By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
I mean, there is a pre-game show, albeit hosted by failed Roy Firestone successor Chris Connelly. No. 1 Lakers fan Jack Nicholson is in the crowd alongside Sports Illustrated cover girl Beyoncé. And hostess Ellen DeGeneres seems to be wearing Michael Irvin's garish suit and Billy "White Shoes" Johnson's glistening cleats.
But when the accolades start flowing and the actresses start fawning at Academy Awards LXXIX, where in the name of Oscar Gamble is sports? In a painfully boring three hours and 51 minutes worth of self-important stuffiness, the Oscars pitched a suicidal shutout.
"Worst thing about the Oscars," comedian Jerry Seinfeld joked during a 2002 show at, of all places, UT-Arlington's Texas Hall, "is that they never tell you the final scores. We're Americans. We not only want to know who won, but by how much. Was it a blowout? Overtime? Tell us! All we really get is a bunch of people all dressed alike patting each other on the back going, 'Good job of pretending to be someone else.'"
Last year at least we got a host (Jon Stewart) who played college soccer, a winning flick (Cinderella Man) about boxing, Mavs owner Mark Cuban with two movies in play and, oddly, Don Nelson sitting behind George Clooney. This year? Oh, the Kodak Theatre was packed full of its traditional red carpet, black tuxedos and enough white cleavage to staff four Hooters and one Busta Rhymes video. But sadly, sports got snubbed.
Zero nominations for Invincible or The Benchwarmers or Duck Season or Glory Road or Gridiron Gang or Nacho Libre or Talladega Nights or even We Are Marshall.
Without a shred of sports, the event was about as vibrant as Bill Parcells and Teller talkin' Texas football. Clearly, Hollywood needs a fresh infusion of subtle sports subplots.
Wouldn't it be more interesting if the Oscars went to ...
Best Documentary: Happy Feet
Finally bored selling whole rats in its salads, Southlake McDonald's pushes a new kids' meal featuring contaminated peanut butter smeared over Barbaro's severed hooves.
Best Drama: The Departed
Motivated by being discarded from the metroplex, Steve Nash, Alfonso Soriano, Norv Turner and Terrell Bolton form an axis of architectural evil hell-bent on exacting revenge by re-designing a "Shallow Ellum" infested with fake boobs, leased SUVs, kid-friendly theme restaurants and an Anna Nicole Smith museum.
Best Mystery: Letters From Iwo Jima
After incorrectly deciphering snail-mail correspondence from the Far East, Michael Irvin gets fired by ESPN after blowing the budget on an NFC East preview tracing the African-American roots of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.
Best Comedy: The Last King of Scotland
Refusing to call his dictatorial predecessor by name, new Cowboys coach Wade Phillips instead slaps Bill Parcells with a peculiar moniker derived from his resemblance to portly, pale golfer Colin Montgomerie.
Best Short Film: Click
When backup Mike Smith calls for advice facing shootouts, Dallas Stars goalie Marty Turco hangs up.
Best Fantasy: Blood Diamond
Frustrated by persistent rumors of steroid use, Texas Rangers slugger Sammy Sosa holds a press conference and explains in meticulously broken English how he briefly contracted HIV from a plasma-soaked pendant he won at a raffle during Tracy Rowlett's extraordinarily premature retirement announcement bash.
Best Special Effects: Jesus Camp
Charged with ending the team's 10-year playoff win drought, Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett eschews traditional minicamps and training camp for a bonding retreat that climaxes with Martin Gramatica shot-gunning six thimbles of communion wine and Rowdy convincing the Holy Ghost to sign a minimum contract as backup holder.
Best Tear-Jerker: Little Children
After failing miserably to attract donations or interest from reasonable adults, SMU football coach Phil Bennett and George Bush target a new demographic gullible enough to embrace the new presidential library on the merits of being big and shiny.
Best Animation: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Seeking to boost suddenly sagging sweeps ratings, KXAS-Channel 5's David Finfrock repeatedly wheezes while Mike Snyder and Jane McGarry don eye patches, sit uncomfortably close and speak in monotone, run-on sentences as they crack open Byron Nelson's sternum and find two more lost pieces of JFK video.
Best Thriller: The Devil Wears Prada
Before roaming the country as the world's most notorious serial niller, Terrell Owens ducks into his closet and finds 25 million reasons to accessorize.
Best Twist: Notes on a Scandal
Frantically searching for clues about the rise of coal-fired power plants and the glut of mayoral candidates at City Hall, investigators Zac Crain and Bryant Gumbel instead find in Laura Miller's credenza a scratch pad filled with parade etchings and a betting slip backing the Miami Heat as 6-1 underdogs to win the 2006 NBA Finals.
Best Blood 'n' Guts: Half Nelson
Implementing his own brand of justice, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban settles a long-running family feud by first firing Donnie Nelson, then using his Swiss Army Computer to slice Don Nelson into two pieces.
Best Low-Budget Indie: Dreamgirls
Desperate for their team and their sport to regain relevancy, Mike Modano's old "C" and Dave Tippett's misplaced mustache stage NHL All-Star Games every Wednesday night and give Britney Shears and Norah Jones entry-level gigs as Stars Ice Girls.