1. BOX OFFICE BOON
5 of the 10 Best Picture nominees this year have grossed more than $100 million, including small, independent films Black Swan and The King’s Speech, Oscar favorites whose box office numbers skyrocketed after their nominations. Oscar movies are rewarded financially, which motivates studios to make Oscar-caliber movies. Without them, we’d have nothing but Transformers. Is that a world you want to live in?
2. THE BIG SCREEN
Because most Oscar nominees haven’t been released to DVD yet, those who want to see the nominated films before the show are forced to go to the theatre. This not only increases box office for the good films of the year, but it gets people up and out to experience movies the way they were meant to be. This helps to preserve the format (real theatre) and may even remind people that even their top-of-the-line big screen TV can never replicate the real thing.
3. HIGHLIGHTING TALENT
Being nominated or winning an Oscar can kick-start a career of an otherwise unknown actor, who’s incredible talents might have forever toiled in obscurity without Oscar’s spotlight. See: Christoph Waltz, Marion Cotillard, Carey Mulligan, Jeremy Renner and Tilda Swinton, just to name a few. Oscar not only gives rewards, but careers.
4. A CELEBRATION
Love it or not, the Oscars get people talking and thinking about movies. Some of us do that 365 days a year, but, for the average American, movies are nothing more than a casual entertainment option. But the Oscars are big enough and flashy enough and respected enough to get everyone to pay attention to movies for a little while—and to take them seriously. No matter what else they are—long, cheesy, self-congratulatory, indulgent, or ham-fisted—the essential spirit of the Oscars remains intact: The Oscars celebrate movies.
5. THEY’RE IMPERFECT
I hear people say: “it’s just a popularity contest.” And “how can you take it seriously with some of the mistakes they’ve made.” Yes, this is all true. There have been some absolute abominations in their choices. But if they were predictable or universal, how interesting would they be? Art is subjective, and, just like everything else that is human-driven, the Oscars are fallible—but all opinions are valid, because that’s what they are: opinions. Everybody has one. At the end of the day, we are all interested in what—and who—we like and what we care about. And the real fun is in seeing if the Academy agrees with us. And when they get it “wrong,” oh how much fun it is to talk about! Everything is subjective, and the Oscars are no different. “Right” and “wrong” can be so boring.
6. IT’S FUN TO GUESS
Movies are universal, accessible and somewhat affordable, so chances are even the most casual movie-goer will have seen at least one nominated movie. And chances are they will have a favorite, and when you root for something, it makes you feel invested. And the more invested you are, the more you feel you’re an expert. And, let’s face it, everyone wants to get the most right in their Oscar pool. The Super Bowl may be fun, but you only get to guess one winner. The Oscars are the Super Bowl times 24.
7. IT’S A PARTY!
Everyone gets dressed up at the Oscars—and, come on, they’re movie stars. Tell me one person who doesn’t like to see movie stars dressed to the nines. Seriously. And it’s an excuse to have a party. There’s nothing better than getting together with friends to watch the Oscars. It’s an event like nothing else, a spectacle that can sometimes turn into a trainwreck. You laugh, you cry, you snark. Who could ask for anything more?
I love the Oscars. I love them because I love movies. I love the pomp and circumstance, the movie stars, the glamour, and the tradition. But what I love the most is the celebration of the art form. There may be elements of the Oscars that strike you as shallow and corrupt, you may feel it’s too much about fashion or that it’s more about popularity than quality. All of that may be true, but no matter what they are, they are still about movies. And for me, that can never be a bad thing.
Enjoy the show!