Los Angeles. 22 February 2009.
Andrew Shueberg, a 38-year old member of the coveted Academy that selects Oscar Award winners every year, had an inkling this would happen. He called up his wife, his girlfriend, and his mother in a span of 30-minutes, just before casting his vote against ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and in favor of Kate Winslet starrer ‘The Reader’.
His wife Kathleen recalls “he was unusually nervous that evening and kept on asking was he a good man, a good christian, a good American?” It was only after she convinced him on at least two counts did he hang up, Kathleen confirms. But still, doctors at LA State Hospital add, it was not enough as just an hour later, Andrew was over-come with a guilt-attack and tried to jump in the “loo-bucket” of the Academy Building at 23rd Street. His close friend, and co-voter Sammy
Wusstein (who incidentally did vote for Slumdog) heard him shouting – “Let me do this once. Let me feel the pain…somebody mess up my life please.”
Though currently stable and under observation, doctors worry that Shueberg’s condition may flare up again if and when he sees poverty, shit, guns, beggars, call centers or any of the stereotypes related to India or ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. LASH’s psychologist, incidentally an Indian, Dr. Banku Patel, calls Shueberg’s medical condition “a fast-rising clinical phenomenon in the West, where too much exposure to third-world living conditions may drive the patient to feel bad about his/her comforts.”
Meanwhile, the academy awards ceremony was all but swept by ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ but Brad Pitt of ‘Benjamin Button’ fame is still hopeful. “We WILL win it LAST YEAR”, Benjamin Button claimed.