One of my favorite Oscars (Wilde) once said, "We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities." This applies perfectly to another of my favorite Oscars: the often bloated, sometimes awkward, yet still glamorous Academy Awards. Last night's 81st broadcast was a world away from the incomprehensible speeches and horrendous looks of the 80th Academy Awards, and I was inspired to create the following list of things to love about the unnecessary necessity of the Oscars:
1. The star-studded soapbox. The Oscars might have been my first exposure to the concept of political art, or artistic politics. I find myself cheering inwardly at these moments, from Tom Hanks' acceptance speech after his win for Philadelphia, to the barrier-busting double-win for Halle Berry and Denzel Washington, straight through to this year, when Sean Penn and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black gave equally elegant speeches about the gay rights movement.
2. The musical numbers. Hugh Jackman announced last night that "the musical is back!" but the Oscars have always been musically-inclined. Billy Crystal is, of course, the king of Oscar night music, though Hugh did an admirable job as well. And of course, when you combine music and movies, you get dancing as well. I often wish people would break out into song and synchronized dance moves in real life, don't you?
3. The dresses, my lord, the dresses. I may not look it now, but I was once a girly-girl who wore a dress to school every day. For girls like me, the Oscars are glam-central, and with a few notable exceptions (um, what was Jessica Biel thinking?), the fashion last night was impeccable. Some of my favorites included Amy Adams' succulent red sheath, Tina Fey's glitz, and Angelina Jolie's massive emerald gems.