I heard several times last week that Sunday's 84th Academy Awards telecast would be the "gay Super Bowl." Jim and I have said for years that the excitement of the Oscars simply doesn't compare to the excitement of a football game...because people already know the outcome of the Oscars. Plus, all an Oscar means is that a bunch of people liked you more than the other person; It doesn't mean you or your film was "better" than anyone else. I saw "Iron Lady" and "The Help"...and there's just no way you can argue that Meryl Streep or Viola Davis deserved someone's vote over the other one.
I love movies. I totally buy into the "magic" of sitting in a theater and experiencing a story unfold before me, whether it's with dragons and orcs, maids and servants, or a giant sinking ship. I love the magic of the movies. But the Oscars aren't the movies. Every year they try to make the telecast more like the movies, this year building around the theme, "let's go to the movies." They even passed out popcorn to audience members. But what the Oscars lack, and will always lack, is the magic of the movies because the Oscars telecast isn't a movie...it's just longer than one.
The Super Bowl is a football game. And it's the biggest one every year. Everything you love about football, you can love about the Super Bowl. The hard hits. The big touchdowns. The bigger-than-life personalities. The mistakes, the spectacular catches. What makes football special makes the Super Bowl special.
What makes movies special simply isn't a part of the Oscars.
Can you imagine if the Super Bowl was an awards show during which the NFL announced the result of a popularity vote? Whoever gets the most votes is the Super Bowl champion!
Or imagine if Meryl Streep had to arm-wrestle Viola Davis for Best Actress in a Leading Role! Or if Christopher Plummer and Max von Sydow had to play a game of one-on-one basketball for the Best Supporting Actor roll? If the cast of The Artist went up against the cast of The Descendants in a flag football game for Best Picture? Ratings gold!!
This isn't to say I don't enjoy the Oscars. Even in years when I'm not excited about the front-running movies (like this year), I still watch and enjoy them. And there are often great moments. Last night I loved the speeches by both Meryl Streep and her hairdresser (who cried in his acceptance speech earlier in the night). I enjoyed Billy Crystal's wit (even if some of the jokes fell flat). The retrospective of those we lost always gets to me. And Cirque du Soleil...wow.
Still, Facebook last night and this morning was abuzz with comments on how the show sucked and how boring it was. I think it's in large part due to to this problem they have every year: The Oscars aren't the movies.