The Oscars are here!
It’s that time again – Oscars – and we’ve all got our picks, our faves, our popcorn at the ready, our DVRs set if we can’t be present for the overly long telecast, and those impromptu speeches and stumbles.
But we’re glued to our images, mesmerized by the glitz and glamor. Or at very least, wondering if our preferred stars and films will get the nod. And naturally, there’s the Red Carpet fashion parade beforehand, for those of us who willingly admit we adore seeing what the stars are wearing.
What’s not to love about a little hoopla and bountiful bling?
And the ceremony itself – we’re into that, too. Come on. Admit it. We watch our film icons as they wait for the envelope please, and enjoy the satisfaction of a win we approve of, and the annoyance when an admired actor is passed over.
This morning, I was cruising my usual online media sources – Yahoo, Huffington Post, MSN, and assorted variations in French. It’s Saturday! I don’t want hard news! I was in the mood for celebrity stylings with my small cup of most excellent java. And I came across this article on the snubbing of Meryl Streep when it comes to Academy Awards, and I have to say, my jaw dropped.
I had no idea how many times this superb actress had been nominated, and yet hadn’t taken home the golden statue itself. Dare I mutter – shocking?
Meryl Streep’s Academy Award record
This extraordinary actress has been nominated for something like 17 awards, and has only won two: for Best Supporting Actress in 1979 (Kramer vs. Kramer), and for Sophie’s Choice (1982) as Best Actress. Of course, having seen Julie and Julia, I was blown away by her performance as Julia Child, as I have been impressed by virtually every performance I’ve ever seen from the woman who is arguably “America’s greatest living actress.”
The MSN Entertainment article goes on to suggest that Streep may be beyond the need to win at this point, genuinely comfortable in her talent and accomplishments, and thus, the obvious esteem in which she is held. Perhaps those nominations – not to mention her box office – are sufficient.
But I wondered about that. Who, after all, doesn’t love to win?
The importance of winning
Don’t we all thrive on awards and recognition?
- Wouldn’t you prefer to be the winner, rather than second place or among those “honored” and considered?
- How important to you is recognition among your peers, your community, or your inner circle?
- In your profession, do awards matter for getting ahead – and do they matter to you, personally, perhaps more than you let on?
- Is it disingenuous when someone says “I’m just happy to be nominated?”
Prizes, awards, and recognition are increasingly part of popular culture. We relish our celebrities as they sashay down the Red Carpet in vintage Valentino and Harry Winston, in Dior and Cartier. Many of us eat up all the press we can on these star sightings and cutting edge couture, and of course the actual awards and ceremonies themselves. And in the performing arts, it seems like a growing stream of publicly flaunted accolades, including the standards: the Golden Globes, the Emmys, the assorted music industry awards, and of course, the Oscars.
Then there are all the other prizes and honors (many with far more gravitas): the Nobel, the Pulitzer, and others. We also celebrate a slew of championships in athletics with trophies and titles, and all of this seems to trickle down through industries, professions, and right into our earliest experiences in the classroom, in our American culture of “winning.”
Money, recognition by peers, or 15 minutes of fame?
Let’s be honest. Winning feels good! And when you’re talking the Big Time (Oscars and Golden Globes and any Red Carpet sort of event – much less a Nobel or Pulitzer), money and publicity go along with the honors. Naturally, there are also additional opportunities (theoretically), as well as validation by one’s peers.
You also have your 15 minutes of fame, and then some. Your time in the spotlight. The all-powerful sensation of celebrity. And we are nothing, if not a celebrity obsessed culture; we manufacture celebrities of so-called real people, after all. (Hello, Reality TV?)
From the world stage to the kindergarten classroom, just how important are the awards we bestow? Sure – we have the grand-daddies like Oscar, and prizes help children feel good about themselves. But how much is too much in a culture that rings its need to win at all cost louder and louder? Is it inevitable? Is it good for us? Is it human nature to want winners and losers, comparisons to make us feel better about ourselves?
Or is it all so much noise and distraction?
One distraction I’ll cop to – openly – is the love of the fashions. And from Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn to Julia Roberts and Halle Berry, I love the parade of style, elegance, and art in revisiting Oscar fashions and seeing what floats down the Red Carpet and up onto the stage.
Meanwhile, I’ll be looking forward to more than the flawless fashions and designer details to take place Sunday night. I’ll be hoping for another much-deserved win for Meryl Streep as Julia Child.