You really like me!

Like many movie nerds, I spent this past Sunday evening watching the Academy Awards. Curled up on my couch with a bowl of popcorn, I settled in for what is essentially my Super Bowl.

Do I care about who wins? Not particularly. Detractors of the Oscars love to thumb their nose at the show. Art is subjective. There isn’t a “best” actor or film. Isn’t this all just a bunch of narcissistic Hollywood self-promotion?

Sure, that’s part of it. But I don’t care. It’s the one night a year where creators, broadcasters and the TV-watching public alike all gather around and collectively spend three-and-a-half hours enthusiastically celebrating movies.

I love how self-indulgent it is when five previous Oscar-winning actors parade onstage, backed by colossal images of their younger selves, and wax poetic about the current nominees. I love watching Nic Cage give a 90-second toast to Paul Giamatti. I love it when the dorky sound designers or special-effects artists frantically try to read a list of names and tell their kids watching at home to go to bed before the orchestra plays them off.

I love the In Memoriam segment. I was grateful for the opportunity to give one last little salute to Paul Reubens, Harry Belafonte and Piper Laurie. Maybe it’s silly, but seeing Pee Wee Herman tell Dottie “I don’t need to see it, I lived it,” and have it be treated with all the reverence of “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” warms my heart. It’s one last little outpouring of love for someone we loved and whose work brought us joy.

I don’t care if the Oscars are cringe. Celebrating things that bring joy is cool.

Published in Volume 78, Number 21 of The Uniter (March 14, 2024)

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