The Oscars always come as a welcome illusion.
Once a year, biggest names in Hollywood dress up and pass out awards to the people a bunch of old white men deem appropriate. It isn’t exactly a vital part of our culture, and the best films don’t always end up with awards; but it is fun.
The tabloid lives of stars are forgotten for the night, and we trick ourselves into believing that the golden age of film was really flawless. We let ourselves think tuxedos, dresses and updos will bring us back to a time when nostalgia reigned.
But the illusion is stretched thin. The hype around the Academy Awards has grown so big that it seems like it can’t be sustained. In recent years we have started to see through it.
This year, networks started airing red carpet coverage as early as 10:30 a.m. Broadcast school dropouts spent hours interviewing the actors who didn’t have anything better to do before the Oscars than show up early.
Even within the show the magic is transparent. Audio mixing problems, mic feedback during the speeches, and graphics that looked like they were made in Microsoft Word left viewers unenchanted.
It’s been years since the host was actually entertaining. The majority of the recent hosts have been – at best – mildly amusing, while some were just painful to watch. This year Billy Crystal skirted racism in a couple of instances and laughed at his jokes longer than the audience did.
The Oscars are going through a rough patch, but we shouldn’t write them off. The ceremony is a nice break from reality, and it is nice to see people win an award for doing their job well. That is something that isn’t usually done so publically. In the grand scheme it doesn’t mean much to receive a gold trophy, but on some level it is nice to see a person honored in front of his peers.