Category Archives: Award Shows

Dead Or Alive

by Michael Burns

OSCAR FICTION PACKAGE: Well, here’s one way to avoid another no-host awards show. 1,299 words. Illustrations by Mark Fearing and Thomas Warming.


George Markus didn’t like to be kept waiting. Since he’d been nominated for an Academy Award for special effects, the whole industry had recognized his talent. But that was four years ago. Since then, Markus had all but disappeared. Now, practically coming out of left field, he had demanded a meeting with the president of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences who apparently was enmeshed by problems caused by this year’s host-less Oscars.

And so all Markus could do was wait. Sitting in the anteroom outside Berman’s office, Markus closed his eyes and decided to hone his pitch. This has to fucking work, he thought. They have to see its value. And, for the hundredth time, he went over his opening line.

Another twenty minutes went by.

“Mr. Berman will see you now.”

Lost in thought, Markus looked up from his paperwork. He nodded curtly at the secretary, rose from his chair, took a deep breath and followed her into Berman’s office. The President was sitting at his desk.

“Sorry to keep you waiting. What’s on your mind today?” He didn’t bother getting up to shake hands, waving Markus into a facing chair.

Markus ignored the slight. “We’ve come up with something new, Mr. Berman. Next year I can give you the best Oscar show in the Academy’s history.”

No reaction. Maybe bored skepticism.

“What have you got?”

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Everything But Oscar

by Quendrith Johnson

OSCAR FICTION PACKAGE: A screenwriter turned Hollywood blogger obsesses about award shows. 2,673 words. Illustration by Thomas Warming.


He liked to call her Celeste, after Celeste Holm, because he said, “You are destined to be a character actor of writing.” Kenny was the first screenwriter turned journalist she ever met who really got somewhere. And Kenneth J. Bodemire was incredibly smug about it at the time. Framed magazine coverage of himself with famous film names lined a back wall in his Marina Del Rey stronghold on the beach. It looked like a set decorator had given the place a nautical going over.

Since nobody was making any money from journalism these days, Kenny characterized his career collapse with this line: “When the Internet went up, the price of words went way down. And the price of assholes went way up.” Which referred to professional trolls, he said, as if he’d just discovered this decades-plus phenom.

On this day, she saw him up at Peet’s on Montana near 14th Street, one of his favorite “I’m still here” hang-outs. Next thing she knew, he was walking toward her car. Unbelievable. Zip, window down.

“Isn’t there a law against walking under the influence?” she smiled.

In hindsight, she wished she’d had a body mic to record their conversation. At the time Celeste had no way to help him, even as Kenny poured his Tequila-soaked self into her passenger seat. As soon as he got in the Volvo, he quipped, “If you give me $20, I’ll get out.” That was his new reflexive funny line. Celeste side-eyed him, trying not to think how steep his drop had been. She really didn’t like driving around with this level of manic depression energy in a closed space.

“You don’t know how rotten the whole thing is, all of it. Everybody is in on it. Except Oscar.”

“I’d never pegged you for a paranoid schizophrenic, but I’m warming up to it.” It was meant to be funny, but he tightened. “What’s your objective, Kenny: to bring down the entire Award Show establishment?”

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The ICON Award

by Michael Brandman

Hollywood may have too many award shows but everyone still wants to be a winner. 1,929 words. Illustration by Mark Fearing.


Hollywood – 1978

"And the winner is," heralded Artie Edgar, hesitating a beat in an effort8547D799-C475-4659-B563-17A9A283F8B3 to heighten the suspense.

Known mainly for his role in the made-for-cable comedy series, Geezers, Edgar had been tapped to emcee history’s first cable TV awards program, the Inter-Connected-Networks awards, or simply, the ICONs.

The program was being televised nationally on every cable channel, a joint effort to elevate awareness of the non-conventional fare now being offered by a myriad of new programming services.

The year was 1978, fifteen years before the cable industry’s first Emmy nomination. For its time, however, the ICON awards were the symbol of excellence in cable programming.

"The ICON goes to Burlesque Heaven," Artie Edgar gleefully announced.

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Burning Desire
Part Two

by Daniel M. Kimmel

The director makes the hottest film of his life – at the expense of everyone else’s. 2,157 words. Part One. Illustration by Thomas Warming.


If the goal was to keep film director Frank O’Leary intrigued, then Abigor Productions & Effects had already succeeded. Apparently, Seth Abigor was rolling the dice to impress him. Not that he would let Abigor know that. As a company with no track record, the helmer figured he should be able to get its services for a song. Fair is fair. The effects house would cash in after Firebug was released and everyone was blown away by its work. O’Leary simply had no reason to pay top dollar for it.

Abigor removed a gold cigarette case from his jacket and offered O’Leary one of its contents. The helmer passed but examined the case. He’d only seen such things in old movies. Placing a non-filtered cigarette between his lips, Abigor snapped the thumb and forefinger of his right hand together and lit it with his fingertip.

O’Leary responded with a nervous laugh. “You’re quite the magician.”

“Nothing magical about it, Frank. Haven’t you guessed who I am?”

The director glanced at the door to make sure he had a direct exit in case the situation got any stranger. “Why no, Seth, who do you think you are?”

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