Why No One Is Watching The Oscars (I Hope)
There is probably some less satisfying reason that no one is watching the Academy Awards. Maybe it correlates with the ever-expanding alternative options for viewing. Or people aren’t having watching parties during the pandemic. Or some other less hopeful reason.
But I prefer to think it’s because we’ve finally become thoroughly disgusted with how wretchedly self-important the whole overdone, opulent affair actually is. I watch TV every night I can, and when I go out to do fun things, I actually miss it. My appreciation for actors only grows. I don’t question that good work is being done in Hollywood. It’s better than ever.
But, in the end, the Oscars are just a room full of people who are good at their jobs. I personally know lots of people who are as good at their jobs. People who are just as hard-working and accomplished. The woman who started an improv theater in my town for example. Not only is she a great improviser but she realized a visionary dream of creating a theater that has become a center of improv study, shows, and community for thousands of people. I know a lot of artists and writers who consistently turn out amazing books. I know professors, teachers, editors, and restaurant owners who are similarly amazing at what they do.
But, for some reason, we reserve a special wealth of attention for Hollywood stars. Musicians and athletes get a similar dose of it, but nothing seems to top the pomp and circumstance of the Oscars.
The problem is that humans generally don’t do well with massive amounts of this kind of attention and fame. They lose their perspective and get full of themselves. They become idealized, larger-than-life imitations of people. People that don’t exist. They become hollow facades like the buildings in the lots on which they work. The Oscars are so fake that when some real humanity manages to actually slip through, we jump to our feet in excitement.
I don’t know why we love our entertainers so much. My guess is that it’s because their primary job is to help us feel something. We love to feel things, especially in controlled environments when we know what’s coming. We long for the full human experience of laughing, cheering, crying, or…