The 23rd of February was a Sunday, the Sunday in fact. Douglas had been in LA for a few weeks seeing a few old friends and following the age-old order of his Oscar campaign as Douglas appeared on The Ellen Show, Oprah and countless other talk shows. He was expected to arrive at the red carpet outside the Dolby theatre just after 4pm. Douglas, as a matter of habit, didn’t rise until 10 o’clock in the morning and when he did he smoked a cigarette in bed for the first time in over a year.
His day was like a whisk. One moment he was having a shower and smoking his second cigarette in an hour and the next he was in his black tuxedo and sat in a limo on his way to the Oscars. The limo was quiet and the driver couldn’t help wondering about Douglas Bower; one of the most famous men in the world and he couldn’t get a plus one to the Oscars.
‘And what are you wearing for us Douglas?’ Natasha Spinny said on the red carpet as the actor emerged from his limo into the flashing cameras.
‘I’m wearing a Fernando Gattuso,’ Douglas said, ‘I did an advertising campaign for him early on in my career so we’ve always agreed to let me wear his clothes. I’m sure he’d rather have DiCaprio or Tom Cruise wearing him instead though.’
‘Well ain’t that adorable!’ Natasha Spinny laughed, ‘do you think tonight’s finally going to be your night and that you’re finally gonna win an Oscar?’
‘Well I hope so Tasha,’ Douglas smiled for a brief second as he saw who was being moved towards the interview; Nicole Freedman. ‘Sorry Tash but I’m going to have to be moving on,’ Douglas maintained despite the bitch’s pleas for him to stay with her for a little longer.
‘How are you Douglas? I’ve heard on the grapevine that you’re doing the new Superhero movie for Disney?’ Academy Award nominee James Lester asked his co-star.
‘That’s just a rumour James,’ Douglas patted Lester on the back as more flashes blurred his retinas. The sound of shutters opening and closing was a constant song in Douglas Bowers ears; though it wasn’t a particularly pleasant one.
‘Well there’s also a rumour going around that I’m going to play a certain character in that movie Douglas, I’ll see you later, and Amy Adams is walking away from me.’ He hurried off to leave Douglas in the safe knowledge that he was certainly not going to do the Disney superhero movie now. At that point a small man with a fuzzy upper lip ran up to Douglas to tell him that someone would come and get him just before he was needed to present the Oscar for Best Director and to just rely on the teleprompter.
‘Thank you for your welcome,’ the first words on the prompter read and Douglas repeated them calmly in front of the applauding crowd, ‘for every film the most important person on set isn’t the star, it’s the director and tonight one of 5 amazing directors will be walking home with this Academy Award,’ he showed off someone’s Oscar with a bedazzling smile. It was much heavier than he had envisaged and he couldn’t resist just keeping one hand on it. It might be a long time before he would get the chance to cradle one again.
‘The nominees for the Academy Award for Best Director are:
Ridley Scott for Exodus: Gods and Kings (cue applause)
David Fincher for Gone Girl (cue applause)
Christopher Nolan for Interstellar (cue applause)
Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher (cue applause)
And Nicole Freedman for Death within us (cue applause)’
Death within us had already taken a couple of awards that were certainly well deserved – apart from James Lester’s which, as far as Douglas was concerned, was not well deserved. He smiled nervously and opened the envelope, his heart racing as fast as he was sure the five nominees’ were beating. The name Douglas had both hoped and feared was inside the envelope. It wasn’t Ridley Scott. It read Nicole Freedman (Death within us). Douglas knew that they were going to see each other close up sooner or later but at the Oscars on stage! He knew he should have presented the best feature documentary instead. There hadn’t been any controversy in that category since Iraq.
‘The Oscar goes to Nicole Freedman for Death within us.’ Douglas read out with dread and the applause took him aback. It was one thing to present an award but to be on stage and peer out at the audience of the greats of Hollywood was outstanding. Nicole gasped and made her way out of the Death within us area of the auditorium and walked down the carpet flanked by a standing ovation from her heroes. Douglas didn’t know if he was going to win an Oscar that night but it seemed like it didn’t matter. He could see how much it meant to her. He hadn’t understood that before but now he realised why Nicole was in tears already as she approached the stage. She’d done it. Nicole Freedman was an Academy Award winner and she deserved it more than anyone else. It had been her story, her script and her design and without her then the film that had given Douglas his best ever chance of winning an Oscar would never have been made up – let alone actually put onto screen.
Nicole moved up the steps and looked at Douglas, she moved more quickly towards them with the cheering crowd disappearing into the back of Douglas’ mind. Douglas realised what they were going to only seconds before it happened. The man and the woman moved towards each other and pulled each other into their arms and kissed like no man had ever kissed a woman before and how no woman had ever kissed a man before.
‘We’ve done it Douglas,’ Nicole said.
‘Done what?’ Douglas said. The audience were still applauding their snog and it dawned on Douglas that tears were trailing down his cheek.
‘It was us versus them Douglas – we beat Hollywood,’ Nicole smiled and the two kissed again. After they parted from their kiss a hush went over the crowd and the rest were silent. Nicole stepped up to the lector and said proudly, ‘I want to dedicate this Oscar to the man on my left; Douglas Bower…’
… FADE TO BLACK