With the 83rd Annual Academy Awards a mere six days away, it’s time to examine the oft-overlooked relationship between the Oscars and professional wrestling.
In either industry, the “best” doesn’t always win. Often, the gold – whether it’s a gold Oscar statuette or a big, gold championship belt – goes to a less deserving but more popular film or wrassler.
The best film of 1994 was, unquestionably, Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. It was a temporally-distorted, Kubrickian masterpiece of accidental murder, dancing, drug abuse and anal rape. However, at the time, Tarantino was an enfant terrible with only two directing credits to his name: Reservoir Dogs and the 1987 short My Best Friend’s Birthday. Therefore, instead of going out on a limb and giving an Oscar to the unmistakably talented but somewhat-unproven (at least by Hollywood’s standards) Tarantino, the Academy awarded the little gold man to the safer, more popular choice: Robert Zemeckis’ vanilla schmaltzfest, Forrest Gump.
The best World Wrestling Federation grappler (yes, there were some greats in WCW and the regional federations at the time, but I was always a bigger fan of the WWF, so we’ll stick with that) of 1987 was “The Million Dollar Man,” Ted DiBiase. His in-ring skills and talking ability – or his ability to “cut a promo,” in wrasslin’ jargon – were tops, and his gimmick of a conceited millionaire made him the hottest heel in the company. DiBiase was primed for a run with the title, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Instead, the WWF did the safe thing and put the belt on the company’s top face, “Macho Man” Randy Savage.
A transcendent talent, DiBiase never held the WWF’s heavyweight championship. Well, unless you count the time he bought it from Andre the Giant after Andre beat Hulk Hogan to win the title – a devious act which resulted in DiBiase being stripped of his ill-gotten gains which, in turn, lead to a heavyweight championship tournament at Wrestlemania IV, which Savage won.
The WWF doesn’t recognize this reign, however, so I don’t see why we should.
The point is, professional wrestling and the Oscars are just one big popularity contest and, therefore, the most-deserving don’t always get what they should. Just look at DiBiase or Stanley Kubrick, another transcendent talent who never got his hands on the gold.
Some of the wrestling terms I used can be found here: http://prowrestling.about.com/od/wrestlingterminology/a/glossaryterms.htm
The official website of the 83rd Annual Academy Awards: http://oscar.go.com/
Hell, if this video was 19 minutes longer, it’d deserve an Oscar nomination of its own (as a short, obviously): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DV0RHVteLs