case for the morals police. In the meantime, Melissa Leo’s career has had a whole additional shot in the arm. That’s one Oscar awarded everyone will remember.