In the history of the world, there has been no group of people more self-congratulatory than Hollywood. It seems a legitimate line of work nowadays to dress up in glamorous couture and pat oneself on the back twenty-seven times for one three-hour stint of mooning for the cameras. I'm not sure why I feel compelled to watch this collection of glitterati congratulating themselves for their moral superiority, particularly when I haven't seen a single movie up for "Best Picture", but I watch nonetheless. Besides, you have to admit, it's sort of cute to see these people comment on the recession as if it affects them, as they flit from awards ceremony to awards ceremony in their chauffeured cars, having their diamond-encrusted pie in the sky and eating it, too.
This year's highlights include highly unflattering what-is-she-wearing fashion offenses from Whoopi Goldberg and Jessica Biel, only one direct Mormons-are-haters comment from ex-Mormon award winner Dustin Lance Black (and several indirect comments, including an appearance by Bill Maher to tell us there is no God, or whatever, in case you missed his documentary), Hugh Jackman singing and dancing his way through what mostly looked like the Tony Awards (I'm all for that), and a few legitimately funny moments sprinkled throughout. Overall, I enjoyed it more than years past, although I could have done with a little less swooning over Barack Obama and a little less angry commentary on Proposition 8, but then, that's Hollywood for you.
And yet, the fact remains that no one has seen any of the movies that Hollywood is congratulating themselves for making, a pesky tidbit which Hugh Jackman gamely pointed out during his opening number. I suppose this is another symptom of that moral superiority again. We lowly types simply don't know what art is when we see it (or don't see it, as the case may be), so we have to be told by those in the know. Billion dollar box office juggernauts like "Dark Knight" couldn't possibly be worthy of Best Picture honors. We wouldn't know an academy award-worthy performance if it bit us on the nose (though public opinion seems to have swayed the Academy into awarding posthumous honors to "Dark Knight" star Heath Ledger, but he had his own death working in his favor). So we just have to nod our heads in confused "agreement" as the accolades are passed out honoring films about 36-year old women having affairs with 15-year olds. So touching.
Too bad there isn't an award for "Narcissist of the Year". Now that would be something to watch. Or how about "Most Charitable Star" - awarded to the most generous person based on charitable gifts as a percentage of income. (I mean, a $100,000 gift to charity may sound like a lot, but when it is one tenth of one percent of your income, maybe it's not so spectacular after all). Or how about "Best Dressed", or even better "Most Dressed", awarded to the person who manages to cover up the most body parts? And shouldn't the film with the biggest box office take get an award? I mean, the one person who saw "The Reader" may have liked it, but that's nothing compared to the millions who saw "Iron Man" or "Wall-E".
Ah, Hollywood, so in touch with the rest of us. Congratulations to all the winners. Who were they again?