I have absolutely nothing to say about the Oscar results. As a film critic and pundit, I am frequently called upon to comment upon the results of key award ceremonies once the prizes are handed out. But not today. I literally have no opinion on who won what at the 84th Academy Awards, which were distributed at the Kodak Theatre overnight. Best picture winner? No comment. Best actress in a supporting role? I have nothing to say. Best sound editing? I remain tight-lipped.
Why? Because I have no idea who won these awards.
A dereliction of professional duty? No. I am merely avoiding finding out the results, all day, so that I may watch last night's ceremony in real time this evening, without any foreknowledge of who picked up the statuettes.
It's become an annual ritual for me, one that recalls that classic episode of The Likely Lads, No Hiding Place, in which Bob and Terry spend the whole day trying to avoid finding out the score of the England match so that they can enjoy the TV highlights without knowing the outcome. I do this twice a year, once for the Golden Globes, once for the Oscars, and I'm getting better at it.
First, you must not turn on the TV or the radio during the day. Media coverage of the Oscars hits saturation point from the moment the cock crows on the day after. Due to the time difference, it's world news as we sleep in this time zone, and so to keep out of the loop is a proper mission. You have to be on your wits all the time.
If I am writing at my laptop, as I usually am, I must not open the internet at any homepage that might have the news headlines, and thus the results. If, say, The Artist has been triumphant (I literally have no idea if it has or not), you will only have to catch a "Silence Is Golden" headline to guess the truth. Even a glance at a photograph from the event will give important information away. It's healthy, I think, to avoid the internet for 12 hours. Good for the soul. And excellent practice for a post-apocalyptic landscape, should that happen. (And to stay off Twitter for a day? That probably adds weeks to your life expectancy, and proves that you're not actually addicted to it.)
The morning papers are fine - the results will have come in too late in the night for my daily to have the scoop. (Daily newspapers are so sweet - they actually really only tell you yesterday afternoon's news.) In London, the Evening Standard, published at lunchtime, must be avoided. It's given away free, so best to avoid train stations. Bunker mentality sets in.
I will probably end my working day - and my news blackout - early, so that the "tape" of last night's Oscars can be safely viewed. You may, in fact, envy me, as I sit down this evening with a glass of wine and not a shred of foreknowledge. It'll be like being there. Except without the tired eyes.
Hey. Let's talk at the water cooler tomorrow.