And not because I have Cablevision. (For once, I'm glad to have Time Warner.) But I'm choosing to opt out of the Oscars. It's actually been a trend over the last few years, but this is the first year I'm fully conscious of the choice. And I feel okay about it.
It does seem odd as someone who works in the arts to skip out on one of the biggest celebrations, but there you have it. I am skipping out. I might watch The Hurt Locker on DVD, instead. Or go sing some karaoke at my local pub. But sitting for four hours to watch the pomp and spectacle and terrible jokes and over-the-top dresses? Not for me. Thanks.
I used to care. Like, a lot. I used to really invest in the Oscars, invest in seeing all of the movies, invested in having opinions on the movies and the actors and the politics, invested in the history, the whole schmear. I remember rushing home from a rehearsal or something in college to watch and being SO thrilled that Anna Paquin won for The Piano. (Come on, it was 1993. Shut up.) It was like I wrote it or something. I cared so much about it. A couple of years later, I pissed off a whole party shouting obscenities at the screen when they gave Elia Kazan a Lifetime Achievement Award. (You wanna know why? Read this here. Rat fink.)
I did Oscar pools, tried to see all the films, went whole hog on it. I went to parties, pointed at the dresses, listened to the fancy, rich white folks talk about who they care about this or that. And slowly, I found myself not caring more and more. Mostly, I just don't care what the Academy thinks about just about anything.
When I was younger, and really dug on indie movies, and movies like The Piano and Pulp Fiction got nominated, I got a thrill, like the cool kids were making in the real world. It was exciting and fun and something to root for. It was okay to like folks like Quentin Tarantino and Steven Soderbergh because they were Oscar-winners. It was a stamp of approval from the larger society.
I have a friend who used to run out and buy the new albums of his favorite artists so that they would wind up at the top of the charts the first week. It was like that. If they did well, I did well. It was the same thing with seeing a movie on opening weekend; not just wanting to make sure I saw it as soon as I could, but also wanting my heroes and idols to have great weekends.
But now...meh. I like the movies I like, and don't really care about critical approval anymore. I don't bother with what's the #1 movie. And watching the Oscars? Not really worth the time. Sorry, Hollywood. Hope you have a good night.