The Academy Awards is tonight.
I've been looking forward to this night since the end of last year's event. I've planned my weekend so that I can get myself upstairs in front of our television early enough to see every single minute of every single bit of it. I will watch from the first of the red carpet until the end of the credits - hours that will go too fast.
I'm willing to pay the price of mad knees, complaining back and a too tired Monday. I will not be answering the phone, doing the dishes or playing with Toby. I will not be available for conversation, even during commercials. Those are for bathroom breaks and refueling.
I'm not one to go to Oscar parties. The one year I did, I missed a lot of good stuff because there was so much talking going on. I prefer having the whole experience to myself. Walt will drift in and out, but mostly I'm on my own. Just me and all the dreamy little girl parts of me and all the hopeful teenage parts of me, and maybe a cat if she sits really really still.
I haven't seen this year's movies. I often don't care for the nominated films because of their dark intensity or too-commercial quality. More often than not, I disagree with the Academy's choices in almost every category - whether I've actually seen the performances or not.
That doesn't matter at all. This is not a place for reason.
It's the magic that draws me year after year after year. Even knowing that it's manufactured magic doesn't faze me. I feel the excitement of the winners, the disappointment of the losers equally, and feel more alive for both. I imagine myself in the gorgeous gowns, grateful for Judi Dench and Helen Mirren and Emma Thompson in the last few years. I admire the handsome men, although more and more thinking they could be my sons, which greatly diminishes their impact as fantasy material.
I love seeing Jack Nicholson in the front row every year. I wonder how he manages that. I wonder if those people in the front few rows are enjoying the experience, or if they're worried about winning, or about keeping body parts where they belong and breathing at the same time. I wonder if the thrill of being nominated and recognized will be enough to soften the pain of not winning. I wonder if the thrill of winning will last beyond tomorrow morning.
I wonder at the hungry sapling women in Barbie gowns and borrowed jewels that are worth more than the Gross National Product of many small countries. Are they happy? Am I contributing to their unhealth by watching the show? What would it be like to have lunch and get to know them?
Mostly I wonder why I find such pleasure in something so superficial and fleeting and frivolously expensive. But not enough to be willing to give up this Oscar night habit. Three hours until the red carpet. I can hardly wait.
photo from Flickr