Oscar Time

I know it is the 29th of February. I am missing out on the opportunity to dazzle you with some witty leap-day oriented post. Please forgive me.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences annual awards, the Oscars, were handed out last night. It was a big deal, television pre-shows, the red carpet, millions of people watching on television to see the latest fashions and to find out who were the winner and losers.

I think this was the 60th straight year that I avoided the hoopla and ignored the television coverage. I figured there would be a list of winners in today’s newspaper, there is every year. I don’t care for the gossip, the fashion and all the attendant noise.

I do care, at least a little bit, about who the winners are. Some years I have managed to see a lot of the nominees before the awards are handed out; this year not very many. I don’t have a vote, though I did fill out a ballot at one of the local theatres giving my predictions. The prize was free movies for a year. Given that I didn’t recognize several of the names on the ballot and had no idea who I was voting for, I didn’t expect to win.

I care about the Oscars because in many ways what is shown on the cinema screen is a reflection of our society. The types of movies that are made, the themes explored (at least I the serious films) say a lot about who we are, where we have been and where we are going. The unthinkable can become the acceptable and even the norm if the message is skillfully crafted. Our attitudes become adjusted, and we don’t even perceive it happening.

I always hoped that Dumb and Dumber was an aberration, but since that film spawned two other films and a television series I think that hope was in vain. If movies were just mindless entertainment that might not be so bad – but in fact they are so much more.

How about you? Did you watch the Oscars last night? What did you think?

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