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Losing an Academy Award: The End

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This is the final part of a four-part series. Read part three here.

Finally, you reach the main event -- the Vanity Fair party. Everyone from all the other parties has now converged on this most glamorous soiree, and they've all brought their spoils of victory. The collection of bullion makes you dizzy -- did the guy who won Best Animated Short have to be in the urinal next to you? And who puts an Oscar on top of a urinal anyway? (I guess the same person who would spend five years making an animated short.) You know a lot of people in this room, and just four short hours ago you were looking forward to coming to this party more than to the birth of your first child. As you make your way through the crowd, you encounter three distinct reactions. First: "You were robbed!" I can see clearly now -- by their feigned indignation -- that they don't really mean it and that they didn't really like my movie. (Which also means that they didn't vote for it, so why are they surprised I lost?) Second is the sympathetic, at-least-you-were-nominated shrug. Translation: You're a Loser. Then there's my personal favorite -- total and utter avoidance. People I do business with every day, people who are allegedly my friends, people who will desperately need me a mere 24 hours from now -- completely avoid me. I'm talking "see-me-and-make-a-hard-left-turn-into-the-cocktail-waitress" avoid. This fascinates me in a morbid kind of way, so I purposely begin to seek these people out. The more important they are, the more I hover around them without saying anything, feeling the tension escalate with each passing minute. Needless to say, this is a major faux pas in Hollywood, and I can literally feel my career going downhill. Still, I can't stop.

When I've exhausted my limit for masochism, and more significantly, the room has emptied, I consider my options. Logically, I would skulk my way back to the hotel room and start making a business plan for that organic restaurant/money laundering café in Costa Rica. I'm bone tired, as ending one's vocation in six hours has proven to be more work than I'd anticipated. My feet hurt, the waitresses aren't volunteering headshots, (they know a Loser when they see one) and even my rumpled, wine-soaked tuxedo is itching to be put out of its misery. It's time to call it a night. In fact, it's time to call it a career.

Inspiration strikes.

There's a party thrown after the Oscars and all the after-parties, and it's the kind of event you don't necessarily want to be invited to. It's very private, at a location that changes every year. Unlike any of the others, it's more of a reward for having suffered through months of boring events in hotel conference rooms with the same group of people. It's the antithesis of the Vanity Fair event -- as if your parents finally left and now you can have the real party. Actors, musicians, athletes, drug dealers, agents, alcoholics, studio heads, publicists, prostitutes, lawyers, hangers-on -- they're all here in one massive swarm. People holding on to one last gasp of the final blowout of the season, doing the dance one final, desperate, drunken, loud, pathetic, fun time. In the most old-fashioned sense, it's everything a Hollywood party should be but so rarely is anymore. The obscene behavior, the freakish crowd, the ridiculously late hour, the slight embarrassment at being part of this type of bacchanalia reflected on everyone's faces. Here, at 6 a.m., high above the Hollywood Hills, I look at the carnage around me and experience a true movie-moment epiphany: We're all Losers here.

I can hardly wait for next year.