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The red carpet is ready, the paparazzi are prepping their lenses, the stunning dresses are being chosen, and the golden awards are ready to be handed out to the lucky winners. Yes, it’s time again for the Toscars ceremony.
No, that’s not a misprint. The Oscars are being held on March 2, yes, but a few days before that on Wednesday, February 26th, the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood will host the 7th annual Toscars, an affectionate, spoofy homage that’s (mostly) based around this year’s Oscar nominations for best movie.
Conceived as an anecdote to the endless waves of movie award ceremonies that take place around this time of year, the tongue-in-cheek Toscars evaluate the work of random teams that are given just three weeks to produce their five-minute parody “take” on one of this year’s monster movies.
As if that wasn’t potentially tough enough, they have a budget that wouldn’t pay for Tom Cruise’s belt organizer ($250—excluding food), every element has to be original (even the music), they all have to be PG-rated, and they all have to shoot their movie on the same weekend.
The opposite of big-budget luxury, the movies are done “guerilla” style (on the run and maybe even on the fly) and will see Captain Phillips and the Horn of Africa competing against Pheelaweena, The Fox of Wolf Street, British Hustle, Cavity, Terminate Her, Knobraska, Dallas Biters Club, Shaving Mr. Hanks and 12 Days a Stripper.
The “distinctive” trophies are awarded after celebrity judges including DJ Paul Oakenfold, and actors Jim Piddock, Jennifer Elise Cox and Owain Yeomans get together for a mass debate to decide who is the Best Whactor, Best Whactress, Best Director, Best Supporting Whactor and Supporting Whactress, Best Boss, Best Tunes, Best Scribbler, Best Cutter and Best Production Design (Costumes, Hair, Makeup, Set).
Craig Young, founder of Brits in LA, the social organization behind the idea, also announced that the host is the very talented Alex Newell from Glee, who will be singing an opening number, and that Little Miss Toscar is Tehmina Sunny (currently starring with Kevin Bacon in The Following).
You get the idea by now, and though some of these do sound like pornalikes (and British Hustle does see porn legend Ron Jeremy in his first PG role), because the movies are made by the many actors, directors, producers and behind-the-scenes talent members of Brits in LA, you’re actually seeing some seriously good money on the screen. More or less.
As for the favorites to take home the Golden Fist, Young says that it’s “neck and neck” as they approach the final deadline day.
“There is buzz circulating around The Fox of Wolf St,” he says. “They’re running a strong social media campaign. Captain Phillips actually went on the high seas for their parody. Cavity is directed by Star Trek: Voyager actor Tim Russ and uses green screen technology, while for the Dallas Biters Club the lead actor actually put on weight for the role. 12 Years a Stripper cleverly cast the movie without one black person, in case of a backlash, Pheelaweena looks like they’ve gone very broad Benny Hill, so it could be extremely funny, and Terminate Her has the editor of Beyoncé’s “Drunk In Love” video.”
Check out the Toscars’ Facebook and Twitter pages for nominations, posters, on-set photos, puns, double entendres and other distinctly Brit madness. Aside from the statues there is also a $500 reward for the winning team, but the bragging rights in the pub? Priceless.
Who do you think is going to win this year?
See more posts by James Bartlett
James Bartlett writes about travel, film and the weird and wonderful side of living in L.A. He has been published in over 90 magazines and newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, the LA Weekly, Los Angeles Magazine, Angeleno, Hemispheres, Delta Sky, Westways, Variety and Bizarre. He is also a contributor to BBC radio and RTE in Ireland, and is the author of Gourmet Ghosts - Los Angeles, a "history and mystery" guide to bars and restaurants in L.A. - details can be found at www.gourmetghosts.com.