I intentionally did not watch the Academy Awards on Sunday night. Apparently millions of other folks made the same decision that I did because this year’s awards show had the second lowest viewership since ratings began being tracked in 1974. Well, there was nowhere to go but up since the 2018 awards show holds the record for lowest viewership. Why the plummeting interest in what used to be a “must see” event? My answer? The awards show has turned into a “why bother?” event.
Don’t get me wrong. I love to watch movies and have since I was young. A great Saturday afternoon for me in high school was to head to the movie theater with my best friend and watch a Robert Redford movie. Yeah, sure, some of them were Westerns like “Jeremiah Johnson,” but the scenery was breathtaking. And no, I’m not referring to the mountain views; it was WHO was looking fabulous on those mountains.
Even as an adult, watching movies is an enjoyable past-time for me. I subscribe to Netflix and have Amazon Prime so I can indulge in the big screen in front of my littler screen at home. After working all week, it’s great to unwind while watching a movie and eating buttered popcorn.
Much as I like movies, I’ll confess that I have not seen ONE single movie which was nominated for Best Picture this year. And that’s saying a great deal since a whopping EIGHT films got this nod. I did want to see “Vice” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” but they didn’t stay in my local theaters long enough for me to work in into my schedule. It’s hard to get motivated to watch a show for 3+ hours at night when I don’t even have a horse in the race I even care about.
But, haven’t I already seen “A Star Is Born?” Well, I saw a prior version of it–one that came out in 1976 with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. Even that movie was the THIRD remake of the classic movie. How many times can this star be born? Hopefully, it is not related to the feline who has nine lives….Apparently there is nothing new under the California sun and screenwriters are having to recycle (and recycle and recycle) old movies.
Honestly, I’d never heard of “Roma” prior to the list of Oscar nominations being released. I still don’t know what the movie is about, but I’m guessing it is not about a tomato. Tomatoes can be a fun basis for a movie though. In college I had a blast attending a midnight movie at the campus theater’s showing of “Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes.” I suspect my fond memories of the event had more to do with the group of friends I was with than the story of the vile vegetables.
Color was a popular theme this year; colors were used in the name of over a third of the best picture nominees. The ultimate Best Picture winner, “Green Book,” along with “Black Panther,” and BlacKkKlansman,” had a tinted title. I’m happy that “Green Book” won, but that’s merely because green is my favorite color.
According to some, the increase in viewership this year was due to people being gaga over Lady Gaga. The singer starred in the latest version of “A Star Is Born” along with Bradley Cooper. I had no idea that the latter could sing and that the former could wear clothes that look somewhat normal. (Who could forget her infamous meat outfit she sported at one point?) The duo gave a live and steamy performance of “Shallow” during the awards show which left those in the audience spellbound. Some, although hopefully not Cooper’s real-life girlfriend, were reportedly fanning themselves from the heat between the two co-stars.
And what’s an Academy Awards show without controversy? Politics reared its ugly head as Javier Bardem and Maya Rudolph made remarks in reference to Trump’s desired border wall. Um, I’m sorry. Was there a movie about the wall in the running? Regardless of what your politics are and whether or not I agree with you, why must you use this show as a platform to air your opinions? Just because you are an actor, director, producer, etc., why should I care what you think? If you want to talk politics, go on a news show. I’ll bet more people tuned in to see what Lady Gaga wore than to determine the political leanings of members of the Academy.
Many viewers could care less about the films; they are interested in fashion. There’s live coverage of attendees showing up and walking the red carpet so everyone can gawk at what celebrities are (and sometimes aren’t) wearing. Pink, according to reports, ruled the day as the color of choice. But what took the cake was the outfit that LBGTQ activist Billy Porter wore. We’ve seen women attired in tuxedos, but Billy sported a black tuxedo jacket with a velvet ballgown skirt. Yup! A man in a dress. No word on whether the Tony and Grammy award winner from “Kinky Boots” was wearing any such footwear underneath his voluminous skirt.
One thing different about this year’s program was that there was no host. Isn’t that like sailing a ship without a captain? For the first time in thirty years no well known figure was at the podium to entertain and keep things going. Could they find NO ONE who wanted to take this one and have his mug seen for several hours by millions? Perhaps all the well-known figures were too busy with their pre- and post-Oscar bashes to fit that duty into their schedules.
In retrospect, I have no regrets for not having watched the awards show. Time is a precious thing, and I don’t want to waste it. Did I really have three or so hours in the evening to gawk at movie stars, listen to political rants, and observe outrageous outfits? My time was better spent going to bed at a decent hour and getting a good night’s sleep. I can always read about the nonsense that occurred in the paper and online in a few minute’s time afterwards. Sorry, Oscar. Eating an Oscar Meyer wiener would win the Best Way To Spend My Time award over watching the Oscars.
Just WONDER-ing: Did you watch the Academy Awards this year? Why or why not? Do the political opinions of a movie star carry any weight with you?