Missing the Oscars

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March 7, 2010 | Comments

I do miss the Oscars.  And tonight, I am missing them literally — not watching, not paying attention.

It wasn’t always this way. Back in the day, I was a rabid movie lover with an endless list of favorites. I cut my teeth on Gone with the Wind, The Godfather, To Kill a Mockingbird, Streetcar Named Desire, West Side Story, anything Rogers and Hammerstein, and everything Disney. And I never missed the Oscars.

Once I was out on my own, the little “movie club” my friends and I organized would happily await that magical moment after work when we would purchase our tickets for our weekly “meetings” that introduced us to the likes of Schindler’s List, The English Patient, The Verdict, Glengarry Glen Ross, everything from Britain, and anything intriguing and obscure. Afterwards we would discuss the night’s film passionately – what worked, what didn’t – then just as fervently debate our Oscar-night picks.

But in the post-9/11 world, just as plot and character in films were being obliterated by computer generation, the Hollywood elite decided it was their duty not to entertain, but to bash America and scold us for our misbehavior. My viewing habits thus now trend toward kid fare and classic series (Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Pirates, the new Star Trek), with a Sweeney Todd, Blind Side and romantic comedy (The Proposal, The Wedding Date, Four Christmases) thrown in here and there. The rest, well, I just can’t see beyond the characters most actors portray, thanks to their hypocritical, “America-is-bad” preaching off screen.

The same applies to Oscar night. Back in the day, those of us who made the Oscars a major media event would anticipate the inevitable, usually laughable, political showboating. But now it’s no longer laughable, with Michael Moore’s standing ovation and his proclamation that the threat of terrorism is a hoax; Al Gore revered for a film he made about a hoax; Hollywood standing yet again to honor absent fugitive winner/rapist Roman Polanski (apparently none of these Hollywood types have daughters); and, with the exception of Avatar and the annual obligatory nod to George Clooney, a roster of nominees unknown to the movie-loving, movie-going populace.

Needless to say, the Oscar’s ratings have plummeted. And needless to say, I have seen almost nothing nominated this year. I adore scheduled host Steve Martin, and I’m sure he and his partner-host Alec Baldwin are being hilarious even as I write this, but still, not interested.

So, yes, a sad night tonight as I think of Oscar nights passed. Tomorrow I’ll look over the list of winners, and even if I see a surprise or two, I’ll know what I’m missing is the way it used to be.

Betsy Siino | Comments