The Oscars, to put it bluntly, are a spectacle. A glitzy, over-the-top display of Hollywood excess that’s more about stroking egos and selling ad space than it is about honoring the best in filmmaking. It’s a clown show, an elite pissing contest, and one that’s played out on a grand stage for all the world to see.
But let’s be clear: I’m not calling every actor, performer, and filmmaker in attendance a clown. But rather the industry itself, with its endless self-promotion and its willingness to overlook talent in favor of box office numbers. The Oscars are a reminder that, for all its talk of art and creativity, Hollywood is still a business, and a cutthroat one at that. The films nominated for best picture this year were nothing short of extravagant, with budgets ranging from $14 million to a staggering $460 million. When we add up the entire budget as a whole, we’re looking at nearly $1 billion dollars.
Imagine what good could have been done with all that money. How many schools and hospitals could have been built, how many people could have been fed and sheltered? It’s a shame that so much money is being spent to produce entertainment, while people around the world are struggling to make ends meet. So next time one of these elitists takes the stage and pretends to care about the world’s hungry, remember that they’re being paid millions to pretend to struggle while people are actually struggling. It’s a sad reality, but hey maybe it will be drafted into a screenplay and win an Oscar of its own one day.
And yet, despite all its flaws, the Oscars still somehow manages to captivate viewers year after year. People tune in to see who’s wearing what, to hear the speeches (both heartfelt and cringe-worthy), and to root for their favorite films and performers. It’s a guilty pleasure, to be sure, but one that people can’t seem to resist. Maybe it’s because, deep down, we all want to believe in the magic of movies. We want to believe that art can still triumph over commerce, that talent can still shine through despite the odds. And for all its faults, the Oscars offer us a glimpse of that magic, however fleeting it may be.
But let’s not kid ourselves. The Oscars are still a clown show, and one that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. The industry may talk about all the good it does but will never put its money where its mouth is, unless it gets a return on investment.