I walked the Red Carpet twice…
For the first time in 1989 and again in 1990. I was a guest of actor Sonny Landham in ’89 – I’d just gotten out of prison. Landham co-starred in 48 Hours and Predator as well as appearing in 50 other films. My writing partner at the time, Robert Roy Pool, walked it with us. He had written the script for my my film "Outlaws" (which became The King of Sting) as well as OUTBREAK with Dustin Hoffman.
At the time I thought it would be the first of many times for me at the Academy Awards. I’d just completed the film CHAMPIONS FOREVER with Muhammad Ali, we just missed being nominated for best feature documentary (it should have been). Little did I know that I would sit next to the Italians that would win the same award for Cinema Paradisio.
They let me hold the award for a moment. Great. I would later go to the green room of ABC and meet all the stars and nominees. But it was bitter sweet. I felt like a schmuck in my tux, after living in a prison halfway house, and then meeting Kim Basinger and saying, "Yes I have a film in development." l
Like she give a crap.
I was about 33 at the time. So who did I leave with? No, not with some smoking hot movie star, but the car park valet girl. A girl from South America – a beauty – there to be "discovered."
She was, by me. Her bad luck. That lasted three weeks.
Ah, when we were kids, the Academy Awards was the biggest thing. Like the Super Bowl.
Bob Hope would do the hosting, so cool. All the stars came out, even the ones who were not in the darn thing. People like Gregory Peck, Sophia Loren, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Julie Christie,Jimmy Stewart, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster. And on and on. Those were some of my heroes. I especially pulled for Paul Newman, he lost 7 times before he won for a lesser effort in the pool shooting film, "THE COLOR OF MONEY" with Tom Cruise.
The world stopped when those awards went down.
There were no cars on the streets, everyone huddled around a TV, the entire family watching. Now it’s just not the same, is it? Oh, it’s still a big deal. The Star still makes a big deal out of it with all their older readers. But the world has changed. Everybody is busy and less people care or watch.
It’s becoming more and more an insider’s event.
This year I watched with a wince of pain, for once again, not being involved with some project, I guess most Hollywood people don’t really so much care if they don’t have horse in the race. Still I have to watch. No more Bob Hope or Johnny Carson.
Instead there are a couple of newcomers who don’t seem to truly deserve the highest rung of HOST at the Academy Awards. I know they have to go for younger viewers, but boy, it’s just not as important when they hand the job off each year.
Hell ,even Billy Crystal was a little fun.
To see Warren Beatty finally fighting the aging process and trying to force words out of his 80 year-old mouth was sad. The man once ruled that town, THE PLAYBOY. Warren is in a photo in my book THE KING OF STING, on a day he tried to pick up my then fiance, Terri Gatewood at Morton’s.
I was proud of Kirk Douglas closing in on 100 and still getting it done. He’s the last of that Great Hollywood Era of stars. I thought one of the highlights of the show was how wonderful Jennifer Hudson looks. My God, what a dish! She has lost like 100 pounds, good for her. What a talent.
It was also nice to see the Award Ceremony close with "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" from the Wizard of Oz, which I think now stands for MOVIES. Nice because who can forget that line, "We aren’t in Kansas anymore…"
Well, maybe they aren’t…
I still love the movies, though now I realize they don’t last forever. Nothing does. And maybe the message isn’t as important as I once thought.
Still for those still in it, it lasts a lifetime.