There are many things I love about Oscar the Grouch. I love the fact that he is mostly a Loner; he lives alone and prefers to be left alone. I love that he is not afraid to be grouchy and that his friends respect his need to be grouchy. I love his greenness and his pet worm, Slimey. In fact, I love Oscar the most of all the Sesame Street residents.
But today we are not here to immortalize Oscar the Grouch.
Today another Oscar holds rank.
Watching the Oscars has been a tradition since I was thirteen. I have never missed a year. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. I was one of those very annoyed when they changed to Sunday nights instead of Monday. You watched the Oscars on Monday and you knew that you would stay up too late and not be worth a dime at work on Tuesday. I don’t see the reason for the change, really. Monday is still a work day for the majority of us watching.
I was watching the only time the Oscars were re-scheduled. This, for those unfamiliar with the history, was in 1981 the year the president was almost assassinated because of a fan’s obsession with a movie star.
The Oscars are familiar. It will always be a late night. The show will most certainly go into overtime. The speeches will be long and most will be cut off by the orchestra. The dresses will be, to say the least, interesting. I miss seeing Cher and all her over the top outfits. Though, I most say, others have picked up the slack quite well. 🙂
The Oscars and who wins are influenced by the circumstances of the times. They are political. I would have given Heath Ledger the Oscar for Brokeback Mountain not for his over-the-top portrayal of the Joker.
The older I get the more attention I pay to the more obscure categories. For a few years now, that has been the writing categories and short films. I cheered loudly, last year, when Dustin Lance Black won for Milk.
I use to be better at picking winners in most Oscar categories; even though I hardly ever saw all the movies before the broadcast. I grew up in a small town (less than a thousand residents) in rural Saskatchewan (Canada). We had one theatre that closed when I was in my early twenties and DVDs and Videos were not an option (yet). Though, even now when I reside in a much larger place, I rarely see the nominated movies before the Oscar broadcast. So far, this year, the only nominated movie I’ve seen is Young Victoria, which is nominally nominated for best make-up I do believe.
I’ve always based my picks on the pop culture opinion. I use to read every Oscar article, listen in to conversations and watch more television. Now, the only magazine I’ve seen this year with intensive written commentary is Entertainment Weekly and they don’t even do a special Oscar issue anymore.
My Oscar reading has always shown me what films I want to hunt out. I’m more and more bored with conventional Hollywood blockbusters. Give me the obscure, the foreign, and movies that make me think. Not that I shun every blockbuster; I went to the most recent Star Trek and the Terminator movies are a (guilty) pleasure.
The two Hollywood nominated films that I will search out this year are The Last Station and A Single Man. I expect both these films to mess with my preconceived notions and I like to be forced to think outside my comfort zone.
It’s the foreign films that catch my interest the most right now. My favourite film, at the moment, is Sweden’s Let the Right One In. It is a smart, erudite film about vampires that manages to turn the genre around without resorting to popular kitsch. The other foreign film I am seeking out right now is also Swedish. I am currently looking for an English dubbed DVD that I can watch here in Canada, of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It is a book series as well as a movie trilogy and no, I don’t want to see the Hollywood remake. Having access to such films as these is almost enough to get me to move to England or Europe since that seems to be where the smart, savvy, intellectual movies are coming from these days.
But, I am Canadian. Here, for the long run, the good and the bad. I will watch the Oscars. I will complain about the Oscars. I will brag about my minuscule connection to the film business. (Shh, one of my sisters is involved in the Canadian film industry). There is still a perceived glamour in such connections. We have no royal dynasties over here. We, us North Americans, have created a more common royalty to worship. Royalty involved with the arts. A Hollywood Royalty that anyone can join and that belongs to all of us. A royalty based oftentimes more on luck than talent.
I will watch the Oscars tonight to see who will be knighted with our highest royal honor. Grab your popcorn and snacks and join me.