Did you see the crazy snafu at the Oscars? Of all the categories to blunder, it was the Best Picture that fell prey to human error.

Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty were the presenters. Beatty’s lengthy hesitation and bewildered look, upon opening the envelope, had some fearing the onset of Alzheimer’s and others thinking his attempt at humor not at all funny. When Faye finally took the envelope and made the announcement — oops, the flick she yelled out was not the winner. When asked later, "What happened?”, Beatty replied, “It must have been the Russians!”

All kidding aside, those pesky Russians seem to have left their “fingerprints” everywhere. They’ve created quite the international intrigue; hacking of political campaign data and alleged ties to or influencing of high ranking U.S. government officials. Some say even our President might be implicated.

It wasn’t bad enough they screwed with our election; did they have to go after the Oscars?

The fact is, while no evidence of any wrongdoing has been presented, with each passing day new concerns are raised about the Russians: who talked to whom about what, when and where. And, the cast of characters just keeps expanding. One needs a program book just to keep track of the players.

There’s Michael Flynn, former National Security Advisor; Paul Manafort, former Campaign Manager; Carter Page, former Advisor to the President; Jeff Sessions, Attorney General; Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State; Wilber Ross, Secretary of Commerce; first son Donald Jr.; and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Some of the Russian characters include: Sergey Kislyak, a Russian Ambassador busy making connections; Vlad Putin and his Russian-backed and based TV network, lauding the fact that Democracy isn’t working in the U.S.; Dmitry Rybolovlev, the Russian “fertilizer king,” overpaying for a Trump mansion and having his private jet spotted at many Trump campaign stops; Rasneft, the Russian oil giant making deals with Rex Tillerson and many more Russian oligarchs described often as “sketchy.”

This has become a terribly confusing — with way too many characters — Russian novel.

I bet even Tolstoy, best known for his "War and Peace," which is complicated by the sheer number and variety of the “dramatis personae,” would be shaking his head muttering, “nyet, nyet; too confusing, too many comrades!”

In one critique of his epic novel, Tolstoy’s “Commanders-in-Chief” are described this way: “Their thoughts are rarely scrutinized either through interior monologue or by extended description … Some characters … use only direct speech. Nothing is conveyed of their thought processes or the motives behind the words they utter.” Thus, describes some of the most compelling characters in what many consider to be the best novel ever written.

Doesn’t our political situation today appears to be more and more like a Russian novel?

Before rushing to judgement, as in any good Russian novel, what seems true doesn’t always end up to be true. All I really know for sure is that "La La Land" did not win best picture — "Moonlight" did.

Wendy J. Levenfeld is a published novelist, playwright and columnist. Send comments to wendylevenfeld@gmail.com. Visit wendy’s website at www.wendylevenfeld.com.

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