Something is really sticking in my craw about the 2018 Oscars. It’s been bugging me all day. No, it’s not that Lady Bird got shut out, although I’m not exactly tickled about that either, in large part because it was very good and in lesser part because it was one of the two Best Picture nominees I actually saw and I wanted to be able to say things like “Did you see Lady Bird won a bunch of awards? It was so good” in conversation to impress people. (Although, in its own way, being the “Umm Lady Bird should have won” guy is also kind of fun.) But no. That I can deal with. My problem is that no one really tried to win that Jet Ski.
I mean, it was a free Jet Ski. Who turns down a free Jet Ski? Come on. All anyone had to do was give the shortest acceptance speech of the night, which ended up belonging to Phantom Thread costume designer Mark Bridges, whose speech clocked in at an even 30 seconds. You could give a good acceptance speech in under 20 seconds, easy. “Wow, this is amazing. Wow. I’d like to thank everyone out there who made this possible. You can all have a ride on my Jet Ski. Thanks.” Boom. Done. How was that so hard? Joe Pesci gave a three-second speech at the 1991 Oscars and there wasn’t even a recreational water vehicle on the line. We should give it to him retroactively.
The best case scenario would have been one big star making a blatant play for the Jet Ski early in the ceremony — say, Sam Rockwell — and then others piling on and trying to beat him. Picture that chaos. Picture, like, Allison Janney just walking up there, saying “Thanks,” then grabbing her trophy and walking off. Picture Guillermo del Toro one-upping her by nodding and smiling and exiting the stage without uttering a word. Picture all of it getting Kobe Bryant’s competitive juices flowing again to the point that he refuses to even accept the award on-stage, scoring a ruthless 0.0 time. It’s all anyone would be talking about for days. We’d refer to it, forever, as the Jet Ski Oscars. I would have liked that.