And the Academy Award goes to… me

Chris Carmona

The biggest perk for those of us who didn’t major in something that also happens to be a job is that we still get to dream. I mean, you (the accountant) can still dream, but, if everything goes as planned, your career is essentially mapped out and almost completely absent of surprises. I, on the other hand, have just completed the acceptance speech for my third Oscar. My first two Academy Awards will naturally be for Best Original Screenplay (I’ll have created a subgenre for cinema – both provocative, unsettling and overloaded with plot twists – that will be known, much to my humble dismay, as Carmo-noir). My first acceptance speech will be generic-Carmona: insanely witty, concise and deeply heartfelt. My second acceptance speech will be called, again to my dismay, “the Citizen Kane of acceptance speeches.” It’ll be quirky yet introspective, hilarious but sad, somehow both gripping and soothing. It will mark the longest minute that live television has ever seen. There will be documentaries devoted to it. The President will quote my acceptance speech during his State of the Union address. All to my humble dismay.

But this isn’t the acceptance speech you get to read. That’s for 2017. Here’s the 2020 acceptance speech, for my third Oscar: Best Director. I’ll have finally engraved my name as an auteur of American film, this being only the second full-length motion picture that I will have directed, a tragic story of polygamy and incest in rural Utah with a twist ending that would make M. Knight Shyamalan blush. By this time, Adam Brody will have become a reputable enough actor to present the award. He’ll read off the nominees, holding extra long for the applause to finally fade away after chanting my pious name. When minutes follow and the crowd fails to subside, he’ll reluctantly continue, in vain, announcing the other nominees.

“And the winner is,” Brody says, opening the envelope while the silent auditorium awaits. As he playfully rolls his eyes, I’m already leaning over to kiss my girlfriend. “Christian Carmona for Winding Trees.”

The crowd erupts into a deafening roar. I gratefully salute everyone, shake Clooney’s hand, high five an ecstatic Matt Stone. I reluctantly drag my feet to the stage, rubbing my carefully disheveled hair, avoiding eye contact with Angelina Jolie, Ashley Olsen, Eva Longoria and the rest of my ex-girlfriends in the audience.

“Thanks, thanks. No, really. That’s enough.”

On a dime, the audience silences itself, worried they might miss a single moment of what’s sure to be another epic speech. I look over at Scorsese, his enormous eye brows standing out of the crowd like a red and white striped Waldo shirt.

“Marty, if I could break this in half, I would. The rest of you, you’re bums.”

The crowd laughs; I don’t break a smile because I’m serious.

“There comes a time in some men’s lives when they realize that they’re destined for greatness. For me, tonight (pause) marks the eighteenth anniversary of that day. When I was 19 years-old, I sat around the campus of my alma mater on a gorgeous spring afternoon, admiring the beautiful student body ant-marching before me when I overheard an adorable young woman talking to a male classmate. When the beautiful coed giggled, ‘Is Harrisburg in Germany?’ and her young suitor replied, ‘No, dumbass, it’s in Philadelphia,’ I realized how insanely stupid the average person is.

“I’ve begun to understand that it doesn’t matter how much money you make, or how many hundreds of thousands of women you sleep with at the same time while a household-name actor sitting in this very audience tapes it, the most important thing in life is to not be an imbecile. For that, I owe every bit of gratitude to myself. And a much smaller, less significant amount to my parents.

“Mother, you’re smart. I realized this at the age of six, when you first became competitive during board games. Similarly, I discovered where I inherited my competitive spirit. But I believe it was at the age of eight, when I saw you swindle a helpless Shop Rite employee into giving you free groceries because they ran out of paper bags, that I discovered you were also cunning. You could sell the carcass of a skunk to a trust-fund vegan. Your strength, your tenacity and your perfectionism are partly responsible for why I’m here, yet again, accepting this award.

“Dad, your compassion has the power to kill a baby seal. Your passive aggressive behavior could make Gandhi eat a cow. In you, I learned about the value of love and the power of silence.” (I stand silently for thirty seconds to reiterate my point.)

“Sisters. Vanessa, I believe you single handedly proved that no matter how hard you try, you cannot teach someone to be homosexual. Despite spending half of my childhood dressed as a girl while you caked on our mother’s make up, I’m not gay. Desiree, I beat you at nearly everything we compete in, but you’d beat nearly anyone else. I’ll give you this compliment, which has nothing to do with my Oscar, and leave it at that: If the WNBA were a woman, it would not be you.

“Mary Kate, I couldn’t have done this without you. I’ve loved you since you stopped making horrible straight-to-video movies, when I was just a lonely undergraduate student who knew you only through the tabloid magazines I’d skim while buying Hot Pockets at the Supermarket. I recall the horrible scrutiny you underwent. You were the one with the eating disorder (when you tried to eat the country of Bolivia through your nose), right? That was Ashley? Well, I’ve slept with her, too. She was before you, honey, don’t fret. And you’re better. Not just the sex, but everything. I’d choose you over any Olsen. I’ll say it now, I’d choose you over anyone in the entire state. Even the countless young actresses in this room who I’ve already spent romantic evenings with. You. You’re the one, Ashley. I mean Mary Kate.

“To my friends. There was a time when I used to hyperventilate and stay awake for weeks because I would look around the room and see all of these average-minded, middle class people, flawed with genes that haven’t been surgically altered, and I’d wonder if this was the end of my road. Thank Buddha I was wrong. Every one of you, under the right lighting, are perfect human beings. I love you all, even off the set, even without the make up and the scripted improv and the digitally enhanced personality. I love you because Buddha loves you, and because the late Clint Eastwood loved you, and because, well, you’re the only family I have. Besides the one I just mentioned.

“The music is about to start, and yet there are so many more people whom I have to thank. And so it is with life. But I don’t have time for that, you can finish that profound thought yourself. I’ll thank my agent, Bob, and all of you who worked on the film that I addressed by pronouns because I don’t know your real name. My housekeeper, Shakira, because you let me call you Shakira instead of your real name, whatever that may be. My accountant, Bob, because you remind me that things could always be worse. And finally, my lawyer, Lucifer, because nobody can cook a steak like you. And as the music starts (the music starts) I’ll bid you all good night.

“Oh yeah, real quick. My two children: Christian Junior and Christina. You light up my life, inspire me, et cetera. And their mother, for being punctual. Okay, goodnight.”

And so I walk off the stage. To laughter, applause and the redundantly soothing tones of elevator music. My post-award press conference involves only walking across the platform while a machine gun of light bulbs flash. Nobody even calls my name because they know I don’t answer questions. I don’t do any interviews, in fact. The press, like my colleagues, my family and my fans, all realize that I write and I work out of passion, not for the money, not for the women and certainly not for the fame. Three Oscars later, I’ll still be the same humble servant of life who dedicated his days tutoring inner city youths, volunteering at animal shelters and writing acceptance speeches for awards he never won.