For decades, starting in my teens and through most of my adult life, I never, ever missed The Academy Awards show on TV.
From the first Red Carpet interview to the last award, no matter how much over the scheduled time the show ran and how interminable the acceptance speeches were, I stayed with it to the end!
From the years of Bob Hope hosting through Billy Crystal and an ongoing slew of other one or two-time hosts I kept watching.
But no more. I did not watch the show last night. Because the Academy Awards are simply no longer of interest or relevance to me in any way.
Most of my life I have been a passionate movie buff. For decades I was madly in love with Cary Grant and have seen even his most obscure movies like Sylvia Scarlett. Did you know that Cary Grant had been named one of the best actors of his time, yet he never won an academy award. How can that be?
Going to the movies has long been one of my favorite things to do. I love romance, mystery, adventure, historical epics, comedies, and literary adaptations. In fact, I love pretty much every genre except horror and can take-or-leave sci fi.
I used to search out beautiful old restored theaters from the film heydays of the 1930s. Spacious Art Deco gems with big screens and seats for thousands of movie fans. My favorite of these was the Historic Senator Theatre in Baltimore, MD.
Going to the Senator was more than an hour’s drive from where I lived at the time, in York, PA, but I rarely missed anything they were showing. Honestly, if I still lived anywhere close to Baltimore I would probably still be going.
But there are simply no movie theaters for me to go to. Where I live in Florida I would have to make the 4-hour round trip drive to Tallahassee or Panama City Beach. In PA I would need to do the traffic-jammed trip into Pittsburgh, 50 miles north of our Laurel Highlands home. Neither of which I’m willing to do.
In both my locales the Internet speed available to us is so slow I can’t even stream a film from Netflix, Apple, or Hulu. So that’s not an option.
I think the last “best picture” winning film I saw was The Artist which won in 2011.
There are other reasons for no longer being interested in the Academy Awards. Or, in any of the awards shows. Seems I’m not alone. There are lots of people tuning out and tiring of watching celebrities celebrating themselves. Awards shows have been losing viewers since before Covid hit in 2020, but Covid gave the decline a big push downward.
Who wants to sit through hours of tiresome acceptance speeches that are just long lists of names being recited, or even worse, acceptance speeches turned into political statements by people whose opinions aren’t really of interest to us?
Certainly not me.
If I’m curious about winners, I can Google it the morning after and get all the information in a couple minutes without watching people being “played” off the stage because they just won’t stop talking.
Even the clothes aren’t worth watching for. So many actresses competing to see who can reveal the most of their bodies in very sleazy attire or who can show up in the most outrageous attire draped in layers of ruffles or bubbles, or men wearing monochromatic suits that have no pants … just a pair of shorts or attire better suited to being a character in Alice in Wonderland.
Its’ as if fashion designers are competing to see who can design the worst-possible most unflattering gown or outfit. Was a time when Oscar fashion was glamorous, stylish, and sophisticated.
Then there are the ad naseum causes du jour. The opinionated speeches are a turnoff. Lip service to causes by hypocritical celebrities rings totally hollow to me.
I know that’s nothing new. In 1987 screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky used his turn as a winner to say he was “sick and tired of people exploiting the occasion to advance their own personal political agendas” because it was going on back then. Thank you Paddy for expressing that sentiment.
So the reasons to not watch keep piling up.
The golden years of film are long gone. The days when movie studios created star personas for their rosters of actors are long gone. There are only a few actors who have the star power to guarantee success for a film. And even that doesn’t guarantee a critical success.
The reality is that most of us really don’t care who the award goes to. We have so many more important and interesting things going on in our lives. Hollywood just hasn’t realized it yet.
“To those of you who received honors, awards, and distinctions I say ‘Well done”. And to the C students, I say, you too can be President of the United States.”George W. Bush
If you enjoyed this blog and know someone else who would enjoy it, please share it.
Amen! No idea how and when we citizens of the USA started glorifying actors, athletes and celebrities. I appreciate excellence in any and all forms and honor those that have ascended to the pinnacle of their chosen craft, but the crafts themselves hold no exalted status in my eyes (the sole exceptions being our military, police, firefighters and other first responders).
Why does our society view the best actress on the planet in a different light that the best anthropologist, the best molecular biologist, the best electrical engineer, etc.? Why is LeBron James held in higher esteem than the Secretary of Education? We’re living in such a chaotic world!