The Oscars like the old theatres that illuminated main street in every town and city are far from the ordinary life, because they have to be, to allow us to escape from it.Nothing seems more of a waste of time and money than the Oscars. Last night for over three hours millions of people, statistics of which show 7-9% of them unemployed and most of the others barely scraping by in menial labour, watched wealthy celebrities in designer dresses get out of limos, walk down red carpets, pose for photographs, describe how glorious and important their work is, and collect gold statues.
Of the whole night of opulence, there was one scene far more important to any criticism that one could lob at the 84th Academy Awards, one picture put the whole night in context. It was the epitome of the Oscars, indeed the epitome of film, a backdrop to one segment representing the whole industry, the whole art, it was an image of an old theatre with a lit up marquee and a facade completely lined with incadescent light.
In watching all of the Oscars' glitz and glamour, it is easy to criticize, but that picture of the extravagant theatre is a reminder not just of what going to the movies was like, but what movies are. Movies are not the every day, the normal, the mediocre; they are to us what the bright luxurious theatres of yester year were to towns and small cities, a beacon of escape, awe and fantasy.
With all the rich celebrities unfairly more famous than Nobel prize winners in a ceremony more watched than the nation's own affairs one can criticize the disconnect of the Oscars to our daily life, but that disconnect is the very reason why movies have the appeal they do. Just as one cannot escape from jail by never leaving it, a person can never escape reality, even momentarily, without disconnecting, without separating from it.
Many can criticize the Oscars for its extravagance, for its divergence from mundane reality but in doing so they criticize the escape, the awe, and the fantasy that is film, that is art. Such criticism of the Academy Awards is thus on par with comments that black is too dark and the universe too inclusive, for each is merely what its meant to be.
The Oscars like the old theatres that illuminated main street in every town and city are far from the ordinary life, because they have to be, to allow for us to escape from it.