SAN DIEGO, March 2, 2014 — It has been all but impossible to escape the deluge of media hype surrounding tonight’s academy awards ceremony. Every news or entertainment outlet is running a slew of interviews, previews, and predictions, on everything from who will win to what types of outfits the cinema’s elite will arrive in. For many, Oscar night is akin to super bowl Sunday, both in its attendant hyperbole, and the festivities surrounding its consumption.
All but lost in the spectacle will be the award recipients themselves, and the attention given their achievements. While winning an academy award is certainly a momentous culmination of years of hard work, come Monday morning, most oscar watchers will likely be discussing who showed up with whom and who were the best and worst dressed celebrities in attendance. It could be argued that the academy award itself has faded, as far as its relevance in the industry, but it remains a party that nobody in the movie business wants to miss.
And what about those of us who could care less about the Oscars? No matter how little attention one pays to the goings on in Hollywood, or how seldom one makes it out to the cinema, the impending spectacle of oscar night is inescapable. Friends and coworkers begin asking where you will be watching, or inviting you to what has become the gold standard of banality, the dreaded oscar party. For those who were not born with that curious gene which ignites a passion for celebrity gossip, few things send a chill down the spine like the concept of an organized, catered event, dedicated to watching this absurd pageant.
Life can be perilous for the non-oscar watcher. Tact is necessary to extricate oneself from the obligatory conversations and predictions. A person would do well to prepare a short list of plausible excuses or other plans, just in case someone gets the bright idea to invite you to one of these get togethers. To publicly proclaim your disdain for the whole business can also alienate you from your fellows. There may be whispers of insubordination, and your relatives and associates will become suspicious of you. In the worst case, you could even become a person of interest to America’s intelligence community, for anybody who does not love and enjoy the academy awards show might be harboring legitimate anti-American beliefs.
In the final analysis, the academy awards has become more parade than paradigm. It is an opportunity for the beautiful people to remind the rest of us that we will never operate in their sphere. They will don clothes for one night which most of us could never afford. They will pose and wave, and answer all the obligatory questions of the entertainment shills who cling to the red carpet like well-coiffed barnacles. They will feign humility as they strut to the podium, weeping on cue as they accept their statues, and any measure of artistry or industrial integrity will be absent from the proceedings.
For the nonbeliever, it might be prudent to show up to work Monday morning with at least some small shred of oscar-related minutia to spit back at whoever asks you about the show. Just check one of the hundreds of celebrity gossip websites when you wake up, make a few mental notes, or even write them down. Nobody needs to know that you bypassed the oscars for HBOs True Detective and then went to sleep.
Russ Rankin writes about hockey, music & politics. You can find him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter. He also sings for Good Riddance and Only Crime. Find out what he’s up to by checking out his website.