Sunday’s Academy Awards? The show where they hand out awards decided by 5,000 people, of whom the median age is 62, more than 70 percent are men and are white, according to the Los Angeles Times? Where the best picture was seen only by a select few, and the best actor was somebody you never heard of?

Didn’t watch it. I watched a movie instead, which gets my nod for being Pretty Good.

What I don’t get is why so many people watch a self-congratulatory show that seems to pride itself in cheasy production numbers, crummy writing and commercials that go on forever, with phony tension that’s never rewarded by real surprises.


In spending a few minutes thinking about this, I came up with a small list of things that could make it worth watching — along with cutting the duration to an absolute hour…

  • A winner who gloats and thanks no one, who says something on the order of, “Well, y’know, I really was the best. No question about it. What amazes me is how anyone else was even considered.”
  • And counter to that: one of the losers stands up in his seat and screams that he was robbed, and then kicks his way to the aisle and storms out of the theater, yelling all the way to the door.
  • A winner who drops his Oscar during his acceptance speech. It breaks and is revealed to be made of plaster.
  • A winner whose name is called and fails to respond. The camera zooms in on an empty seat and his friends begin to laugh…because they know that Nature’s call prevailed.
  • A wardrobe malfunction on a man. Now what might that be? A case of neglect that becomes apparent only when he delivers his acceptance speech?
  • How about a host who struggles with the telepromter and finally throws up his hands and declares the copy to be nothing short of crap?

I’m dreaming, I know. None of that has much of a chance of actually coming to pass, but one can hope. Meantime, the nation is incurably star-struck and will always be on hand to stoke egos that need no help at all. And once a poor cousin to the Oscars, the Golden Globe Awards now get huge attention, thanks to being a supposed indicator of who will win at the Big Show. It’s all part of a public appetite for award shows of a least a dozen different brands.

I guess it’s because the excercise is so arbitrary. There are no criteria whatsoever for making a judgement that declares a winner. None. Out of the millions of people who see a given film there is that comparatively small segment that votes on their own preference, and even that group votes only on its own particular discipline; i.e., screen writers vote on scripts, actors on actors and so on. You know this. And so it goes, every year. Crazy.

The Clippers edge the Lakers by one slender point, they win. No points for style, no deductions for fouls committed. For the movies they don’t even count for box office. Walk through New York’s Museum of Modern Art: there is no section for favorites or most viewed (granted, that would be hard to guage).

So I guess what it comes down to is a fashion show where you get to gawk at the famous and not so famous, leading, I suppose, to a bit of blatant envy, along with who wins the pool if you happen to share the evening with friends.

I am a true movie fan, as I wrote several weeks ago, and I do tend to value critical comment in my choices. But who won an Oscars for this or that? Not a factor. I trust my own tastes.

At the same time, I will always be a fan of Inspector Clouseau, and I find it hard to avoid Curly, Larry and Moe. There must be a couple of statuettes for those guys as well, under the category of sheer idiocy.