I haven’t even written a Tuesday post and I already changed my mind on what Tuesday’s posts are going to involve. That sounds like a strong indication of how quickly this misadventure is going to devolve into shenanigans.
To settle this problem, while giving myself enough room to turn Tuesday into a blend of whatever-I-want posts, I’m going to call Tuesday posts Topical Humor Tuesdays for now. Make a note of that for when I invariably change it to something different next week. And the week after. Moving on.
A note added after the post was finished: it turned out more like Tirade Tuesday, but I’m not admitting defeat just yet because there is some topical humor involved (damn it).
Any of you who follow me on Twitter (Anyone? No? Ah well.) are familiar with my tendency to live-tweet things. Sometimes while also some degree of intoxicated. There’s nothing, I’ve found, more enjoyable to drunk live-tweet along with than awards shows, and there’s no award show more fun to drunkenly live-tweet alongside than The Academy Awards (aka The Oscars aka The Awards Show for People Who Can’t Pronounce Names). It’s a huge night for the who’s who of Hollywood, presumably after many weeks of actors and actresses practicing their best I-can’t-believe-I-won faces in the mirror.
Oscar night is also a night that liquor flows like glorious, high-proof rivers of typo-riddled tweets in my feed. I might have jumbled some metaphors there. A couple years ago, I enjoyed mixed drinks involving absinthe. Last Oscar night saw the completion of Joshua Harkin and the Wicked Nightmare King. Typically, no matter how many of the people I’d hoped would win awards find themselves going home with a coveted statue of a shiny, bald man, Oscar night is a proper, damn good time.
So let’s address the particularly large, white elephant in the room. Yes. The one that’s been addressed all over social media. Something about this year’s Oscar Nominations was a little lacking. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it was, but something about the nominations made me feel like I was staring into an endless box of Saltine crackers. Going along with the Saltine comparison a little longer, I’m certainly not the only one who thought these nominations were 1) awfully bland, 2) painfully predictable, and 3) some of the least diverse in years.
I’m going to gloss over how The Lego Movie was snubbed, even though that’s a bit disappointing, because I’m already bracing myself for an awards show with a five drink minimum before it’s even mildly entertaining. And that’s with Neil Patrick Harris hosting. Delightfully funny NPH. Fortunately for everyone, I no longer allow absinthe in the house.
This may be where things get a little Sarah Palin-y in terms of coherent thoughts, so try to stay patient. Representation matters. That reads like the most no-brainer kind of comment in the history of written words, or at least it does to me. Yes, people go to the movies to be entertained, oftentimes by fanciful stories that could never actually happen in real life. The heart of that entertainment comes from being able to go to a movie and see the group you identify with (race, gender, sexual orientation, and so on and so on forever, essentially) in the lead role, as the hero; the person who matters most in a particular universe, even if that universe only lasts for a couple hours. That’s the kind of thing that can take someone and give them the confidence to say “Hey, I could do something amazing, too”.
By extension, it’s important to be able to see more than just the wide variety of white dudes, who find themselves nominated like it’s part of waking up each morning, up for these awards. There was a time I dreamed of being an actor, and so I can’t help but feel that seeing absolutely no one I identify with being nominated would act as a death knell to any dreams of acting. Last year saw so much praise for Twelve Years a Slave in the Oscars, but Selma is apparently only worth a nomination for Best Picture.
These frustrations are only added to by the way red carpet interviews with men usually focus on their nominations, how they feel about their nominations, their previous accomplishments, and so on, while women are usually asked about what they’re wearing. That’s an entirely separate topic in itself, deserving far more focus (and receiving plenty of focus, thankfully). They’re made worse by actors like Benedict Cumberbatch using the term “colored actors” in the year 2015 which, unless you’re existing in a vacuum that was built in the 1800s, is not an acceptable phrase. In the case of the latter example, I realize that he did apologize for what many are calling a gaffe. That said: I just don’t find Cumberbatch, the man with a thousand-million silly permutations of his very British name, to be a particularly compelling actor in anything he does.
What should be happening is a far broader spectrum of nominations at award ceremonies like this. I want to see a year where The Oscars are awarded based on merit. I want a greater variety of people to be able to go to movies to see a person of their race, gender, sexual orientation and so on that makes them feel like they are just as worthy of being a movie icon worth celebrating, and awards shows that reflect that seeking a successful career path as a movie star (or, really, any career path) isn’t limited to white guys. Not that it means much, but if this sort of thing continues into next year I think I’ll just unplug my TV and find other ways to drunkenly occupy my time.
…At least this year did give us “Dick Poop” before the awards were even given out, so we can only hope for at least one more Adele Dazeem moment before Oscars 2015 are over.
Ninety-seven days remaining.