If I Ran the Oscars: Exene Cervenka puts the red carpet on a budget

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In this interview series, we ask famous free thinkers to recast the Oscars in their own image. Please direct your attention to today’s presenter, speaking to us via e-mail: Los Angeles music-scene great Exene Cervenka (X, Knitters, Original Sinners).

Which performers and films are going to win the Academy Award this year?
I don’t know who will win, but why can’t they all win?

Which films and performers from the past do you feel deserved the Oscar but didn’t receive one?
“Galaxy Quest” and “Idiocracy.” Also, Bill Murray for all of his movies, but especially “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.”


Which award categories would you add? Which need deleting?
Best animal in lead and supporting roles. I’d also add strangest performance.

What part of the telecast would you remove? And what would you replace it with?
I’d replace all of it with a cartoon about self-esteem so people would watch it.

Which part of the Oscars would you never change?
Best song.

Do you have a favorite song nominee from the past?
Elliot Smith for “Miss Misery.” He was up against Celine Dion for “My Heart Will Go On.” I read an interview where he said how gracious she was to him.

The fashion parade on the red carpet seems to have become as important a part of the ceremony as the awards themselves. What dress code rules would you mandate there?
Put everyone on an even playing field. Give them each two hundred dollars. They have to get their outfit and jewelry from either a thrift store or an independent designer who is out of work or broke.

Who would be your dream host or dream presenters? Musical performers?
Dream host: Lewis Black. Presenters: Josh Freese, Phil Alvin and Bristol Palin. Musical performers: Frank Fairfield, Skating Polly, Jimmy Webb, George Jones and Hazel Dickens.

Who would receive your honorary Oscars for lifetime achievement?
Viggo Mortensen.

Do you have a favorite (good or bad) Oscar moment from the past?
Streaking in the ‘70s and Michael Blake’s win for best screenplay for “Dances with Wolves.” All good.

And lastly, Exene, let’s give you an Oscar for all your hard work this year. Let’s hear your acceptance speech.

“Thank you. I accept this award on behalf of free thinkers everywhere. Sí se puede!

Exene Cervenka will perform songs from her new album, “The Excitement of Maybe” (Bloodshot Records), on March 9 at the Redwood Bar & Grill.

-- Paul Gaita