Friday, April 4, 2008

Trisha Yearwood, Elliott Smith, and Celine Dion (in that order)

The title pretty much says it all. The year was 1997. Trisha Yearwood sings "How Do I Live" (Con Air) at the 70th Academy Awards knowing full well that 15-year-old LeAnn Rimes's version is better. Elliott Smith performs the rueful "Miss Misery" (Good Will Hunting) reluctantly--the producers had told him that the song was being performed live, either with him or without him--all the while avoiding eye contact with Jack Nicholson and instead focusing up at the balcony. And Celine Dion, of course, walks away with the Oscar for Best Original Song with "My Heart Will Go On" (Titanic). The award's presenter, Madonner (I think this is how the English say her name), sneers, "What a shocker," right before announcing the winner.

Later, Smith recalls the surreal event in general and Celine in particular: "She was really sweet, which has made it impossible for me to dislike Celine Dion anymore. Even though I can't stand the music that she makes--with all due respect I don't like it much at all--but she herself was very, very nice. She asked me if I was nervous and I said, 'Yeah.' And she was like, 'That's good because you get your adrenaline going, and it'll make your song better. It's a beautiful song.' Then she gave me a big hug. It was too much. It was too human to be dismissed simply because I find her music trite."

Well, I'm dismissing it, human or not. Because Celine Dion looks like a bird. A stupid, unpitchy French-Canadian bird.

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