I knew I wanted to work with movies in some way from the time I was 10 years old. Most kids want to be cowboys and astronauts and firemen, but not me. When asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, I replied, “I want to do special effects for movies.”
I’m a long way from special effects. I started working my very first job at a suburban Chicago movie theatre when I was 17, and I stayed for over 13 years. Along the way, I have written movie reviews for the local newspaper, and I’ve done a weekly radio program about that week’s new releases. I’m half-way done writing a screenplay with my best friend, and I have worked on a local independent film production.
I’m also an avid Oscar buff. The day of the Academy Award ceremony, to me, is one of the top holidays of the year. I live for the excitement of award season, and Oscar Night is the crowning jewel. I make it a rule to see all the films nominated in all the major categories, and I also take it upon myself to prognosticate what’s going to happen. I have spent several years and several more dollars collecting all of the films that have ever won Best Picture. Yes, I own all 83 of them. I don’t always agree with the choices, but it’s a collection that I’m very proud of.
Unlike other “pundits,” I don’t take myself too seriously. I mean, so what if I’m wrong about my predictions? It happens. And so what if you don’t agree with me? That’s good, right? I’m a firm believer that most critics overvalue themselves, and the idea behind this website is not to force my opinions on you, the loyal reader. My goal is to educate and let you make your own decisions.
Oh yeah, about that picture . . . I haven’t actually won an Oscar yet. R.S. Owens, the company that makes the statue in question (along with the Emmy and the Tony), is located in Chicago. One of the perks of living here is that, in recent years, they put the statues on display before sending them out to Hollywood. It’s really a treat to see the actual statutes that will be given out on the big night. Part of the festivities includes a photo-op with Oscar Himself. When the winners compose themselves and announce with surprise how heavy the statue is, they ain’t lying. 8 pounds is heavier than you think.
I have been fascinated by motion pictures ever since I saw Star Wars (now commonly referred to as Episode IV: A New Hope) at the age of six.
I love Oscar Season. I love watching the contenders and judging them by my own critera, then watching to find out how my opinions compare to those who actually work in the business. I love the sense of anticipation on Oscar Day as the broadcast time approaches. I even get a perverse thrill out of analyzing wardrobe choices, although I must admit I find fashion talk in any other venue thoroughly yawn-worthy. I particularly love a good acceptance speech. Winners who are humble, moved, and grateful make me cry.
I suppose I am as much an expert as anyone else who loves movies and watches a lot of them. That said, my credentials include:
- a bachelor’s degree in Film Studies
- professional experience working as a film critic for the monthly magazine UR Chicago
- former employment as a screenwriting instructor for The Screenwriters Group
- approximately 15 cumulative years of movie theater employment and management
Oh yeah, I have not won an Oscar either. Also, I’m not really a cartoon.