Win Oscar, add four years to your life

By Helena Rodriguez

Want to live longer?

Eat healthy, exercise, don’t smoke and, oh yeah, win an Oscar.

It’s that simple. I mean how hard can it be to get cast in a major movie and be chosen out of other big screen stars for a golden statuette?

In 2001, a study appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine which concluded, and I’m not making this up, that winning an Oscar Award adds four years to your life and winning more than one Oscar increases your life expectancy by six years. To the best of my knowledge, this finding was not followed by a stampede of wannabe actors, in their quest for the Fountain of Youth, knocking down doors and rioting to get into pictures to expand their life expectancies.

This study was another frivolous waste of taxpayers’ money. But who isn’t fascinated by the Oscars, the annual red carpet affair that will be upon us once again on Feb. 27?

I never paid much attention to the Oscars until 2001 when it became my job as an arts and entertainment writer in Abilene, Texas, to watch every film nominated (some of which were already on video by then). After carefully viewing these flicks with critical eyes, myself and another entertainment writer made our Oscar predictions.

As you would guess, I was wrong on every prediction except one. I’m sorry, but Erin Brockovich was not Julia Roberts’ best performance. As for the one correct prediction I made, it was in the only category that mattered to me that year, that of best male supporting actor. All of my bets were on the ruggedly handsome Benicio Del Toro for his role as Javier Rodriguez Rodriguez, the only uncorrupted Mexican cop in “Traffic.”

Del Toro’s win was no surprise. The entertainment media was declaring him the winner weeks before. So naturally, they directed their attention to a much more important matter, Del Toro’s particularly bad hairdo that night. Del Toro did get kudos, however, for his short and humble acceptance speech, which I thought was so right on. He simply thanked the people of Nogales, Sonora, in Mexico and the people of Nogales, Arizona, where the film was shot. When asked later why he dedicated his award to these twin cities, Del Toro said, “As an actor, location is so important. The people are so humble and so beautiful that it made it easy for me to get into it.”

We haven’t seen much of Del Toro lately, but I read he’s gearing up for some lead roles in “The Rum Diary” and “Che,” an epic on the Argentinean revolutionary, Che Guevara, with director Stephen Soderbergh. It’s nice to know that Del Toro, who can have his pick of roles, hasn’t forgotten his Latin roots.

While I do enjoy a good flick, I’ve given up on making Oscar predictions, maybe because I’m disappointed with this year’s nominations. I haven’t seen all the top movie nominees like “The Aviator” and “Million Dollar Baby,” but Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” should have definitely been in the running for Best Motion Picture. “Passion of The Christ” received nominations for several smaller awards: Best original music, best makeup and cinematography, but something isn’t right when a movie this phenomenal gets passed up for major awards.

There are politics involved in every awards show just like there are politics involved in the frivolous study I mentioned before, which, by the way, was conducted at the University of Toronto.

I can easily come up with some similar “Duh!” research results without wasting millions of your tax dollars. For example: Did you know country music award winners are more likely to suffer slow and painful deaths following decades of making depressing music? Did you know rap singers have only half the life expectancy of country crooners? Did you know Country Music Hall of Famers are more likely to file for Chapter 11, bounce back and then fall back into debt? However, by frequently appearing in commercials with milk mustaches, country music singers, and other celebrities, reduce their risks of getting osteoporosis.

You heard it here first!

Helena Rodriguez is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at: helena_rodriguez@link.freedom.com