Kevin: It’s that time of year again, when Hollywood’s biggest players take time away from sexually harassing each other and stealing people’s ideas to lecture the rest of America about morals and ethics. Otherwise known as the Academy Awards! Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway are reportedly returning after last year’s epic Best Picture flub, which means two things: 1) We will have to sit through a painfully unfunny bit gently poking fun at that gaffe, and 2) Everything possible will be done to make sure that doesn’t happen again. That means the fictional Oscars telecast from “The Bodyguard” is still the one to beat in terms of unscripted excitement and drama, although if nothing else Jimmy Kimmel can rest assured that he could down a whole bottle of Ambien before the show and still be a better host than Robert Wuhl:
(Originally posted Dec. 4, 2017)
Kevin: Awards season officially began last week, with “Call Me by Your Name” and “Get Out” cleaning up at the Gotham Awards , whatever those are (meanwhile “Geostorm” went home empty handed, ‘aint that a bitch!). Of course the main event is still the Academy Awards, which will be following up its most buzzed-about ceremony in years following the epic Best Picture flub in which Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway initially called out the wrong winner. However, in terms of sheer drama, celebrity meltdowns, attempted assassinations, and shitty scripted banter, nothing will ever top the fictional Oscars ceremony from “The Bodyguard,” which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary:
Ironically, for a film that features so much Oscar talk, “The Bodyguard” is shockingly mediocre despite boasting the combined star power of Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston, both then at the height of their popularity. Director Mick Jackson seems to go out of his way to avoid anything that might come close to an action scene, while Costner had more sexual chemistry with Robert Duvall in “Open Range” than he does with Houston.
(Interesting fact: The script was originally written in the ‘70s as a potential vehicle for Ryan O’Neal and Diana Ross, around the same time that Lee Majors asked his best friend O’Neal to guard his wife Farrah Fawcett’s body while he was away shooting a film. Why Majors put that kind of trust in one of the most notorious lotharios in Hollywood at the time is still a mystery, but either way it didn’t take long for Farrah Fawcett Majors to become Farrah Fawcett O’Neal.)
But despite the fact that it kind of sucks, “The Bodyguard” apparently holds some nostalgic sentimental value for people of a certain age in 1992, when it seemed like you couldn’t escape the film or especially its blockbuster soundtrack. I watched it once when it came out on video and never had a desire to see it again, but even though most of it quickly receded from my mind, I still have not forgotten the hilariously cheap and cheesy recreation of the Oscars that takes up most of its third act.
So before we start handicapping the real Oscar contenders this year, let’s take a look at the fictional frontrunner for Best Actress in the world of “The Bodyguard,” Houston’s character Rachel Marron, who is so obviously based on the real singer that she might as well be called “Whitney Dallas.” Marron should be riding high coming into awards season, except for the fact that she is simultaneously getting death threats from a crazed fan AND is being targeted for assassination by a hitman. We later discover that it was Marron’s sister who put a hit on her after drunkenly stumbling into a random bar, and I’ll just say that it’s a good thing for my brother and sister that all I usually do when I get drunk is order random shit from Amazon (that being said, I can’t wait for my “Death Wish” 3-pack to arrive!)
Anyway, while Costner’s ex-Secret Service agent Frank Farmer is focused on her safety, Marron is focused on getting Oscar gold for her performance in the film “Queen of the Night.” We learn early on that “the smart money” is on Marron to win, with John Tesh describing her as a “versatile” singer-actress, although despite featuring A LOT of singing from Houston in “The Bodyguard,” we never actually see any clips of her supposed powerhouse performance in “Queen of the Night.”
That’s probably no coincidence, because as much as I hate to speak ill of the dead, it’s no shock that the real Whitney did not exactly get a lot of Oscar buzz for her performance in “The Bodyguard” (there hasn’t been this much of a chasm between an actor and the role they were playing since “Entourage” tried to pass off Adrian Grenier as the world’s biggest movie star). Marron could charitably be described as temperamental and demanding, and less charitably as a pain in the ass beyotch. She also makes it hard for us to root for her survival since she is always yelling at Frank for overreacting about a possible threat, even though he always turns out to be right, while her erratic behavior in the film can probably be chalked up to the fact that in real life Houston was starting to come under the “influence” of Bobby Brown.
But despite her real-life shortcomings as an actress, in “The Bodyguard” Houston is apparently the “odds on favorite” to walk away with the Best Actress Oscar, at least according to a rather bizarre article in The Hollywood Reporter:
Now I have to give credit to whoever in the prop department worked up this mock front page, because unlike in “The Karate Kid III” and especially the Los Angeles Chronicle from “Tango & Cash,” at least the accompanying article actually has something to do with the headline, although I’m a little confused by the assertion that “Queen of the Night” is “raking a quotient of the International Market share that is larger than the national debt.”
Even stranger is this quote from studio accountant Stephanie Claxton: “I’ve burned out three calculators trying to figure out what to do with all this dough. This is a larger positive cash flow than those soft porn aerobisize tapes ever hoped to achieve.”
Uhhh, I’m starting to think maybe some of this “dough” has been going up Ms. Claxton’s nose, but either way, while she seems like a fun chick to party with, I think the studio is probably going to be sending their head accountant to brush up on her media training before letting her talk to The Hollywood Reporter again.
Finally though, after more than 90 minutes of Oscar talk, we finally get to the climactic ceremony. Now considering that the mysterious assassin is still targeting her after gunning down her sister, you’d think Marron would bow out of attending the ceremony for her own safety, but apparently rubbing her success in the faces of the losers from her hometown is more important than making sure her son doesn’t lose his mother. Seriously, she tells Farmer the night before the ceremony that back in “Squirrel Hill” she bet everyone $50 that she’d win an Oscar someday, which makes me think she was just as annoying and insufferable back then as she is now.
(To read the rest of our post on “The Bodyguard,” please click HERE)