Yes, I watched them. What a snore! And weren’t they dreadful? They always are. Mawkish, smarmy, lachrymose and droning.
The host calls out some celeb who reads some drivel from a teleprompter, opens an envelope speaks a name and all hell breaks loose. Someone, feigning surprise, stands. With much blubbering, this individual comes up to the stage to be given an ugly little statue (I got a better looking trophy at the drag strip back in 1964) . This person will then spend up to twenty minutes thanking everyone involved, including the bootblack from the bus depot. Then the tableau repeats ad infinitum. The whole Academy Awards thing takes longer than a baseball game.
What adds to the length is that every year, they add more and more categories, getting down to such things as they guy who empties the Sani-Cans on the set. However, conspicuous by its absence is award for the lowest Nod Factor. What’s a Nod Factor? The Nod Factor is a measure of how many people nod-off during the film, and for how long they stay asleep. The scale runs from 0-9, with 0 being the best and 9 being the worst. For example: Zero would be the Star Wars movies and nine would be My Dinner with Andre. Here’s how the nod factor would work.
Truckers, airplane pilots and selected Mercedes-Benz owners are beginning to use a small headset that tracks eye movements. The headset contains two little infra-red lasers and their associated sensors that keep track of your eyes. Whenever you begin to lose focus – when you’re about to nod off – the sensors detect this and set off some sort of alarm. Why not use this technology to find out when members of the audience are about to, yes, nod off? But instead of an alarm, the little headset would start counting minutes until the subject awakens. It would, of course, record multiple instances of nodding off. When the show’s over, an usher collects the headsets and the data are disgorged.
To get a good sampling, the little headsets would be given out randomly to, let’s say, every fifth ticket holder and the holders’ age and gender recorded. To further refine the data, the study would be run in a random sample of towns and cities across the USA at the same time-slot and, on the same number of days after the film’s release.
Gad, imagine the possibilities here. For example, you could discover that ten-year old boys are turned-on by Duke Nukem and that thirteen-year old boys are turned-on by smut. This system’s data would be refined even further my measuring when headsets are returned to the usher before the movie ends.
What producer wouldn’t love to know how many women, and of which ages, nod-off at scenes of male bonding, but stay alert during scenes of girly sleep-overs where the participants run around in skimpy PJs. Data like these would let movie-makers know in advance which audiences will stay awake and tailor its advertising campaign accordingly. The data will also predict which movies will be dogs not worth making. The mind boggles.
Of course, movie goers would like it too. For example, the movie Pearl Harbor would earn a male-adjusted Nod Factor of 7 or 8 while Ed Guien would earn a full zero. The female-adjusted Nod Factors for the same two pictures would be 1 or 2 for the former and a 9 for the latter. With this information published beside the parental ratings, people would never miss movies they’d like, or have to sleep through ones they wouldn’t.
Thanks to this technology and sampling method, I myself could win an Oscar as the man who brought total cynicism and exploitation to Hollywood. I can hardly wait.