By the time you read this, I hope it’s raining. I say that as I watch news of the record storms devastating the northeast. As Boston is literally buried in snow, I have this irrational fear that much of Beantown, or should I say Blizzardtown, will be moving to Santa Monica. (I admitted it was irrational.)

Then we’ll have to listen to, “Where’s good ‘chowdah?'” and how the Celtics, not the Lakers, are the greatest franchise in NBA history. Right now, both teams might lose to Kentucky. At least Laker fans don’t have to shovel snow for hours to dig our cars out. No, we just sit in traffic for hours.

Back in 1890, the Rose Parade was designed to lure people here. Both the parade, and, later, the Rose Bowl, were promotional brainstorms sponsored by the Los Angeles Times. The idea was to invite East Coasters enduring brutal weather to a winter holiday in Los Angeles and maybe ultimately move to where the sun shined all year and oranges were here for the picking. The hordes of well-to-do migrants would ultimately become readers of the Times, whose power grew exponentially.

To a much lesser degree, so it is with the Academy Awards, which are this Sunday. As Bostonians watch the red carpet ceremonies, they must wonder why the starlets are not wearing snow shoes. Remember these are people suffering such cabin fever that, for sport, they are jumping shirtless out their second story windows into huge snow drifts.

But back to the Oscars. For those who may not know, for eight years (1961-68) the Academy Awards were held at our Civic Auditorium, which was considered quite glamorous. These days it’s considered quite an eyesore.

Considering the prestigious previous venues like the Ambassador Hotel, the Shrine Auditorium, Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the Pantages Theater, it must have been a coup for our once sleepy Santa Monica to host the Oscars. Given our current noise pollution issues, we could hardly ever be called sleepy anymore. Sleep deprived, perhaps.

Speaking of the L.A. Times, in 1969 the Oscars left Santa Monica for the far more lavish Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. It was named for the wife of Times publisher Norman Chandler, as she had raised funds for construction of the elegant cultural center. Meanwhile, our Civic Auditorium would soon become host to slightly less worldly events like the cat show. (Not that I have anything against cats, mind you.)

Sunday, the 87th annual Academy Awards will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, home of the ceremonies since 2002. The gala event will be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris and will be broadcast to more than 200 countries around the world. (I wonder if the Dolby operators worry that one day an even more lavish venue will be built and they may wind up hosting cat shows of their own.)

Last year I saw every movie nominated for Best Picture and for all the acting, directing and screenwriting awards. This year I haven’t seen one. Talk about feast or famine. I wish I could tell you what I was busy doing, but I’m temporarily drawing a blank. However, I did write copy for a commercial this past year, my first, which … drum roll, please … is going to air during the Oscars!

I also wish I could say I will be getting residuals, but I settled for a one-time fee. You know about six-figure and seven-figure contracts? I’m sad to report mine was three figures. But it was in the high threes.

I also wish the clients had accepted the funny versions I wrote, humor being something I know a little about. (Okay, maybe not necessarily in evidence today.) But they insisted on a commercial dominated by animation and graphics — something I know almost nothing about. The ad is for a shuttle service, In the name of full disclosure, I haven’t actually used the service. But in the past four years a million people have, so they must be doing something right.

In the meantime, I’m in a bit of a bind as far as the Oscars go because I wasn’t even planning on watching. After all, I haven’t seen a single nominated movie. I also wasn’t going to watch because, while I’ve written 20 screenplays with four bought or optioned, none have ever been made. Apparently, to be nominated for an Oscar for one’s screenplay, the movie actually has to have been made. Who knew?

I certainly wasn’t going to watch the endless commercials during the Oscars — I always hit the mute button. This year it looks like I’ll have to watch the whole thing. (Grr.) You see, while I’m 0-for-20 in screenplays, I’m 1-for-1 in commercials. Next time, however, I hope it’s at least for four figures.

Jack Neworth is at, and can be reached at

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