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Banbury Cross

a pillow for lost thoughts...

Archives for: March 2014

...and the Oscar may go to...

(Shot Duck Press Agency) Calling all bloggers and esteemed discussionistas, commie hunters as well as red plague apologists. Calling all romantically underutilized house wives and platonically overutilized verbal warriors, calling all poets in training, camera fiends, spaced out denizens of lala land, tireless trolls, compulsive hobbyists, carnival barkers, Egon Erwin Kisch wannabes, arm chair philosophers, Czech language explorers, frivolous gossip queens, political science junkies, even those whose mind has been utterly discombobulated by an overdose of merry-go-round. Come closer, Ladies and Gentlemen. It's that time of the year when we take you for a wild ride again. No, not the taxes, silly. It's the Oscars! So leave that strudel in the oven and grab a chair - this is gonna be one for the ages.

Believe it or not, we have found an even richer source of comedy and drama than Hollywood and all that jazz. After all, by now you must know all the Middle Earth critters by heart, including their genealogy twenty generations back plus the favorite brand of axes. So let's turn the spotlight on - drumroll please - the Czech politics! And hold on to your hats, because the palace intrigue will blow your mind. Or wallet. However, due to the fact that the Hollywood elite are not very well versed in the machinations of Bohemian law making, they have outsourced the voting procedures to the Military Academy in Vyskov this year. For this patriotic service we thank the members of this Academy profusely.

And now - without further ado - let's see what those mysterious envelopes hold.

The Oscar for Best Picture goes to ... Milos Zeman
If there is one image that will be haunting Czechs for decades to come, it is that of their popularly elected President swaying ominously over the crown jewels. Slightly less than picture perfect, his stately fumbling did not go unnoticed. What do you call such baffling display of static indisposition over a set of precious stones? Becherovka on the rocks? But at the end of the day, he did muster some spiritual powers (no pun intended) and fought the insidious virosis tooth and nail. Not quite the caliber of Humphrey Bogart, but perhaps Rodney Dangerfield after a long night at Cheers.

...and the Oscar for Best Directing goes to ... Andrej Babis
Look up in the sky, it's a bird! No, it's a plane! No, it is ANOman! The self proclaimed savior of the public purse is basking in the Sun. Yes, his closets may have more skeletons than a Medical School Supply Room, but the electorate is expecting nothing short of Jimmy Stewart on steroids. A sequel to Mr Smith Goes to Washington if you will. And he might actually be able to pull it off. Preceded by the reputation of a stern manager, his unorthodox approach to governing is already rocking various shaky boats in the Czech political pond. Say what you may about his murky past, but when it comes to directing, this quirky Slovak implant is second to none.

...and the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role goes to ... Jiri Rusnok
A star has been born through a malfunction of a microphone... The temporary premier's profound musings on the hardships of political life together with a fairly nonchalant attitude towards Nelson Mandela's funeral arrangements became the cocktail of choice on the evening news menu. A Molotov cocktail that is. All wrapped up and delivered with a classy pizzazz of a Frat Party Gone Wild. Talk about scuttling your own ship in broad daylight. But let's give credit where credit is due. It isn't easy for a grown up man to channel the mercurial psyche and parlance of a teenager. You have to be insecure and loutish at the same time. Trouncing Beavis and Butthead on their own turf speaks volumes to his talent. All I can say is: Well done, Sir! I mean - Well done, dude!

...and the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role goes to ... Jana Nagyova-Necasova
A Perfect Storm swept through the Straka Academy. Cunning like cardinal Richelieu, sweet like a strawberry short cake, hard working beyond your wildest dreams and executing her plans with the bluntness of a wrecking ball. Ten bucks says this Valkyrie could pack more punch than Shirley MacLaine in Donkey Serenade Hustle. Such force of nature would not be stopped by the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, let alone by the hapless Czech premier. He may have been thinking about her administrative skills and work ethics when he brought her in in June 2010. Little did he know, however, that her eyelashes sported a batting average of 0.371. Take that Miguel Cabrera! A mere sound of her name could unleash famine and pestilence upon her foes. The alluring charm of her voice alone would make the Sirens jump off the cliff with envy. With such credentials under her garter belt, this was Cleopatra in the making. Too bad she pushed one brass button too many.

...and the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role goes to ... Petr Necas
This is the second Oscar for the popular romantic comedy "Sun, Hay and the Government". The former Czech prime minister did his best to navigate the mine fields of office romance, but his fate was already booby trapped. For this sort of a supporting role comes with the ultimate expiration date: "till death do us part". And a rap sheet the size of Lake Erie to boot. So let's get this guy on the Craig Ferguson Show and see if we can tease the really juicy bits out of him. Popcorn anyone?

...and the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role goes to ... Karolina Peake
Constantin Stanislavski once famously quipped: "there are no small roles, only small actors". The Ministry of Defense would like to present exhibit A. During the confidence vote in August 2013, under rather stormy circumstances, this plucky dame showed a remarkable flair for melodrama. Definitely something to tweet home about. And if the forces of dirty politics tossed her into the cold ocean in the process - no biggie. It may yet prove to be a blessing in disguise. After all, the very same treatment worked miracles for Goldie Hawn in Overboard. If only she could find her parliamentary knight in shining armor. Paging Kurt Russell. Paging Mr. Kurt Russell...

...and the Oscar for Best Cinematography goes to ... Martin Komarek
A true artist always follows his passion, damned be the consequences. While the Czech Parliament wheeled and dealed 24/7 as it attempted to tame the bulls of the national budget, this former journalist and a son of the prominent economist had a different kind of 'toro' to contend with. As he went vacationing in Spain, his girlfriend managed to post a couple of his photographs on her Twitter account. The social networks were abuzz within hours. Look at that steady hand! What impeccable composition! And that tree trunk and the table in the background... oh-my-god... that's an instant classic! No kidding. Maestro's brilliant capture of the fleeting moment with a glass of wine brought back memories of such veterans of the world cinematography as Robert Richardson, Wally Pfister or Claudio Miranda.

...and the Oscar for Best Visual Effects goes to ... David Rath
The fix is in. The lawyers have finally figured it out: this enterprising doctor managed to perform that one delusion Houdini could never quite master. He turned wine into money. In front of the dazed police force no less. Even Jesus himself would have been impressed. Now the question is whether he can parlay his magical talents into a daring escape from whatever the Czech version of Alcatraz is. If he has another special effect up his sleeve, like walking straight through a 17 inch wall, Peter Jackson may consider shooting the Hobbit IV: the Wrath of Rath.

...and the Oscar for Best Short Film goes to ... Jana Bobosikova
Awwww. A young lady passing a bouquet of roses to the Big Cheese of the Klan of Scumbags and Chowderheads (aka KSC). How moving! Sniff, sniff... Well, let's just be grateful that this was a short film indeed.

...and the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay goes to ... Bohuslav Sobotka
A delightfully botched list of ministers personally handed over to the Clown-in-Chief. What a way to kick off a star studded career. I know - it was one of his underlings who made this royal mess. But hey - the PM signed it, he gets the kudos. Tough luck, Bohusu.

...and the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature goes to ... Miroslav Singer
Move over, Al Gore. There is a new Inconvenient Truth in town. And this one is even less convenient than the old one: those colorful pieces of paper in our wallets are worth only what the central bankers think they are worth. For better or worse. The November charade of the Czech National Bank cleverly siphoned some value out of people's hard earned money. But at least we know now what causes the global warming uncle Bubba keeps yakking about. Ain't that the heat from them printing presses? It's gotta be. What a shame that banksters have first dibs on all that dough. But don't worry, eventually it'll trickle down your way. So cut the guy some slack and don't flip out. Yet.

...and the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film goes to ... Karl Schwarzenberg
A dozing nobleman isn't quite what most people would associate with the word "animated". And that's exactly why he got the prize. Doesn't make sense? Who cares? This is friggin' Oscars, not an exercise in logic. Next.

...and the Oscar for Best Music goes to ... Vaclav Klaus
The swan song of the outgoing President was a shocker. His generous pardon halted prosecutions of some high ranking business executives whose Wild West attitudes towards privatization contributed to the moral marasmus and corruption of the post-communist politics. A Get Out of Jail Free card must have been a late Christmas present to the cowboys of capitalism. Sure, the moral of the story is a bit iffy, but that's the way the cookie crumbles. You only wish Martin Scorcese could have gotten hold of this material. Leaving the dark storyline aside, the music of this movie has been truly outstanding: Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot!

...and the Oscar for Best Production Design goes to ... Tomas Hrdlicka
Big politics is like a big theater. Not only you need great actors, but you also need a great stage. And no one understands the intricacies of building a good movie set with the right props better than this former member of the Civic Democratic Party. He knows the muddy waters of the Czech politics like the back of his hand. Whether he orchestrated the break up of the 101 coalition or the mud-slinging campaign against Andrej Babis doesn't matter. He would put the Corleone family in their place before you could say "Godfather". You feel your local representatives are just little puppets in someone else's hands? Welcome to the Brave New World where politicians come with more strings attached than a grand piano.

...and the Oscar for Best Costume Design goes to ... Milan Chovanec
You have to wonder what kind of disposable costume this aspiring turncoat was wearing in the days after the election. He treated his political affiliations the way Elizabeth Taylor used to treat her husbands. The more, the merrier. One moment you saw him dressed as a Machiavellian villain, the next he was the paragon of propriety. The last character who could change clothes this quickly was Clark Kent in Superman. So does that make him a hero, a sucker, a fink, a stooge, a wingman, a mole, a lionheart, a snitch, a patsy or what? Would the real Milan Chovanec please stand up? This chameleonic production and the ensuing hilarity confused the hell out of many a weathered commentator. And rightly so. We haven't really seen this kind of high level buffoonery since Maxwell Smart. Well, would you believe since Frank Drebin?

...and the Oscar for Best Film Editing goes to ... Michal Hasek
Political functions galore. A matching set of headaches. Ambitions burning. Election crashing. What to do? What to do? Got it! A late trip to Lany. Dinner in goose step. And then have at it. Political free for all. Shush now! The morning after. Meeting with the Big Kahuna? What meeting? Cut and paste. Snip and clip. All edited out. Cista mysl. Clean like a whistle. Problem solved. Atta boy!

...and the Oscar for Best Makeup goes to ... Vladimir Franz
Fantomas has absolutely nothing on this guy. Nuff said.

...and the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film goes to ... Tomio Okamura
Oh, the sweet smell of cherry blossoms. The long winding road to eternity reflecting off a tiny pond. A gentle caress of the Emperor's hand. Akira Kurosawa on cloud nine surveying the scene with a watchful eye. Oh, you solitary heron, don't tickle my senses now. Here comes the samurai of yore wielding the scimitar of direct democracy. The glint in his eye sings of the morning Sun. The steel of his facial musculature could support beams of the Shikoku Saburo bridge. His was an unquestionably hard fought victory. Hip hip hooray! Hip... But... wait a minute. There wasn't anyone else competing in this category. Oh... well... forget it then. Beam me up, Scotty.

The above ceremony took place in the Parallel Universe, in a Galaxy so far away you have to take a train just to think of it. If you want to know who won the real Oscars, you have to find a way to get back to the real Universe - you know the one with the Milky Way and stuff. So step into the dark alley behind your local movie theater and push away the dumpster at its end. See, that's your Stargate terminal. Please, knock on it exactly five times. When the rusty door opens, don't panic and have your towel ready. Bon voyage.

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