THE GLITZ AND the glamour, it was all there again, as usual, for the 1980 Academy Awards night. Those are wonderful mugshots we are treated to on this night every year, better by far than the comparable shots taken of plotting politicians at conventions or mad-as-hell congressmen and senior military officers at a State of the Union address. What is a close-up of a public official hearing his favorite policy or program consigned to the trash can compared with a close-up of a real star pretending to be cool as the envelope -- the Envelope -- is handed over? Nothing. We've said it before and we'll say it again: we love the Academy Awards show on television. It is terrible and we love it.
Why then, we found ourselves asking somewhere between the eight-millionth thank-you and the nine-millionth sound-technician's award, did we have a sense of deprivation -- of loss, of letdown, of something missing? It wasn't until the whole slick taffy textured event had at last closed down that, mulling it over, we knew: no politics, or specifically, no politics-Academy-Awards-night style.
We will be blunt about it. It was, frankly, a rotten night for the PLO, the Viet Cong, the IRA and Libyan freedom fighters everywhere. Political rebels and exotics were out. No designer-dressed beauty or ruffle-shirted fellow seized the occasion to swear fealty to the sworn enemies of practically everyone else present. And this, in turn, meant we were also denied the unutterably cranky love-it-or-leave-it ripostes that had become as much a part of the proceedings as the original provocation. In fact, the closest thing to a protest emanating from the stage that night was made by Miss Piggy.
That tells you something. Politics may be, as the fellow said, "volatile" this year everywhere else. But it was mild as mud in Hollywood Monday night. If you are looking for evidence that we are entering a new and different, though not necessarily improved, political age, there's some.