Jewish World Review March 27, 2003 / 23 Adar II, 5763

Jeff Kramer

Jeff Kramer
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Consumer Reports

Saddam is the 'bomb' at Iraq Oscars | The debate about staging the Academy Awards while we're at war is moot. But did you know Iraqi leaders faced a similar conundrum this past weekend?

Iraqi officials were torn on whether to stage the Iraqi Oscars while the country is getting the snot bombed out of it.

Ultimately, the regime settled on a low-key affair Sunday, nixing a splashy Broadway-style torture sequence for a more restrained rant to drive the Jews into the sea. The blood-red carpet was shorter than usual. Security was the tightest in memory.

Uday Hussein got off the best line of the evening, telling the audience that 15 random members would be hanged for the show's finale.

"The good news," he quipped, "is that the show's running long."

But the star of the night was Saddam Hussein - or one of his five surgically altered body doubles.

Hussein took home the uranium statuette in every top category, including Most Plausible Denial of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

He thanked Hans Blix - and the French.

"There were times when even my closest advisers urged, 'Come on, Saddam. Just give up your WMDs for the sake of the world.' Tonight proves that magic can happen when you stay true to your artistic vision. Merci!"

In accepting his Best Actor award for "Gangs of Tikrit," Saddam struck a humble tone.

"Truthfully, I had some doubts about whether I could play a vile, sadistic political thug who will stop at nothing to maintain power," he said. "I think that's what I love most about acting. You just grow so much with every role."

When a presenter - wearing a trendy anthrax pin - jokingly suggested that Hussein should make it a clean sweep and take home the Best Actress award as well, that presenter was killed.

Then Saddam put on the presenter's fez and announced the winner of the Best Original Screenplay category. Remarkably, it was someone other than himself. The Oscar went to some hack from the Ministry of Information who thought up the idea of having Iraqi soldiers run along the Tigris River, pretending to shoot at a nonexistent downed coalition pilot.

"This mesmerizing script transports us into a world where long-held perceptions are challenged so that we may gain a richer sense of our shared humanity," Saddam said, fiddling with his Armani beret and firing his shotgun.

The only other winner was North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il, who, per custom, boycotted the ceremony and stayed home to play his gong. The diminutive Kim won for Best Live-Action Short. Very short.

But the 2003 Iraqi Oscars were dominated by the Baghdadwood insider. Additional wins for Saddam came in the Best Documentary Feature category ("Bowling for Kurdistan"), Best Cinematography ("Road to Malnutrition") and Best Direction ("War Against Iran"). He even ran off with the Best Original Song Oscar for "My Regime Will Go On."

In all, Saddam captured 17 Iraqi Oscars, bringing his lifetime total to 472, tops in the country.

He dedicated this year's Honorary Oscar to the memory of sons-in-law he murdered.

JWR contributor Jeff Kramer is a humor columnist based at the Orange County Register. Comment by clicking here.

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