And the Oscar Goes To
I am always fascinated by contradictions, especially in myself. Every year as the Academy Awards approach, I find that once again I have not seen most or any of the nominated films. I like to get smug at this point, thinking of how I don’t get caught up in that sort of thing, how I watch what interests me, regardless of critical acclaim. If by chance, I have seen a film or two on the list, it is easy to rationalize that it is the Academy moving towards my taste. It is not that I watch artsy or independently produced films (though some of those have been my favorites while others have bored the holy hell out of me). I am a mainstream Hollywood kind of guy. I just do not usually pick the films the Academy does.
Sometimes, after the awards are given, I manage to see one or two of the movies that won awards or were nominated. Crash was one. American Beauty was another. I saw No Country for Old Men before it won any awards and I am still sort of shocked that film was so successful. Strangely enough, despite my sometimes criminally perverse obsession with Natalie Portman, I did not see Black Swan until it came out on DVD. Also, even though I loved the movie, I do not own it. There are films I think I can only sit through once and that feels like one.
But my contradiction is more than just my smugness about movies I haven’t seen, that I often end up seeing. Right up until the day of the awards, I pride myself on my disgust at the entire production. I don’t like the focus on wealth, or material things. I ignore the talk of who is wearing what, or how much jewelry so and so will be wearing. I shun the red carpet talk and make wicked fun of anyone foolish enough to get tickets or stand in line for a chance to scream the name of some starlet or other while 500 other people scream along with them.
And the speeches! Oh, how I hate the pretentious speeches. The faux shock at winning, the cheesy smiles of those that lose (who secretly know they should have won, only amplifying the fake shock of whoever did win), and the often fake tears. All the pomp, all the pretense, all the phony sweetness, it wears on me.
Then, every year almost without fail, there I am, clicking the channels looking for some star’s arrival on the red carpet, some talk about the gowns or the suits or the hair or the shoes or the necklaces. I eat it all up! I agonize over who is going to win what, and even though I don’t know the films, I know the work of the actors and that seems justification enough. I about jumped out of my seat when Natalie won for best actress and (while I was sickened by her baby bump, or was that jealousy) when she shed tears,
I believed them. I believed Meryl Streep’s shocked face last night when she won another Oscar. I vowed to see three or four of the films, I bought into the who kit and caboodle all over again.
Next year! Next year I will grow up, do better and have some integrity. Next year, I promise to be a bigger ass.