Big Green Men

The worst thing you can do– if you are me– is read the New York Times’s review of the Oscars afterward. Ben Stiller... You can SEE him!

The funny thing is, why do they watch? Why do these stupid, joyless journalists watch, if they don’t have any idea what entertainment is for?

I wonder if Alessandra Stanley has any idea how self-righteous her article sounded on how self-righteous and self-important the Oscars were this year. Yawn. Did she SEE Ben Stiller? Damn that self-important Ben! Maybe she missed it, too busy typing away on her very P.C. Macintosh.


For anyone who knows me pretty well, here is my quote: “The Oscars are my FAVORITE day of the year!” I love it more than my birthday. I love it more than Christmas. I love it more than Jesus rising from the dead again to help me look for my Easter basket. I LOVE the Oscars.

From the time the nominees are announced until the day of the awards, I scramble around, trying to see the movies I’d missed that had been nominated. In my Kansas City days, I also scrambled around, coming up with a theme, making just the right guest list, and sending out ballots for my annual party. Not so easy to do in London, with coverage at 1 a.m. It was serious for me, because love like that is serious! WHEEEEE!

Why do I love the Oscars? Why do I sit, mesmerized with a big stupid grin on my face, for three to five hours, waiting to hear which movie a bunch of people I never met voted for?


I wonder. I think it has something to do with Jon Stewart in bed with George Clooney. And Ben Stiller in a green unitard. And Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin’s dueling monologues. And Tom Hanks getting clocked over the head with a viola. And Dolly Parton strutting around, at age “sexty,” getting all of Hollywood to clap along. Phillip Seymour Hoffman winning and looking like a stuttering fool; then Reese Witherspoon winning, and speaking like fine, poured honey.

Movie stars are aliens. They aren’t anything that belongs to us. But their art belongs to us. We give it the only meaning it can have, by seeing it, by becoming the other side of it.

And on award nights, when the actors and the filmmakers and all of the artists arrive, they are naked to us. They try to cover it up with designer clothes and jewels, but we get to see them. Longing, just like we are, when we sit at home on that couch.

For that night, we get to look at them as they are: mothers and fathers, children and grandchildren, getting pushed along in life.

It’s the crack in the mirror, the crack where we see ourselves. And I love it.

Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home. 

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