If Only It Happened This Way . . .

A Satirical Short Story:
George Clooney and the Kingdom of the Coveted Oscar

By Omar P.L. Moore/The Popcorn Reel

February 29, 2008

From left to right at the Governor's Ball in Los Angeles, post-Oscars: Joel Coen, George Clooney, and Sarah Larson.  (Photo: Todd Wawrychuk/ŠA.M.P.A.S.)

Chapter 1: Honeymoon in Barbados  

He was relaxing in Barbados on one of its sumptuous beaches -- the "he" being Mr. George Clooney, who goes by the name of King George -- at least that's what his new friend Sarah calls him.  Mr. Clooney was wearing a George W. Bush mask. 

"Dear King," Sarah asked, "why are you wearing that?"  Incredulous, he turned to her and without removing the mask replied, "I don't want a tan, I don't need to look like George Hamilton."  Sarah pushed up his mask for a second and then slid it back down over his face.

"Mr. President, have pity on the working man!" she admonished.  "Do you know just how hard it is to get a tan like that?  He had to work hard for that.  Morning, noon and night.  Think about all the facial exercises he had to do to make the sun shine into every crevice of his face."

Removing the mask, Mr. Clooney rolled his eyes just like he did in "Oceans Thirteen" to Andy Garcia.  Sarah slapped him hard -- a wallop of a bitch slap -- on the cheek, then put the mask back on his face.

"You're just jealous," she said.

"Well I have an Oscar.  He doesn't."

Sarah stuck out her tongue at him.
"And I have a special Nobel Peace award."

"But you didn't win an Oscar this year.  And you never will again."

George took off the mask.  A tear streaked down his face. 

Sarah couldn't believe what she was seeing.  There had to be a good reason for this.

"Were you thinking about Oprah?", Sarah said.

"Oscar, not Oprah.  Oscar!", George said angrily. 

Quickly and calmly, George Clooney returned to normal.  Turning to Sarah, he looked firmly into her eyes.

"Look it here my dear.  I will win another Oscar.  I'll show you.  Just you wait," intoned George with a teary voice, he placed the mask back on his face.  He rose from his deckchair and slipped into the Armani suit that lay nearby.  "And I have good information that George Hamilton slept with the sun!  Many times, okay!"

With that, he trudged off through the sand barefooted, carrying his Birkenstock shoes. 

"Hey, that's George Clooney, pretending to be the guy who lost the U.S. election in 2000!", shouted a Barbados local. 

Within seconds scores of people surrounded him.

"Go away, go on, get lost.  I'm the war president.  Leave me alone!"

One of the people said, "Mr. President, I know bush.  You're no Bush.  You're just a Hollywood fake.  You don't care about Darfur.  You just want face time."

Chapter 1 and a 1/2: Juno Wonderland, Milkshakes Optional

Meanwhile, somewhere in the Junoverse sat Daniel Day-Lewis, who had a chance meeting with Juno MacGuff at the Johnny Sprockets restaurant, talking to her about what it was like to play Ellen Page.  No sweat, she said, as she sipped a milkshake.  "Is this yours?", she asked Daniel.  "Not mine," he politely declared.

Precisely nine and a half-minutes later, Miss MacGuff had a bump showing in her abdomen area.  "Well my milkshake, it's better than yours," she said joyously.  "And I'm pregnant."

"That's wonderful news, Ju.  But it's not my milkshake, sorry," said Day-Lewis, who was focused on looking for his wife Rebecca.  For some reason that only Hollywood insiders would know, Daniel left two $100 bills for Juno.  Miss MacGuff's exuberance waned not at Mr. Day-Lewis's milkshake revelation or at the mysterious donation of $200, but at the realization that she would have to give up her baby to an already-pregnant Angelina Jolie, who was desperately starving for another child after her adoptions of children on the African continent, who according to her were apparently worth only three-fifths of the value of a child born in Vermont, she had said previously at one-too many press conferences.  The story, according to one of the unholy gossip rag websites (CNV dot something fishy) is that Miss Jolie would get the newborn that Juno gave her, so she could give it to a Darfurian villager, who in turn would give up her own child to Jolie.

"That woman has done nothing but Tomb Raid our continent," said an official at the African Embassy in the United States.  "We need to get a resolution drafted to prevent these disgraceful neocolonial adoptions.  We should require that she put her kids in all of her movies.  Make them movie stars, yes?"

Chapter 2: Tilda, Queen of Orlando

In Edinburgh, Tilda Swinton had just finished a method acting session with the Loch Ness Monster for a scene in a new film called "Demonfighter".  She plays Vanessa Lawrence, a disgraced attorney turned versatile actress.  "Phew!" Miss Swinton said, as she slithered off a non-computer generated Loch Ness Monster.  "Intense stuff."

As she walked back into her trailer, a figure resembling Michael Clayton sat waiting for Miss Swinton, who was carrying a sword left behind on the set of "Elizabeth: The Golden Age".

"Aaarh!  You bastard!  You scared me three-quarters to death!  I could have used this against you!"

Lo and behold, Michael Clayton was actually George Clooney.

Clooney said: "Yes, you could have.  Guess I'm the lucky one that you didn't, aren't I?  And you could have called me George Michael Clayton.  But you called me bastard instead, and that doesn't make me lucky.  It makes me mad.  You called me that same blasphemy at the BAFTAs.  I didn't appreciate it then.  And I don't appreciate it now.  Gimme your Oscar.  Come on.  Where is it?  Hand it over right now." 
Tilda's Oscar sat hoisted above a flashlight.  Oscar looked uncomfortable.  As if he were about to melt under the strain of all those fake paparazzi lights.

"No chance!  On guard!", Tilda Swinton brandished her sword.

"Put that down.  It's not real."

"Okay, but my Oscar is very real.  Just like my face."
"Look, I just want to take care of your Oscar for a while, okay?  It belongs in America.  The United States of America.  Do you have any idea where that is?  Because a lot of Americans don't.  All Oscars belong in America.  Not Spain, not Ireland, not Scotland.  And definitely not France.  Why do you think the ratings in America for the Academy Awards stunk this year?"

"Because an American didn't win?"
"Wrong answer.  Because I didn't win."
"Listen, George.  You need to get back on a plane where the sun shines and leave me alone.  I've got a movie to shoot here.  Why don't you go back to Syriana or whichever country you came from?"

"Tilda.  I will stick that Oscar where the sun doesn't shine if you don't hand it over to me right now."

"Listen to yourself.  Americans like you just don't make any sense.  Did you hear what you just said?"

"I will destroy this trailer, okay?  You'll never work in Scotland again!"

"No.  Don't -- don't touch this trailer!  Don't touch my country!  When you touch this country, you touch Sean Connery, you touch Ewan McGregor, you touch . . . you touch Anthony Hopkins!"
Tilda realized she just made a mistake uttering Anthony Hopkins' name. 

"Sorry.  He's Welsh."

George was beginning to lose his Armani cool because whenever he rhymes in a sentence that means that he is about to go crazy.  "Lady Orlando, I'm gonna count to three, and if you don't get that Oscar for me . . ."

"Look, George.  Hold on.  We can negotiate."
Just then, George Clooney shoved on the Bush mask.

"Does it look like I'm negotiating?"

Chapter 2 and 1/8: Mr. Day-Lewis Goes To Hollywood

To his utter astonishment, Daniel Day-Lewis was called before the Academy's 6,000 members.  He was called before them to defend himself to prevent his Oscar for "There Will Be Blood" from being revoked.

"Mr. Day," said the Academy presiding officer.
"It's Mr. Day-Lewis, actually," said Daniel Day-Lewis.

"You are here because you called Juno a Ju.  And the word Ju is an anti-Jewish remark that will not be tolerated by the Academy.  Jon Stewart and Billy Crystal are the only two people on earth that are allowed to called Juno a Ju, " the Academy's presiding officer continued.

At this moment Mr. Day-Lewis was getting a bit frustrated.  His anger was deeply manifested in his excessive politeness.
"Good members of the Academy, please.  I beseech your sweet ears.  I didn't insult Juno nor would I ever in a million Sundays.  I mean, the movie Juno stars in as Ellen Page, goodness, that movie stinks to high heaven.  But I would never insult a Jewish person, or anyone else.  I would never insult the Academy or Juno.  Her name is Ju for short.  It's not anti-Jewish.  It's pro-Ju.  Ju for Juno.  That's what everyone calls her.  And her last name is MacGuff.  That's Scottish."

"I know.  She's related to Tilda Swinton," said the Academy's presiding officer.

"Everybody's related to Tilda Swinton," said Mr. Day-Lewis.  "Big stinkin' deal."

Chapter 3: Juno Versus Jolie

Juno herself had some good news and bad news.  The good news is that she woke up in Tuscany after meeting Angelina Jolie there to present the Oscar winner with Juno's newborn son.  And that's goodnight to the good news, because at this instant, and ever so suddenly, as she sat up in a king-sized bed in a hotel, a bad feeling developed in the pit of her stomach, a stomach which she rubbed slowly, then a little faster . . . then a little faster still.  She stopped.  On her face was a look that spelled realization, which then turned into the following:

"Oh no.  Ohmigod.  Oh me.  Oh my.  No. I. . .  I . . . I've abandoned my child!  I'VE ABANDONED MY CHILD!  I'VE ABANDONED MY BOY!  That wicked bad milkshake!  WICKED BAD!  I HAVE SINNED!  I'M A SINNER FOR INFINITY TIMES INFINITY!

Just then, a Hotel Tuscana maid who looked just like Angelina Jolie burst into Juno's room.  "Miss Juno.  Miss Juno, you must be having a nightmare."
"No, no, no," Juno MacGuff insisted.  "This is real.  Where's my child?"
Juno realized that the maid was Angelina Jolie.

"Angelina Jolie!  You little wagon witch!  Give me my baby!"  Juno demanded.

"I'm sorry, young lady.  I don't know what on earth you're talking about.  My name is Angelina Holie.  I am holy, like Mother Teresa.  I would never take your child without your permission.  I have a little Beowulf of my own.  And it's a naughty little Beowulf."

"Mother Teresa is as dead as disco.  Got it?  You took my child.  Give me back my son!  Now!"
"Hush now my dear child.  Let me sedate you, no?"

Juno arose from her woozy slumber, sitting up in her bed.

"Sedate?  My name's Juno, not you-no.  Juno!  It's --"
Angelina Jolie smothered Juno's face with a pillow.  After three seconds, Juno was out cold.  As dead as the Macarena.

Or was she?

Chapter 4:  The Academy Bares All

The Academy presiding officer continued to hold court.  Not one of the 6,000 members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences had left the room in Beverly Hills, where the hearing of Daniel Day-Lewis was being held.   "You wouldn't call Nigel "Nig" for short, would you?  That would be offensive to black people."

Daniel Day-Lewis looked puzzled.  "I'm sorry, but I don't understand.  I haven't offended anyone black.  What do black people have to do with my Oscar?  You took my Oscar from me for no good reason.  I'm not Marlon Brando.  I'm not Sascheen Littlefeather.  I'm not George C. Scott.  I don't know any Nigels.  And I don't know any Nigs either."

The Academy's presiding officer pressed on, unimpressed.  "Isn't Matthew Broderick right when he said in "Glory" that 'the Irish aren't known for their fondness of the coloreds'?"

"That's ridiculous.  And I'd give my left foot to defend the opposite of that view.  I mean, if what Matthew said is true, then how do you explain O'Bama?  Lots of Irish people in Illinois love him!"

"Oh who?"  The Academy's presiding officer was confused.

"O'Bama.  Last time I checked, he was Irish."

"O what?"

"O Brother, Where Art Thou?  Oh, nothing.  Forget it."  Mr. Day-Lewis was becoming exasperated.
The Academy's presiding officer wasn't at all interested in what Mr. Day-Lewis had to say.  "Mr. Day, the last thing the Academy wants is for blacks to think that we're a discriminatory organization.  C'mon -- in 80 years we've given out eleven acting Oscars to black actors.  Name them all and you'll get your Oscar back."

"I swear on the life of Juno MacGuff -- a life snuffed out unmercifully a few minutes ago by Angelina Jolie in Tuscany -- if you can name all eleven, your Oscar will be given back to you."

"Wait -- Angelina Jolie just murdered someone.  Aren't you going to revoke her Oscar?"

"Why on earth not?"

"Because she won her Oscar for playing a role in the movie "Girl, Interrupted".  Juno was  interrupted.  Jolie was the interrupter.  And that's that."
Mr. Day-Lewis was puzzled.  He couldn't swallow this bit of bizarre logic, nor could he swallow the fact that the well-respected Academy member who was chairing this very hearing attended by all 6,000 of its esteemed members and talking to him for all of this time . . . was completely naked.
The Academy's presiding officer was Diablo Cody.

"What are you staring at, Mr. Day?  Name the eleven black actor winners now please, not next week!"
"Hattie McDaniel, Sidney Poitier, Lou Gossett, Jr., Whitney H -- No - Whoopi Goldberg, Denzel Washington, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Halle Berry, Denzel Washington again, Jamie Foxx, Forest Whitaker, Jennifer Hudson," said Daniel.
"Correct.  Give the man his Oscar back.  This meeting is adjourned.  Thank you."

After the meeting, Diablo Cody confessed to Daniel Day-Lewis that: "I killed Juno.  I ordered the hit on Juno.  There will be no Juno sequels.  Teenage pregnancy -- bad.  Strippers with a heart of Oscar gold -- good."

"From what I see, I definitely agree."

Just then, Rebecca Miller, the wife of Mr. Day-Lewis, slapped her husband.  Very hard.

"What's that for?  Rebecca, I love you, but when the bare evidence is staring you right in the face . . ."

She slapped him again.

"I'm staring you in the face."

Chapter 5: Oscar Glory - The Final Chapter

George Clooney returned to Barbados, with a melted Oscar.
"It's so hot here," George said.  He was sweating bullets.
"What's that?," asked Sarah.
"It's my Oscar.  I had to wrestle Tilda Swinton and Anton Chigurh for it.  And I lost the coin toss to my friend-o in the process.  Sarah, I have to go back to America.  And if you come back with me to the land of white picket fences and wild orchids, I will ask you for your hand in marriage."

He had his fingers crossed behind his back, but then uncrossed them.  Sarah had not seen what George was doing.

"Did you know that Tilda and Anton have talked about getting married?  I heard them talk about it.  Tilda is representing Anton in his mass, mass murder case in West Texas.  It was all her idea -- but she's a corporate attorney.  She's never tried a criminal case in her life."

"My King, that's wonderful.  But why didn't you represent him?  You're a fixer," Sarah said.

"I think I need to fix myself up.  With you.  How do you feel about marriage?  Partners?"

"My Dear King, I'm not sure yet.  We've only been dating for two hundred weeks.  I don't know if I'm ready just yet."

George looked disappointed.  He tried again.

"I'm asking you, as your friend.  Your brother.  Your peacemaker.  Your war president.  Your partner.  Your lover.  Will you trust me now?"  As George Clooney asked this lukewarm sixty-four-and-a-half-cent question of Sarah, he wore the same look on his face as he did in "Batman And Robin."  And it was a mighty convincing look.  Yet it did not convince Sarah, who merely shrugged her shoulders.  

"Okay.  I'll wait," he said nonchalantly.  The sweat on his brow instantly disappeared.  "He started to sing the song 'Sara', by the group Starship: "I'll never find another girl like you, for happy endings it takes two/We're fire and ice, the dream won't come true/Sara, Sara . . . "

A slight smile crept across Sarah's face.  "You know something.  There's no "H" in the Sara they're singing about."

George Clooney couldn't believe he was hearing this.  "Christ, what do I have to do to impress this woman?", he thought.  He rifled his mind through all the incarnations of characters in his film acting career, his Oscars (including the second Academy Award which was near an inch tall now because of what the heat did to it), his stint as a doctor on the television show "ER", his work in Darfur, his sexiest man alive title bestowed on him by People Magazine, his Nobel award and other accolades, his being George Clooney for heaven's sake, his stint as George W. Bush.  And at this second in time it occurred to him that none of this even registered with Sarah.

Sarah wanted him to keep his word on one thing: "Promise me you'll make sure that the Oscar you have in your hand gets a facelift, yes?"

"I promise."

The next plane from Barbados to Los Angelina left the next day.  John Travolta was its pilot and he was wearing his Edna Turnblad costume from "Hairspray".  He promised to fly low, which reassured all three of the people on board the plane: George, Sarah and Mr. Travolta.

This short story ŠThe Popcorn Reel.  2008.  All Rights Reserved.


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