February 26, 2013
Not Comics: So I Watched The Oscars The Other Night
I saw about 95 percent of the televised Academy Awards ceremony the other night, at a nice home in southern California surrounded by actors and writers and people that work near actors and writers. I had a good time. I haven't watched that show since like 1995 or so, because I no longer have an interest in movies where watching those awards makes sense. The thing that seemed to most delight my fellow program-watchers was how fundamentally clueless I was about movie-culture as expressed at that event. For example, when they introduced Sandra Bullock as a past award-winner, I thought they were making fun of her. I was also fascinated by things those folks take for granted being around that city, like the opera-boxes at the theater, which I thought were cool.
Anyway, it got me thinking a bit about the role that awards have within an arts culture, because it's hard for me to fathom anyone planning a Sunday evening around consuming a comics-awards program, no matter how entertaining the show that surrounded it might be. I suspect the difference is money. Because of the money and the prestige-that-leads-to-money involved with winning an Academy Award, there's literally a bottom-line value to that show that kind of speaks to people in a way that awards may not speak to them in a more abstract, general manner. Without that bottom-line informing everything, it's pretty much how specifically and even personally involved you are with the nominees, or, potentially, the touchstone-value of an award as a career high point for you, a friend or a favorite. Barring even more years of specific cultural capital being accrued or, when it exists, a general belief in the awesomeness of awards -- which is the kind of thing that gets filtered through the movie industry awards prism, come to think of it -- people just may remain slightly disinterested in how those things work or who wins or, really, any of it.
This isn't exactly sterling observational work, of course, but I'm always intrigued by the existence of industry constructs in a medium where there isn't much of an industry anymore, and how those things operate. I was happy when Bill Blackbeard got into the Hall Of Fame, even though it can't mean much to anyone once they're gone and I wish we had had more for him while he was still with us. Still, it's something. These things function, like most institutions and traditions in the post-industry comics industry, in the manner we collectively decide they should function. That's not a bad position to be in, even if I can't talk to my high school friends about who might or might not make the comics' version of the memorial segment.
posted 8:00 am PST
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