Everyone’s a winner at Camp So-and-So. With each passing summer, this phrase plagued any sense of healthy competition or social development, and eventually we campers used it only with the snippiest of snippy mocking tones. The dreaded summer day that was devoted completely to team sports found the entire camp divided into three teams. Although the team that accumulated the most points throughout the blistering day was declared the winner, the two other teams were awarded titles along the lines of “most spirit” or “most creative outfits” or “least amount of whining.” But what can you expect when you’re dealing with a group of children who moan and groan because one day each summer, they’re forced to go on a day-hike? Now, I treasure absolutely nothing in the way that I treasure my camp memories . . . but good gravy; we were a bunch of spoiled brats who got our way every time, winning even when we lost.
Long ago the beginning of the year evolved into so much more than simply “Academy Award” season. Last year was the first time I ever gave voice to the thought, “Even with Billy Crystal and a win for Meryl Streep, this show is boring and predictable.” Those of us who enjoy tracking the ins and outs of the film industry try to keep up with the Oscars, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Golden Globes, the Satellite Awards, the Least Whining During Production . . . you see where I’m going with this.
Perhaps it’s just a side effect of youth, but I used to count down the days until the Academy Awards. In my excitement I would research Oscar winners of the past and try to establish any kind of pattern that would allow me to predict an upcoming outcome. I’m still baffled by how poorly I did on tests in high school, when I could memorize lists of Oscar-winning names and years with very little effort. Today I look back on the winners of many moons ago and wonder who can give me goose bumps like Bogie’s Charlie Allnut, Liza’s Sally Bowles, or . . . c’mon, you know I’d bring her up eventually . . . Hepburn’s Queen Eleanor?
The goose bumps of today may not be quite as bumpy, but still every year we fasten our seat belts in anticipation, hoping for a night of turbulence.
“Nice speech, Eve. But I wouldn’t worry too much about your heart;
you can always put that award where your heart ought to be.”
— Margo Channing