So, the 2013 Academy Awards aired last night. Did you watch them? Of course you did! We all did. This is, after all, the United States of America. But it struck me this year that it might finally be time for us all to admit that the Oscars just inherently suck. Every single year, I grow increasingly bored and/or annoyed and/or frustrated and/or other human emotions within the first 15 minutes. Every single year, there are endless debates over how well the host did as if it ever actually matters. Don’t get me wrong, Seth MacFarlane was not a good host! He made very lazy jokes about Jews running Hollywood, for example. (Two seconds later a man dressed in a NAZI UNIFORM burst into the theater! LOL?) All night long, people who were trying to thank their friends and family for helping to support them as they pursued a career doing something they loved and were talented at, the music from Jaws would interrupt them, and yet the Oscars continued for 10 minutes after the final award was given out so that Seth MacFarlane and Kristin Chenoweth could sing some insufferable song about “losers”? (Seriously, I kind of just want to do an entire post about that. I know that Seth MacFarlane hasn’t hosted a lot of things, or even done that much live performance, but there is nothing an audience hates more after a long show than for the host to get back onstage and do another bit. And it’s doubly insane and unwatchable when some people were barely even allowed to speak. One man’s MICROPHONE WAS CUT OFF and yet this comedy song that no one wants is played in its entirety? This is called HUBRIS.) (I also do think that it is weird that the 900-year-old movie CHICAGO got more airtime last night than anyone who won an Oscar.) But OK, so he didn’t do a very good job. But who did? Billy Crystal last year? Come on, no. Even Anne Hathaway and James Franco, widely considered the worst at it, were, you know, very very bad, but like, about the same bad ultimately as anyone. And you know why? Because the Oscars just suck.
Here’s the thing: we all love the movies or whatever. And the backbone of America is built on the idea that we should all get to be rich and famous. Hollywood is a dusty, disgusting, almost impossibly depressing miasma of drug-addled, sun-bleached egos fighting each other for tiny slivers of ultimately worthless attention, and yet everyone is at least mildly blinded by the smoke and mirrors into thinking that it is still kind of glamorous. (Fun Fact: last week I passed by the street where all of the tents were being set up for the Academy Awards and I can tell you without hesitation–and I did not realize this until I drove by–that it is heled on what is easily one of the single most disgusting and depressing blocks in the entire city. I am telling you, guys, these clapboard walls are disguising actual nightmares. But OK, so we accept that regardless of the reality, we are still enamored by the myth. That’s fine! Let’s just enjoy it. Life is short.
And in many ways the Oscars do a great job of perpetuating the things that we like best. People look pretty! They sometimes even act like human beings, which makes us love them even more! The room is filled with America’s royalty, amen, God Save The Queens. What happens next, though, is that people start winning awards, and that is when it kind of falls apart. For one thing, the wrong people win a lot of the time. Or at the very least, it is certainly not the “Best” people who win. (Like, I’m sorry, but The Life of Pi will not even be remembered three years from now.) On top of that, within a very short period of time, the pomp and glamour turn into self-satisfaction and televised indulgence. America already suffers from an inferiority complex towards its stars, and now here they are seeming to tell us that we are right to believe that life is unfair, and that their blessed existence is truly charmed, unlike our own messy and unheralded, sometimes sad and definitely impoverished existence. (Some of us are at least able to recognize that this is part of the fiction, since Hollywood is almost exclusively filled with ravaged human beings whose experience of our equally brief time on this planet is anything but pleasant. And yet, we all play our role in this shared myth perfectly.)
So some host is supposed to accomodate all of that and make it entertaining? And Michelle Obama comes out and presents an award from the FUCKING WHITE HOUSE? Anne Hathaway takes the stage and quietly whispers “it came true” and while you understand that she wanted this very badly and that she worked very hard to get it and we should all be so lucky as to define our desires so clearly and to ultimately achieve them, it somehow sticks out as one of the most obnoxious things you’ve ever heard? Jennifer Lawrence falls down a couple of stairs on her way to picking up a statue for just one of the lauded movie roles she played in this, her 22nd year alive, and you genuinely might even feel bad for her for a second before you remember, you know, EVERYTHING ELSE THAT IS GOING ON IN THE ENTIRE WORLD THAT IS ACTUALLY HARDSHIP UPON HARDSHIP, and Adele’s sound is poorly mixed, and the cast of The Avengers can NOT get their shit together, and half of the award winners have Hobbit: An Unlikely Journey haircuts, and it’s just like, can we keep doing this? Should we?
Incidentally, I have no actual solution in mind. I’m not saying they should cancel the awards, as if it would even matter if I did say that, but I’m not saying that. I’m just saying they suck so bad. Every time. FACT. See you next year to do this all over again. Obviously.