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Chapter 7
Alternate Arts and Culture

About Bloody Time…Or, Is It?

by ELMORE TERADONOVICH, Alternate Reality News Service Film Writer

Maurice Yankovitch, in an illustrious career that has spanned almost 60 years, has never won an Oscar. In recognition of his impressive body of work he will be given a special lifetime award at this year’s ceremonies, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced yesterday.

The 79 year-old Yankovitch was in an oxygen tent and unavailable for comment. “Maurice couldn’t be more thrilled by the award,” 29 year-old Mitzi Baja-Gerund-Yankovitch, the actor’s seventh wife, commented. “It’s a validation of his life’s work.”

Yankovitch started his career as an apprentice under the legendary Adrian Chiclis, who himself had worked with Andy Serkis, the virtual acting pioneer, for days before his untimely death at the age of 102.

Chiclis, who opened his studio without ever actually performing himself, has stated in many interviews that, “If I had become a…an – uggh – actor, I hope I would have had a fraction of the talent that Maurice has.”

Then, he got an assistant to clean his spit off the floor.

His first roles were relatively minor; Yankovitch played background characters in such films as Titanic Two: The Iceberg’s Revenge and Gladiator: The Early Years. “The trick of playing a thousand characters in a movie,” Yankovitch once told Sight and Sound, “is to hold your body in ways that, while seemingly only slightly different, convey entirely different inner attitudes. Keeping track is the hardest part. Am I on Spectator 578 or Spectator 579? It can be tough.”

Around this time, Yankovitch met and fell head over heels in love with Mary-Lou Raptopsomum, an Irish-Ukrainian woman 10 years his elder who worked in the makeup department of TransGlobal Studios.

“It’s unlikely that Raptopsomum shared Yankovitch’s affections,” stated film critic Yuri Obsidian. “She was a smart cookie and had seen the writing on the wall: as more and more roles were being given to virtual rather than live actors, work for makeup artists dried up. She saw Yankovitch as a young up and comer, and latched onto him like a…err…give me a moment to come up with an appropriate metaphor, will you?”

Yankovitch played bit parts for over 20 years, perfecting his body language and facial expressions. Then, he got his break: playing Humphrey Bogart playing Rick Blaine in an interactive movie version of Casablanca. While generally praised for capturing Bogart’s languid hand gestures and eye motions, his performance was not without its critics: a minority of reviewers found it superficial and uninspired.

“Like a lawyer latches on to a car crash victim,” Obsidian commented. When it was pointed out that the article had moved on to another subject, he added: “Oh. Right. Well, there has always been a backlash against virtual actors. They should really get over it. Being able to shoot Victor Laszlo and run off on the plane with Ilsa, well, audiences loved it!”

In fact, there will be a protest against the lifetime achievement award outside The Paris Hilton Auditorium, where the Oscars are held. Live actors will be arguing that virtual actors aren’t really actors.

“Using motion capture technology to map the movements of your face and body so that the skin of a long dead actor can be laid over it doesn’t take any acting talent,” claimed Basil Exposition, President of Actors for Acting, Really Acting. “And, it’s really kind of creepy when you think about it.”

“Not over it yet?” Obsidian mused. “Over 80 per cent of parts in films now involve some form of virtual acting. Really, they need to get over it.”

Where was I? Oh, right. Yankovitch parlayed his success in Casablanca into a series of career-defining roles: as Arnold Schwarzenegger as the killer robot in Terminator 27: Whose Timeline Is It Anyway? and as Mel Gibson as Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon 34: Never Too Old For This Shit, among other popular classics.

He was thought to be a dead cert for an Oscar for his portrayal of Dustin Hoffmann portraying Benjamin Braddock in a reconceptualization of the classic The Graduate. Unfortunately, that was the year the Academy offices burnt to the ground, forcing the cancellation of the awards.

“He was robbed,” Maya Brankenheimer, his fifth wife, stated. Then, with a sigh, she added: “He always said he really admired Mickey Rooney. I wish I had paid more attention to that before we got married…”

Although he has played many colourful characters since, and has been nominated for 27 Oscars, Yankovitch never came that close to winning the award again.

The honourary Academy Award has also spurred talk of a long dormant Yankovitch biopic. Heartthrob Pietr Slobodovanivukian is rumoured to be in negotiations to play Yankovitch…playing Schwarzenegger playing the terminator.

“Don’t listen to that bitch Mariel Blobington,” Baja-Gerund-Yankovitch acidly commented. “It’s Maurice’s time. About bloody time, really. Maurice deserves this.”

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