03 March 2014

Oscars? Carnaval? Oscars? Help!

The unthinkable is happening this evening, Sunday. The (for me) all-important 86th Academy Awards are scheduled to start at 9:00 p.m. Brasília time, the very same hour at which the Império da Tijuca samba school is scheduled to step onto Rio’s Sambódromo runway as the first of the evening’s six samba schools. What a conundrum! Well, this would not have been a conundrum if, like most normal people, Mark and I had cable television. If we did have cable television, I could watch the Oscars on TNT and Carnaval on Globo’s channel 1, and switch back and forth to my heart’s content. But this year I have been hoist by my own petard. Globo, which usually transmits the Oscars live, chose instead — and rightly so — to stick to its Brazilianness and just transmit Carnaval. So no Oscar broadcast on Globo. No TNT in our house. No Oscars, period.

In past years I’ve watched the Oscars on Globo, even though they start an hour late (after the novela) and translate the proceedings in a loud voice-over, leaving me to strain to hear the original English. I mean, the translations are very competent, but not every reference or joke translates well. Every year I try to find someone on the Internet who livestreams the Oscars, but I’ve never succeeded. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences keeps a tight hold on its intellectual property, and even in this day and age of "everything’s available on the web," this show is most emphatically not. So I know what is going to happen this evening. I’m going to be relegated to getting written updates on the Oscars from the various sites that can at least do that. What a bore. Globo’s only sop is that tomorrow, Monday, it will offer a cobbled-together special program called "Tapete Vermelho do Oscar" (Oscar’s Red Carpet) at the ridiculous time of 3:34 p.m. Too little, too late.

These people know their movies!!
One year we tried to satisfy my Oscar cravings by going to an Oscar party at Cavídeo, a real film buff’s video store in Rio. They show the Oscars in English, with nice, quiet subtitles, in a room above the store. But they also have a hard-fought film trivia competition before the show starts. Well, Mark and I felt pretty smug when we learned of the competition. After all, we’d been watching films since — well, for a long time. I admit to thinking that my knowledge of film was most likely superior to that of anyone else in that room. This thinking was fueled by a Brazilian who, hearing us speak English, came over and asked if he could join our "team"; he figured we’d do well. Well, we didn’t. We were pathetic. Awful. A disgrace to Hollywood. We lost, and lost badly. Brazilian moviegoers are really something. They know their movies.

I really haven’t felt like watching Carnaval at all this year; I haven’t seen anything in the papers or on television to excite me. Mangueira, the only school I really care about, will not be coming out until one or two o’clock or later in the morning, and that’s w-a-a-ay past my bedtime. The schools that parade tomorrow? Do I care? One thing for sure, I’ll probably still watch the apuração, when the winners are announced, on Wednesday. Except — oh, no — the apuração collides head on with the amistoso, the friendly soccer game, the last one Brazil will play in before the World Cup, against South Africa! Both are on Wednesday afternoon! They’re going to overlap! Which one will Globo broadcast? Here we go again!

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