I’d Like To Thank The Academy…

Every year I tune into the Oscar ceremony without fail, despite how I feel about who got snubbed or why they nominated this movie and that movie. Look I’m the last guy to defend the Academy since they have been wrong so many times, and yet…I like the Oscars. The whole pomp and spectacle, the way too long TV presentation-I find it entertaining. The only thing that I skip is the red carpet pre show, which happens to be way too dumb for someone like to me to enjoy, although I guess some of the interviews that take place are amusing.

Besides the Academy Awards often get things right when it comes to who wins, even if it takes them longer than it should. Which is different from other awards shows, particularly the Grammy’s-and Oscar haters should keep in mind that the Grammys, the Emmy’s, and even the Golden Globes have been wrong about who they gave awards to. Besides people forget it’s all subjective, and that the awards season has become incredibly saturated to the point where even a grand old classic like the Oscars has lost a lot of its magic.

Which is a shame, because the Oscars is the main attraction of the awards season. Oh sure the Golden Globes is the fun party, the Emmys the awards show for the often too overlooked medium of television. The Grammy’s on the other hand is utter crap and has always been so, and for some reason I find the gross super populism of the MTV Movie and Music awards to be almost refreshing at times. Still if there is one telecast that almost everyone tunes into, pours over the day before and after, and cares about, it’s the Academy Awards.

I remember when Rotten Tomatoes’ message board exploded when Crash won Best Picture over Brokeback Mountain. There doesn’t seem to be anything that compares, and I like that way. I have been watching the Academy Awards telecast since 1996, the year that Braveheart won Best Picture and Apollo 13, Babe and others were nominated. I was too young to see any of the nominees from that year save for Babe and yet I was hooked. Its been that way ever since.

Yes I have complained about who wins almost every year, despite the fact that the Academy has also brought me plenty of joy. I cheered when the Coen Brothers finally won Best Director, and I was so happy when Martin Scorsese broke through to get his first little golden man. Christopher Waltz taking home an acting Oscar was great too, and I smiled at George Clooney and later on Ben Affleck finally getting their proper dues. Quentin Tarentino acting so happy at winning Best Screenplay last year for Django Unchained reminded me that even though he didn’t win for anything else I loved that he held up that statue like he had just won the Super Bowl. Yes the awards show is flawed-they play off the awards winners too quickly (I loved it when Jon Stewart invited back onstage the people from Once who won Best Song when they had been rudely played off-a really nice touch). The show seems to be stuck in this hard place between inviting entertainment and not being incredibly long.

What I especially recall though was the year that Titanic won Best Picture. Billy Crystal’s spoof opening for the ceremony was hilarious, and yes James Cameron went full blow ego-manic with his awards speech. That’s what we often tune in for, though-the unscripted moments, the parts that are unexpected. Even if the awards have become too obvious and unexciting, we, the audience, watch just for that one part that catches us by surprise. And that’s why I still watch the Oscars every year. It’s a bad habit, sure, but its my bad habit. For better or worse.

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