I could write a run of the mill Oscar recap to match the run of the mill show. I could talk about how Steve Martin is one of the greatest comic geniuses of all time, or bitch about the idiotic opening number with Doogie Howser, M.D. I could praise the cool formats for introducing the best movie, actor, and actress categories, or get real gossipy (what 6 year-old girl picked out Sandra Bullock’s lipstick, how unflattering was James Cameron’s wife’s dress, and what was up with Alec Baldwin’s arm shaking???). I could express shock that they finally did a cool, entertaining dance number (for the best score category), or bemoan how incredibly predictable this year’s winners were (I know there were a lot of perfect pool scores out there). I could bitch about how they opened with Swayze for the In Memoriam segment and messed up the video feed so that he didn’t get his proper round of applause, but hearing James Taylor doing a Beatles song made up for everything. I could point out the dichotomy of honoring a brave movie like The Cove, but then cutting away and turning off the mike when their acceptance speech started getting political. I could gripe about all the flash in the pan crappy young actors and actresses who haven’t earned their stripes that they had presenting awards just to boost ratings, offset by the touching tribute to the great John Hughes. I could go on about how cool it is that Kathryn Bigelow is the first woman to win best director, or how that washed-up cow Barbra Streisand did her best to ruin that great milestone by making it about her (just read the name and let the moment stand on it’s own you classless, self righteous, gas bag of a ham). I could do all that, but I'm not going to. Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age, but all I want to talk about is how motivating the Oscars can be.
For those of us who worship movies, Oscar night is a weird mix of Prom and the Super Bowl. It represents the pinnacle of what movies aspire to be, while putting everything that is wrong with superficial Hollywood on display. Movies, or films as my pretentious acquaintances would correct me, are the highest art form. They combine writing, theater, music, and imagery to create the most visceral of all experiences. In art, you don’t declare a winner, you just appreciate and learn. That being said, it sure is cool when a guy like Jeff Bridges wins and everything seems right in the universe. A talented, good guy gets rewarded. And that’s when the Oscars make sense. Sharing, as an audience, the realization of an impossible dream for the deserving person on stage. The joy and emotional release of vindication. We’ve all imagined what it would feel like to stand there with that heavy little statue in our hands. Who we would thank, what we would say.
One of my favorite Oscar memories is sitting in my friend Jeff’s living room watching the Coen Brothers win. I have been such a huge fan of theirs from the beginning of their career, that I felt very personally invested. They finally got the recognition they deserved, and in a weird way, all their fans got validation for their devotion. Whether they won an Oscar or not though doesn’t change a frame of their brilliant movies or my enjoyment of them. Many great movies don’t even get distributed or nominated, let alone win. And that’s life. It’s so rare to get an award or a pat on the back for doing the right thing or staying true to your dreams. Your own heart has to be the Kodak theater.
My Oscar recap last year was the first blog post I ever wrote, and in the past year I’ve learned a lot. I guess I’m having a mid life crisis, but I can’t afford to buy a Harley or a Corvette, so I’ve had to look inward to create something exciting and new. Oscar night always leaves me inspired, motivated, and upbeat, ready to get busy making dreams come true, whatever they might be. Shit, after The Dude won an Oscar, I was in such a good mood that I didn’t even skip Hotel California when it came on Pandora while I was writing this. And I hate the fucking Eagles, man.