The Oscars

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As you hopefully already know, we are hosting an Oscar Party at Images Cinema on Sunday February 24th at 7pm. We’ll be live-streaming the Academy Awards on the big screen, with Eric Kerns as our host. Brent Heeringa (dressed as Lincoln) will be mixing special cocktails, Cindy from Ruby Sparks will be welcoming you at the door with red carpet fashion commentary, there’s a raffle with prizes donated from many local businesses, our annual Pick the Winner contest, special awards, and more.

As we bust out butts here in the office getting ready for Sunday, I’ve been thinking a lot about the Oscars: what they mean, why I enjoy watching them, and what it means to win these awards.

In high school I was very active in the theater department, and had visions of becoming a famous actress (this evolved into director/cinematographer/screenwriter). While I watched the Academy Awards with my family, wearing my prom dress and eating Oscar-shaped sugar cookies, I would imagine my future red carpet dress (from the thrift store, much to the chagrin of Joan Rivers and Ryan Seacrest), what I would say in my acceptance speech (thanks to my theater teacher and my mom, of course), who I would take as my date (my mom, as my sister would be nominated too and she could take our dad– we’d be the hit of the night as sister collaborators).

I often don’t agree with the winners. Part of this is that my favorite movies are usually not even nominated, and part of it is the “Academy System,” which seems to have a formula for choosing winners, rather than the “best” actually winning. But who can say what the “best” even is? It’ so subjective. There are certainly technical and craft things that can be declared good or bad, but then there’s the inner life of a film, the truth of it, that thing you can feel but not describe exactly.

My favorite film in the list of best picture nominees this year is Beasts of the Southern Wild. I would pick it to win, but I don’t think it will. And, in a way, I don’t really want it to. This is not a big, fancy Hollywood product. If it got too popular it might get watered down somehow, or overplayed. I feel like this is what happened with The Artist last year. I loved that movie and was glad to see it win, but I don’t think it was meant to be such a big deal. It was a little movie about the silent film era and changing technologies, with lovely references and charming dance scenes. The Academy Awards seems like the place for sweeping epics, mind-blowing visual effects, swelling emotional music and deliciously elaborate costumes. I don’t mean that as a bad thing. I love those things! They are just separate from daring, low-budget, quiet/silly/small indie films. I wish Anna Karenina was nominated for best picture, because then I would root for that. I think it fits in with the Academy scene, but is also daring, bold and wonderful.

Even with my somewhat cynical feelings about the awards themselves (Lincoln feels to me like a tailor-made Oscar win for Daniel Day-Lewis), I still love them. I’m going to get dressed up, admire/mock the red carpet fashions, sit rapt to attention at all the speeches, and imagine what it would be like to actually be there. Is it the spectacle of it all? The Event-ness? It’s one of the few national television events I follow religiously (no Super Bowl for me) and there’s a kind of magic in watching something collectively.

So, come join me and the rest of our community at the Images Cinema Oscar Party! Sunday, February 24th at 7pm. FREE to attend. Cash bar. Dress to Impress. Raffle tickets are $5 each or 3 for $12. Pick the Winner ballots (to win a year of free movies at Images) are $10 each or 3 for $25. For more info go to http://www.imagescinema.org

~ Anna

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