Acting, and greatness

I’m not a big fan of awards shows so I only tuned in to the Academy Awards briefly Sunday night to see the Oscars for best actor and best actress.

Last one first: I think Meryl Streep is the greatest living actor in the world today. She has been so great for so many years that people think it’s just a matter of course that she’s going to be nominated, but don’t seem to realize that in the years she has been nominated, she has given the best performance and out of 17 nominations and only three wins, I’d say she was robbed of the Oscar eight times. Look at the past three nominations:

— How could she have lost in 2009 after that performance in “Julie and Julia” as Julia Child? And to Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”?

— How could she have lost in 2008 after the performance in “Doubt” as Sister Aloysius Beauvier? And to Kate Winslet in “The Reader”?

— How could she have lost in 2006 after the performance in “The Devil Wears Prada” as Miranda Priestly? And to Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth in “The Queen”?

(OK, that’s a tough one. Helen Mirren was great in “The Queen.” But then, that’s why you have ties. Remember Barbara Streisand in “Funny Girl” and Katherine Hepburn in “The Lion in Winter” back in 1968?)

And if you watched the show, you saw she was actually shocked that it happened. She was sure Viola Davis was going to get it. And I think, one day, Viola Davis will get it. But I’m glad Merrill Streep got this one, even though she was more deserving of the three previous one she lost. The last time she won the big one was 30 years ago: That in itself is an outrage. The world’s greatest actor has been denied the top acting honor for three decades? The Academy owes her big time.

Now to the Best Actor.

I saw “The Artist.” I thought Jean Dujardin was great in it. And I thought I didn’t know who he was.

Then I turned on France 24, the English-speaking news channel out of you know where and saw its story on Dujardin.

They said that his first major role was as “Brice de Nice.” Holy crap! I hated Brice de Nice! It was a bad French movie that was advertised forever in Belgium when I was there. I didn’t want to see it, I didn’t want to be exposed to it, but everywhere I turned, there were huge posters for “Brice de Nice.”

Then they said he was in the television series “Un gars, une fille.” Holy crap! I hated “Un gars, une fille.” It was an annoying series of vignettes about a married couple that played on every stereotype of male/female relationships. One I’ll never forget is the couple running a marathon. She is talking on her cellphone to her friend when the race starts. The next shot is the end of the race. He’s wasted and she’s still talking on the phone as they cross the line together, and she doesn’t even realize the race is over.

The worst part of “Un gars, une fille” (for you non-French speakers, that’s “A guy, a girl”) was that I bought a DVD in Brussels once that was labeled as “Bridget Jones’s Diary.” And they had put in “Un gars, une fille” by accident. I didn’t take it back, because I figured I’d take a look and find out what it was and learn a little French in the process. Big mistake.

So, Jean, you deserve your Academy Award for “The Artist.” But someone should take it away from you for putting me through all that misery in my early years in Brussels.

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