This is a fact that has always mystified me. Why do hundreds of millions of people bother to watch a ponderous, 3 1/2 hour awards show like the Oscars? Is the lame opening monologue really that worthwhile? Do you need to know who won best sound mixing and film editing? Is it so important to know who is wearing what?
Many people think the best part of the Oscars comes when we get to awarding best actor and actress, director and film. After all, those are the “big” awards. I think the best part comes in those rare moments when those in attendance dare to throw a wrench in the works for a higher cause. There ain’t nothing like crashing the biggest awards show around. Remember back in 2003 when Michael Moore gave his famous/infamous speech upon winning best documentary for his middling effort “Bowling for Columbine”?
Let me make three observations about this brief speech. First, it took a lot of guts. Remember, he made these comments at the same time that the Dixie Chicks were receiving death threats for speaking out against the War in Iraq.
Second, it made the dreary awards show interesting. How many times do we need to hear “I’d like to thank God, and my wife, and my agent, and my blah blah blah…”
Third, it turns out that he was right: from the alleged existence of WMD to the claimed link to al-Qaeda, the grounds for war were, as Moore said, for “fictitious reasons”. And at what a cost: hundreds of thousands of civilians dead, thousands of troops dead, a nation’s infrastructure in ruins, three trillion dollars spent. Oops.
Not that excellence in sound mixing isn’t important. But along the way it would be nice if the show would give us more youtube worthy clips that shamelessly used the platform of film to get us talking about other important matters. After all, isn’t that what great films are supposed to do?