On Sunday night, Hollywood’s top stars will walk on the glamorous red carpet into the Kodak Theatre to attend the 85th annual Academy Awards, known as the Oscars. Over the past few years, the event has endured some harsh criticism about how the organization chooses its winners.
The Academy might have some flaws, but the event signifies more than just rich people in sparkly outfits giving one another giant golden statues. It’s a timeless tradition, and it’s fun. We should lighten up and enjoy it.
It’s old Hollywood without the Communism. In an era in which civility and good traditions have become so rare, should we really wish to do away with one of the last remaining civil traditions in our film culture? The Oscars provide a wonderful link to the past, a time in which people got together and behaved themselves in an orderly fashion. And it is notably better than its award show competitors such as the glitzy, seedy Grammy Awards.
But they don’t nominate the right movies, critics complain. Last year, Octavia Spencer won Best Supporting Actress for her deeply moving portrayal of life for blacks in the South in “The Help.” Best Supporting Actor Nominee Max von Sydow delivered a fantastic performance — without ever uttering a word — in the 9/11 film “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” And Meryl Streep earned her third Oscar for playing our dear Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady,” making her the winningest actress in Academy Awards history. All three of these movies offer insight into the human soul, and we should be pleased Hollywood still bothers to recognize what’s good.
And there are more categories than the most publicized. Every year someone wins an Oscar for sound editing, and another for sound mixing. These seemingly small details in a film make a significant difference, and the Academy honors the contributions of the unsung heroes as well.
If the selections aren’t perfect, the Academy will adjust its choices over time, lest its reputation suffer. In our egalitarian age, let’s celebrate a meritocracy, even if it’s an imperfect one. Also, George Clooney.