I can barely remember the last time I watched the Oscars. I have a fuzzy memory of some Oscar party way back in the ’90s at a gay friend’s house where we may have drunk large martinis and tried on his collection of vintage ladies hats for hours while people gave droning speeches. I have thought about why the Oscars hold zero appeal for me (or anyone I know) anymore and a few things have come to mind.
1. There are no real movie stars anymore.
The age of the true movie star is over. Have you seen a copy of People lately? I can’t name anyone in it. From reality “stars” to people who are on some cable show I never heard of, Hollywood is packed with people who are no more famous to me than the checkout girl at the grocery store. Who is today’s Julia Roberts? Robert Redford? Cary Grant? No one shines anymore.
2. The movies are not that good.
Except for the few blockbusters that people love and the Oscars shun, I can’t say for sure that I’ve seen any movie nominated for best film in the last ten years. Whatever committee nominates the films doesn’t seem to care what people actually like.
3. Nobody cares anymore.
Years ago at work the Monday after the Oscars we would all be buzzing about who won and who was best dressed and whose speech was the worst. These days absolutely no one cares. No one is talking about it except Hollywood social media writers. If you asked the average person what they thought of the best supporting actress winner, Alicia Vikander, most people would say, “Who?”
4. Kids have no idea what the Oscars are.
When I was a kid there wasn’t much to watch on TV since we only had about six channels, so when the Oscars came on it was a big deal and we all crowded around our remoteless television to watch it. For days afterward, we would practice our acceptance speeches holding hairbrushes or piano trophies in the mirror. Nowadays, kids have unlimited entertainment choices, from iPad games to 400 cable or streaming channels. The Oscars isn’t going to draw the youngsters who will grow up with little to no concept of what an “Oscar” is. Further, any Hollywood star or starlet the kids want to see can be contacted on Twitter or Instagram and they even write back sometimes. The mystery of the Hollywood “star” is really gone.
5. Too much politicking.
This year’s Oscar cause of the moment was gun control, where all the famous rich people who have armed guards surrounding them and their families 24/7 wore little bracelets to show their support for taking away your right to protect yourself and your family. How quaint. Hollywood has shown such contempt for regular Americans for so long with the constant proselytizing for this cause or that candidate that we’ve severed the dysfunctional relationship we used to have with Hollywood. The “stars,” as they call themselves, may still exist, but they are dimmed.
Movies are still made—and clearly still make money somehow—but people don’t care the way they used to. This is a great thing for our country. While I would be happy to see my children interested in theater and enjoying acting as a creative outlet, I’m glad my kids don’t stand in front of a mirror holding a hairbrush and pretending it is an Oscar. I am happy that spell has been broken.