I’m sitting here watching the Grammys and I realize…I don’t know any of these people.

When did I get so old? I watched the Grammys for years and always had a memorable performance that I liked and remembered. I liked the tribute to Prince, but the rest is just noise to me. I recall watching Michael Jackson with an armload of Grammys years ago. I guess we won’t have that kind of recognition again.

I have watched the Oscars for years and they will be coming out soon. I have more memories of the Oscars than any other awards show. As I’ve mentioned here before, I own all the Best Picture winners. I started this several years ago and Bob and I hosted several Oscar parties over the years. The most memorable one we helped with was when we hosted several relatives of Fred Niblo at Jon and Joan’s warehouse years ago. The reason we were thrilled with that one was Fred Niblo was born in York and he was one of the founding members of the Motion Pictures Academy — yes THAT one. They came back to Fred’s hometown and watched the Oscars with us. It was a great brush with greatness. Fred Niblo was a very successful silent film director. He directed greats like Greta Garbo and the first Ben Hur movie. He was a big deal. My buddy Kent Bedient put together a great display first at the Yorkshire Playhouse and now at the Palmer Museum. The family was very impressed with how York has embraced Fred. We had lofty dreams of purchasing his childhood home and turning it into a museum and who knows, someday it might happen.

The Oscars are less than a month away and I’ve only seen two of the movies nominated for Best Picture; the World War 1 epic, 1917 and Ferari vs. Ford. Thanks to Batman, there are now 10 films up for Best Picture rather than five. The Academy felt when The Dark Knight didn’t make it for Best Picture, but Heath Ledger was nominated for the same movie (and won), they changed the rules. It was easier to get to the five movies, but now it’s very difficult to get to 10 movies but, I’ll do my best. It’s ironic that the movie The Joker is up for so many awards, it is the same role Ledger won for The Dark Knight. Will Joaquin make it two for the Joker? Guess we will wait and see.

It’s a shame that The Three Stooges were never recognized for their work. I know, it’s low brow comedy best suited for guys but they lasted 40 years and made over 200 films for their effort. They are sadly all gone now, but thanks to TV, we enjoy their antics in reruns. I remember when Charlie Chaplin was given a lifetime Oscar for his work. He got the longest standing ovation the Oscars have ever seen. He was a genius. He wrote most of the music for his films including the song Smile. He did all his own amazing stunt work and wrote most of the movies.

Groucho Marx was given an honorary Oscar on behalf of his famous brothers. Together they had 13 great movies. Stan Laurel was given an honorary Oscar too for his work with Oliver Hardy, who had sadly passed away before he could see the recognition. Laurel and Hardy were beloved performers in their day making almost as any films as the Stooges. I don’t believe Abbott & Costello were recognized for their work. At one time they were the highest paid comedy team in the world. They were responsible for launching The Andrew Sisters and for giving a new lease of life to the Universal monster movie genre including Dracula (in Bela Lugosi’s second portrayal of the Count), Frankenstein, The Wolf Man and The Invisible Man (all being redone in the next few years) and yet, Bud and Lou were never recognized with any sort of Oscar.

There were other movies that never got a nomination while others did. And some movies that beat out some favorable movies such as How Green Was My Valley beating Citizen Kane for Best Picture. Really? Citizen Kane is considered one of the best pictures of ALL time and yet it didn’t win Best Picture. Chariots of Fire beat out On Golden Pond (despite the two leads winning Best Actor and Actress — Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn) in a shocker that year. Others have swept so many awards such as The Last Emperor without any Best Acting awards and others have flipped flopped. In the 50’s A Streetcar Named Desire won three acting awards but not Best Picture. Did you know The Wizard of Oz lost Best Picture? Then again it lost to Gone With The Wind, but there were a lot of worthy pictures that year. Kathryn Hepburn still holds the record for most Oscars for Actress (4) but I’m guessing Meryl Streep will take over some year. We will see if Tom Hanks wins this year for portraying Fred Rodgers. It will be his third win if he does it. Daniel Day-Lewis has three Best Actor Oscars, as does Jack Nicholson who won one for his Nebraska-based movie, Terms of Endearment.

Nebraska has a few other Oscar connections. Henry Fonda and Marlon Brando, famous Nebraskans have acting Oscars. Sandy Dennis, born in Hastings, has an Oscar as does James Coburn (Laurel). Nebraska is featured in several Oscar winning films including Boys Town, Terms of Endearment (my finger is in that movie), Paper Moon and others. Alexander Payne, from Omaha, has directed many films nominated for Best Picture, but its Director and Producer from Wahoo Darryl Zannuk who holds Nebraska record for Oscars with four himself.

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