The Big Issue : Edition 451
Yet still she is without that lusted-after short (34cm) and overweight (close to 4kg) statuette, which is lacking private parts. Musing on possible cause and effect here, Hoffman once noted: “He has no genitalia and he’s holding a sword.” Apart from the individual snubs, the Muppets as an ensemble have never been adequately recognised for their work. The claim that their latest film, Muppets Most Wanted (due out in Australia early in April), came too late for this year’s Oscars is a mere technicality. There are ways to get around such things. Did it occur to nobody in the Academy that Miss Piggy and her colleagues are now eligible for, and would be worthy recipients of, a Lifetime Achievement Award? After all, that irascible pair up in the balcony, Statler and Waldorf (pictured below right), aren’t getting any younger. Statler and Waldorf, a veteran pair of troupers who saddle up again in Muppets Most Wanted, have been overlooked again and again by myopic Hollywood executives. Either could have played Bruce Wayne’s butler in the Batman movies: Michael Caine is not the only bankable senior citizen. Big names and reputations mean nothing to them – for proof, jump on your favourite search engine [no free ads here] and look for the clip featuring Statler, Waldorf and Milton Berle. All Muppets have demonstrated an easy professionalism with human actors. The reverse does not always apply. The previous Muppets movie (2001) featured Jason Segel and Amy Adams, who is an Oscars nominee this year, unlike You Know Who. Both had that slightly sheepish expression that comes from knowing that, whatever it says on the movie poster, they are not the real stars of the show. The new movie provides work for, among others, Tina Fey and Ricky Gervais. But the producers know who has the real crowd-appeal. It is not, after all, Tina’s Most Wanted... What the Muppets most want now is respect – both for their impressive body of work and individual achievements: Miss Piggy talked to Whoopi Goldberg in their rather awkward long-gone ceremony moment of “my unique brand of Star Power”. There should be no more slights, no more fobbing off Kermit and his leading lady with soon- forgotten presenter spots for one of the less illustrious award categories. After all, history is on their side – especially her side. One of the theories about the derivation of the famous nickname is that it dates back to the early 1930s, when Walt Disney referred to his Best Cartoon award as ‘Oscar’. That cartoon, incidentally, was Three Little Pigs. Babe’s moment in the sun in the mid-1990s made life difficult for pigs already with a prominent profile in showbiz. Babe even had a cocktail invented in his honour: vodka and lime-juice with a curlicue of lime peel – just like a piggy’s tail. A lesser star might have turned lime green with envy. Around the same time, In Style magazine declared pigs to be “the hottest four-legged friends in Hollywood”. Owners of pet pigs then included Clooney and Luke Perry. The latter was quoted as saying: “Pigs are proof that all one really needs to do to be happy is eat, sleep and have sex.” No class at all. This helps to explain why nobody talks about Perry anymore. Babe, meanwhile, languishes in the back bins of video stores. But the ageless Miss Piggy, like all her colleagues, remains ready for her close-up. by Alan Attwood » Muppets Most Wanted will be released on 24 April.