Oscars... Can You Spare A Ticket? Oscar season has rolled around again and writer Stacy Saunders Hartog reminisces on her relationship with The Academy Awards and can't help but wonder ...where's her ticket?
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Oscars... Can You Spare A Ticket?

Photographers on the red carpet at the 81st Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, California photograph attendees. Author Stacy Saunders Hartog reminisces on her dream to be in front of the cameras. Ethan Miller/Getty Images hide caption

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Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Photographers on the red carpet at the 81st Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, California photograph attendees. Author Stacy Saunders Hartog reminisces on her dream to be in front of the cameras.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Stacy Saunders is an English teacher and freelance writer.

The Oscars are coming up. I haven't seen the list of nominees yet, but as far as I know, I'm not on it. I mean, I haven't actually been in any movies, unless you count surveillance footage at the parking garage. But let me just get in one last plea to the Academy — can you spare an extra ticket?

After all, when it comes to watching movies, I'm Rocky when he finally beats Apollo Creed. I'm Luke Skywalker after he blows up the Death Star. I'm Ralph Macchio when he does that cool standing-bird kick. My mother took me to see Dawn of the Dead when I was not quite 4 years old. We're talking gore-spattered, deformed zombies feasting on human flesh, before I was in kindergarten.

By the time I was 13 years old, I had seen so many movies that I could have been an executive at Universal Pictures. And that's the year I decided to go the Oscars. No more watching the show while sitting on my bed in my fuzzy slippers and curlers. It was time for me to glide down the red carpet myself, the paparazzi's cameras flashing, the roped-off fans gasping at my beauty and grace.

But, as 13-year old Damsel of dandruff, this was not to be. Laurelton, Queens is a long way from the Shrine Theatre in Hollywood. So I decided to do the next best thing: I dressed up. I spent hours, just as I knew the stars did, getting ready. I splashed myself with in Jean Nate, put on the long, blue crinoline dress that I'd worn as a bridesmaid in my cousin's wedding, stationed myself in front of my 10-inch screen T.V. and pretended I was at the Oscars. The chair I sat in was this very old, straight-backed kitchen chair that was covered in jagged, peeling plastic that bit into my back like slightly hungry piranhas. Not comfy, but Oscars is no time for comfort. (I mean, look at what Cher wore that same year, 1988. She had on a headdress that looked like a porcupine pumped up with adrenaline from all the excitement.) I smiled for the imaginary cameras.

Stacy Saunders is an English teacher and freelance writer. She blogs about her favorite books at 111books.blogspot.com. Courtesy of Stacy Saunders Hartog hide caption

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Courtesy of Stacy Saunders Hartog

Stacy Saunders is an English teacher and freelance writer. She blogs about her favorite books at 111books.blogspot.com.

Courtesy of Stacy Saunders Hartog

"Girl, you're mad as shad." My mother said in her Jamaican accent, as she walked by carrying the laundry. I would have asked her what shad was, but my imaginary date, Kirk Cameron, was telling me I looked beautiful right then.

I don't remember that much about the show itself that year, like most years, a blur of spinning golden statues and overly long musical numbers, tearful acceptance speeches and unremarkable audience reaction shots. When it was all over, I was bone weary from sitting still for so long, but I felt strangely accomplished. I was not invited to the Oscars, but I'd gone anyway.

It's twenty two years later. I still haven't walked down the red carpet. But aren't the movies all about dressing up and playing pretend? And aren't the Oscars a prize for whoever plays pretend best? Obviously, judging from my Oscar-watching performance of 1988, I can dress up and play pretend with the best of them. So if the Academy calls me up with a last-minute invitation, I'll consider it a belated token of recognition, and I'm ready to graciously accept.

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