Every year I say I’m not going to watch the Oscars. The show goes on too long, the speeches are often sadly inarticulate, and the music, jokes, and “other” that swirls around the presentations range from the insipid to the downright stupid. Nevertheless, on March 2nd there I was again, parked in front of my TV, settling in for the evening.
This year I was interested in one award. I wasn’t hoping my favorite actor would win, nor was I watching to see who would win best director. Almost all the awards seemed a lock before the proceedings began. But the biggie, the Oscar for best picture, seemed undetermined. Who would win that one was anyone’s guess, so I wanted to see the action. I wanted to feel the tension. Like a football game between evenly matched teams, I knew that last play was going to be the most exciting of the evening. I was going to be there for it.
But then, when my favorite, Gravity, lost, I wondered why I had cared so much. In fact why do I (and you) care so much who wins anything? If your team loses, aren’t they going to play next week? If your movie loses, isn’t it still going to be watched, discussed, enjoyed? And we all know that after the victory or defeat of our favorite there’s always next season, and the next, and we will go through it all over again.
In the superb final episode of HBO’s True Detective, the generally disconsolate Rust says, “Look, as sentient meat, however illusory our identities are, we craft those identities by making value judgments; everybody judges all the time. Now, you got a problem with that, you're living wrong.”
So I’ll go on judging which movie I believe should win the Academy Award for best picture, and I’ll enjoy it. I’ll even hope that from time to time the Academy will agree with me.