Watching The Oscars Like A Normal Person, And It Sucks

Every year, Gini and I watch all the Oscar Best Picture Nominees and as many of the acting categories as we can get through.

But this year, I was a professional.  I was rewriting my novel so I could make the deadline (PRE-ORDER MAH BOOK AND MAKE MY SAD TEARS SWEET SUCCESS), and that meant I was in a spiral of “Ferrett gets off work, works out, and disappears into the basement for three hours of writing.”  That, and Gini’s stressful new job, meant that neither of us were in positions to go see films.

We saw a couple: Spotlight and The Big Short, both of which were so awesome they reminded us of why we try to see Oscar movies.  (The Oscars are like Michelin-starred restaurants in that yes, they’re snooty, and no, they’re not the only marker of quality, but they are very good for a certain definition of “good.”)  We’d seen Mad Max and the Martian already, like the good nerds we were.

The rest? Mysteries.  Revenant looked fucking terrible, and it was the movie we should have seen, but two hours of “Leo chews scenery to win an Oscar” seemed gruelling and we never worked up the enthusiasm.  (Remember, it’s never actually “Best Actor” but “Flashiest Actor.”)

And….

Wow, were the Oscars boring.

For the first time in a decade, we were ordinary schlubs who weren’t invested. Having seen the movies, it was like sports – Revenant, I suspect, would have served the Yankees role as the “team we love to hate” and we would have cheered because the guy who stole “Best Supporting Actor” from Sly Stallone deserved the win and my God, wasn’t The Room wonderful?

But no.  These were just names.  We didn’t give a shit who won, because we’d never seen the movies and the only compelling story was Leo getting shredded by a bear to get the victory that Hollywood wanted to hand him.  (And then he made a totally boring speech.)

Chris Rock livened it up.  But the emcee always disappears in the last hour as the awards come fast and furious (but not to Fast and Furious), and what we’re left with is NAME, NAME, NAME, NAME, NAME, and NAME wins oh good for them I guess.

(Though we were psyched for Spotlight.  It’s a great small movie about reporters slowly uncovering the Catholic Priest molestation scandal over the course of a year, and it really does emphasize how much work goes into breaking some stories.  Nobody really suppressed the scandal; the terrifying thing about Spotlight is that all the pieces had been out there, but nobody had the time to fit them all together.)

Next year, we gotta see all the films.  It’s what makes us invested.  It’s why we love the Oscars – knowing who to root for.  And having watched it this year, I wonder why anyone does watch it.  Yeah, there’s celebrities and goofy little stories and flashy numbers, but in the end it comes down to things you didn’t see winning for reasons the ten-second clips they show cannot possibly get across, and that’s just dull.

Gini and I alway complain about the Oscars Slog we go through – we’ve usually picked up one or two of the Best Picture films, but the rest are usually presented as depressing dramas.  (Though they aren’t all; The Big Short was surprisingly nimble and funny.)  And spending our time watching four downer films in a row can be gruelling.

But the upside is that we see some fantastic movies along the way (like, say, The Big Short and Spotlight), and the Oscars become a great arena where we care deeply about everyone in it.

Watching the films is a necessity.  We learned our lesson.  Because God, we don’t want it to be that dull ever again.

1 Comment

  1. Bea
    Mar 1, 2016

    I confess I spend more time with the pre-game show (aka “The Red Carpet”) than on the rest.
    Although this year, I tuned in to see the In Memorium. Because Alan Rickman.

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