The Annual Oscar Ritual

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Watching the Oscars through the eyes of a failed actress is a slightly different ritual than it is for the average Oscar viewer. It is at once a sadistic and masochistic experience, enjoying the fashion mistakes, awkward speeches, and technical difficulties, but it also  breaks your heart a little when some average performer gets to strut off the stage holding the golden man that symbolizes true talent. Every year, though, despite my attempts to avoid it, I cannot resist the temptation to be a Hollywood voyeur for those grueling four hours.

A failed actress watches the Oscars with the hope of experiencing a sense  of schadenfreude (delight in the misery of others). Some actors turn up in hideous gowns. We chuckle and think we would know better. We  enjoy watching cocky performers who expect to win get beaten. We like it when the cameras go close-in and linger on the faces of the nominees as they wait to hear who the winner is, and quickly re-adjust their expressions when it is someone else.  Even the winners will sometimes trip and fall on their way to the stage. It’s brilliant.

One of the best parts of the evening is watching the chosen host in action. Sure, everybody loves Billy Crystal, but I think Chris Rock was the best. I like it when the actors get roasted by relentless comedians. They, more than anyone, deserve to be humbled. It’s a small price to pay for being paid outlandish sums to act in movies that go straight to DVD. And despite the scandal at the Golden Globes, I think Ricky Gervais would be great hosting the Oscars and should be given the opportunity to do so. But of all the hosts, good and bad, nothing was more painful than last year’s Anne Hathaway/James Franco duo. Despite their good looks, they were supremely boring and unfunny with no comedic chemistry between them.

I admit, and you can probably sense, that there is a bit of sadness, envy, and resentment I feel when watching the Oscars as a self-proclaimed “failed actress.” I remember the years of performing on the stage, the long hours shooting films and commercials, the chemistry and bond among cast members. I miss all of that. All actors dream of  that day when they might be the one whose name is announced at the end of  “and the winner is…”  Accepting that it is unlikely to happen is not easy.  Nevertheless, I can’t resist finding out whose name will be announced.

The Oscars are a good opportunity for failed actors to get together  with friends, lovers, and/or family members, make a nice dinner, and give Hollywood the middle finger. My favorite part of the Oscars are the constant, cynical texts my sister and I exchange the minute the red carpet becomes cluttered with celebs. It’s part of the annual ritual of loving and hating Hollywood.

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