Why Everyone Should Love the Oscars

Academy Awards on display at WB Studios, 2005

Last night marked an event way better than the Superbowl or any of those other big events that take place at night: the 84th Academy Awards.

I love the Academy Awards. I love the Golden Globes. I love the movies and the TV shows and the everything else when it comes to Hollywood. Granted, I still haven’t seen a lot of movies that are must-sees (and I’m watching Father of the Bride II on my now working Roku box while writing this, a movie I have seen 1,000 times), but I have a freakish capability when it comes to connecting movie actors to other movie actors and what movies/TV shows they have been in. Really, it’s frightening, and almost obsessive. If I could free up that brain space, I would probably be way smart. But, in a way, I like knowing all that stuff, even it does nothing to help me in my graduate school career.

High school performance of Crimes of the Heart. I was Lenny, played by Diane Keaton (who reminds me of my mom) in the movie version. Oh, and clearly we are not in costume in this picture.

Occasionally I’m overtaken by a spontaneous desperation to be a movie star and wish that I could move to Hollywood or NYC and make it big. Which I could probably do (the moving part, I mean), but I don’t think I have the heart to transition my focus completely from writing to acting and would never make it (yeah, that’s the biggest issue here with this plan). But, my middle and high school life was marked by the plays I was in every year, starting as an Indian in Peter Pan in 6th grade and ending with a 1-act play a friend of mine directed my freshman year in undergrad where I had to (somewhat awkwardly) kiss someone on stage. I don’t blame that kiss or anything for ending my theater life. I just simply grew too busy and by the time I refocused after an insane freshman spring semester, I was moving steadily down the writing path instead of splitting my time between both.

"Ah, Wilderness" my senior year. I had four children. My dad was also in this play with me, but my favorite performances with him were Hello, Dolly and My Fair Lady. It's an interesting experience to help your dad put on eyeliner.

But, that never changed my affinity for Hollywood and everything related to it. And, because of that, I love watching the Oscars and seeing the very best that Hollywood has to offer that year. Sure, sometimes random people get nominated (I was thrilled Melissa McCarthy was nominated, forever Sookie in my mind, but I never would have called that), but for the most part it’s a glittering, fascinating, awe-inspiring show that leaves you with a greater faith in the movie industry than existed before the award ceremony began. Seriously! If you’ve ever watched it, you know how inspiring those speeches about the magic of the movie industry can be—especially when it’s coming from someone who has been in it for a long time, like precious Christopher Plummer talking to his Academy Award as if it was a she. Or even the mini blurbs from well-known actors about their first movie experience, or the experience of performing in a movie.

The costume they tried to make me wear in My Fair Lady. Um, NO.

So that’s why everyone should love the Oscars, no matter what you think about the movie industry or your opinion over the movies nominated, or the actors that win. Even though this year The Help was a big controversy among social groups, I still champion the movie (and the book), not just because one of my old theater directors appears in the movie—she’s the woman reading the book in the grocery store scene—but because I think it’s an inspiring story and was extremely well-acted. You can fight me on that all day long, but I won’t budge.

But, I’m getting sidetracked. Have I not convinced you why you should love the Oscars? Other reasons:

  • Octavia Spencer’s acceptance speech.
  • The star-studded crowd. But Angelina?? Come on, put that leg away.
  • The show’s host. Anne Hathaway and James Franco are not good examples of this, beyond the opening spoof they had put together prior. But Billy Crystal—yep, he will do.
  • Emma Stone = girl crush. Enough said.
  • Reactions to the announcement of winners.
  • Reactions to other things. This calls for a game of “Who’s the Most Bored in the Audience?”
  • Speaking of boredom—Stacy Keibler’s face during the Cirque du Soleil performance. She’s crazy, because that performance was freaking amazing. And a major testament to the magic of movies. Think Annie! Seriously.
  •  The montage of great movies over the year and the montage of the year’s nominated movies.
  • Meryl Streep’s acceptance speech, even though I was totally rooting for Viola Davis to win. And, Jean Dujardin’s acceptance speech, even though I was rooting for George Clooney.
  • Even though the show is pitting actors against each other, everyone seems to put aside their disappointment over not winning for the night and just enjoy that they’re there. Plus, I have to imagine just getting nominated is baller—this is something I would known by now if I had moved to Hollywood and made it big. Plus plus, the Hollywood community is a community like any other, the Academy Awards providing a chance to catch up with old friends/fellow actors. For some reason, this fascinates me—as if actors/actresses are a breed all to their own. Which, some might say, they are.

The "Friends" coffee shop! Not the movies, but close! I have a lot of other pictures from WB Studios (like the Ghostbusters steps!), but they're not as clear.

Finally, the biggest reason I love watching the Oscars: the ballot Rahul and I create beforehand and keep a tally of while watching the show. I’ve beat him two years in a row (NBD) but, really, the best part about it is that he wants to watch it with me in the first place. He makes me laugh during the show, lets me get competitive about who’s winning, and appreciates my star-struckness and obsessive need for Hollywood knowledge. For that, I’ll watch any sports shindig big event hooplah he wants me to.

Oh, and before I forget, I was actually impressed by Justin Bieber in Billy’s opening spoof. Not a lot. But enough. More than I was by Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez. Come on ladies. What happened to letting Nicolas Cage present an award??

Just in case you missed the Oscars, find the winners here.

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