This morning, I wrote the Acknowledgments page for the back of my book. Throughout my writing process, I’ve kept a running list of the people I wanted to thank, so that part was easy. But the truth is, I’ve been practicing my public thank you’s in my head for a very long time now. (see essay below)
It’s an Honor Just to be Nominated
I descend from the airplane onto the tarmac at Cannes in a gauzy white dress. My skin is the color of milk because I’ve fanatically used the SPF 90 every goddamn time I’ve gone outside for even ten seconds, but the effect is flawless. I look like a snowflake. And like a snowflake I gracefully drift down this set of metal stairs, and like a snowflake, I too have a unique imprint, a singular beauty. That’s how they’ll describe it in Daily Variety. I am at my thin weight, about the size of a skinny Oprah (which we all know isn’t truly skinny but is great for Oprah). “A zaftig snowflake,” the Hollywood Reporter will later say, uncharitably. So maybe I’m more like a Medium Oprah, but at least they got the snowflake thing.
Halfway down the airplane’s aluminum steps, a gentle wind billows my dress as if on cue—not in a Marilyn standing over the grate kind of way, but more like the winds are heeding the call of the enchantress, like in a Stevie Nicks video. I stop then, and smile at the reporters and fans crowded below, tossing my long auburn curls in their direction. It is a restrained smile, the kind that says, “No, it doesn’t really mean anything to be here, to have my film in the running for the Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. This is the fluff, the chocolate glaze on the éclair of life. Go home and kiss your children tonight. That’s what’s really important.”
After winning the Palm d’Or, the Academy Awards seem like a blur. At first, I consider boycotting them—everyone knows the Oscars are bullshit, I mean “Braveheart”, come on—but then I realized I might actually win, and how would that look?
Of course, no one told me about the limo line. Chances are you’ve never been in it, but I can tell you it’s a lot like being stuck in the George Washington Tunnel at rush hour except you’re wearing taffeta so you can’t eff-ing move unless you want to end up looking like a Hefty Cinch Sack on the red carpet. And if the thought of me walking down the red carpet makes you jealous, don’t forget that I rode all the way from my beachfront house in Santa Monica balancing every pound of my Medium Oprah weight on the back of my neck and my feet so as not to wrinkle the dress. It was like a goddamn core fusion yoga class except at yoga I don’t wear $400,000 worth of Harry Winston diamonds.
“I’m the film’s director,” I complained at one point to the woman dabbing powder on my nose, “do I have to look so fricking pretty all the time?”
“You’re shiny,” she responded flatly.
Next thing I know I’m crying and my living rigamortis posture has collapsed in a pathetic heap on the limousine floor and the make-up lady is apologizing even though she doesn’t mean it because now there’s mascara running down my cheeks.
The next thing I remember, I’m on-stage at the Kodak Theater. I am wearing black because let’s face it, I need too, and my acceptance speech is a hilarious off-the-cuff recollection of my tragicomic limo ride to these very awards! Everyone is in stitches, and I hope they cut to a close-up of Nicholson laughing because later I’ll be able to parlay that into a new fantasy where I rendezvous with Jack in the ladies bathroom at the Vanity Fair party (you know Jack) and he tells me I’ve got chutzpah and that he’d like to do me in a bathroom stall. But for now, I am just accepting this great, great award and people from high school are watching on TV.
After the laughs die down I take a deep breath, look directly into the lens of camera number three, and let the tears begin to flow. Now it’s time to express my solemn gratitude for those who’ve come before me, to thank those who’ve helped me along the way and always believed in me, especially those who are dead now. That you’ve chosen me from among these talented directors is truly an honor. It is an honor just to be nominated.