Movies: Oscar's No Award Winner
Making of the Oscar Statuette
The Oscar Statuette
Chances are you are among the one billion people around the world who watched the 65th Academy Awards on ABC-TV Tuesday night. And, if you're like most people who've tuned in over the years you probably found it a little long and a little boring.
Personally, I rarely watch the show anymore largely because I rarely go to the movies these days. I prefer to watch the great old movies from the '30s, '40s and '50s -- you remember, the ones without the frequent off-color remarks, obscene gestures and explicit sex scenes.
But, because my spouse opted to videotape the TV spectacle -- despite the fact that neither of us had seen even one of the movies nominated for the awards -- I skimmed through the more than three-hour show, mostly on fast-forward. The way I see it, why should I waste time watching movies I do not like (I've seen enough to make that judgment over the past 30 years) when I have dozens of titles I like on videotape such as Bing Crosby's titles including "Pennies From Heaven" and "Going My Way," as well as "Gunga Din" and "Beau Geste" -- well, you get the idea.
The Show Must Go On
Actually, I like Clint Eastwood well enough; he certainly deserves kudos for his acting accomplishments. The problem is that we heap praise on Hollywood's finest (including the legitimate theater and, now Cable TV) by contrived means; contrived because the awards are calculated to build up the box office so the actors and moguls can make even more dough than they do now. Perhaps the original awards were meant to honor the work of the actors and others, but today it's just "show business."
If Hollywood can do it, why can't everyone else? I'll bet that, if pressed, you could single out some long unrecognized co-worker for doing a yeoman's job. I know that here at The Hour there are people in every department that deserve commendation for Best Reporter, Best Editor, Best Pressman, Best Advertising Person, Best Circulation Promoter, Best Computer Operator, Best Manager and Best Office Worker.
And the Winner Is . . .
The truth is that I have little respect for most awards anyway not because the people who win them are less than deserving but rather because of the people who do not receive them -- often those who are not even considered. Awards, generally, are given primarily to promote something other than those who receive them (If you're in the insurance business and want to boost profits in the casualty business, give an award to a safe driver -- it helps promote the industry and perhaps will reduce accidents and claims.)
Just think. How many awards have you received? How about your fellow workers who toil without recognition? Sure we all get salaries, but so does Clint!
If we are going to give awards, with the accompanying hoopla, why not give them to people we can hold up as examples of a worthy ideal for which we would all wish to strive?
Doctor, lawyer or Indian chief, we all need recognition. But if we can only honor a few, let's honor those who reflect our best and truest values. Let's not forget the little guy.
This column was written for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on April 10, 1993.