Monday, February 25, 2013

American Adventure: The Oscars

My Dad worked in the film industry while I was growing up, so I have memories of watching the Academy Awards each year as a young girl. Like many young people with stars in their eyes, I had a speech prepared for the inevitable day when I would win my own Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, and it generally included thanking the exceptionally mean people in my 7th grade English class for being so mean and spurring me on to success to get revenge for their cruel treatment of my tender yet talented writer's heart (yes, I've always had a rich fantasy life).

In high school and college I attended or hosted many Oscar viewing parties, where guests were encouraged to dress up in horrid thrifted prom and formal gowns to get in the spirit of the sometimes ridiculous red carpet fashion displays.

Once married, my husband (a huge movie buff who also works in entertainment) and I never missed the opportunity to see all the nominated films and make our own predictions for who would win the coveted gold statuette. It was easy to do in Los Angeles, where most theaters will screen all the nominated films once again in the weeks leading up to the Oscars, with signs saying Academy Members can get in for free.

In Macau and Hong Kong (and even to some degree, Japan), new films were released at the same time or ahead of the American release date, so it was easy to stay on top of all the latest releases and be ready for the award season.

In China, we are hopelessly behind schedule, and many of the nominated films for today's Academy Awards will never make it here. Except of course in the pirated DVD version in the backs of white vans parked on most street corners.

I'm not lamenting this change, I'm just observing and acknowledging it for what it is, a big difference from years and years of tradition for my family and I.

One week ago we were in Hollywood, driving in front of the Dolby Theatre (formerly the Kodak) and I noticed massive amounts of bleachers being set up and I briefly pondered what they were for. It wasn't until hours later when we drove the opposite direction down Hollywood Blvd and could really see the front of the theatre when we saw what all the preparation was for. And we simply shrugged and nodded. Living abroad is frequently an exercise in letting go.


  1. Ah yes...this totally resonates with me. Not only did I harbor dreams of holding a little gold man of my own (with the title of Best Original Screenplay), but I secretly believed the Oscars were a birthday present for me...that is, until they migrated from happening in March to February. My 21st birthday was on an Oscar night (I actually turned 21 during the Oscars since they often ran past midnight on the East Coast).

    I still miss that dream sometimes... Usually about this time each year when Oscar is back in the air...

  2. Growing up mostly overseas, I don't remember ever seeing the Oscars as a kid at all. In fact, I don't know that I ever saw them until (maybe) University or afterwards. Needless to say, they're not usually on my radar, although I always enjoy watching them if I happen to catch them when they're on.
    I just checked FaceBook on my way home from work and discovered something like 30 notifications in my news feed. I couldn't imagine what could have happened - then I remembered: while I was rushing to work, everyone in the US was sitting down to watch the awards. It's very strange reading everyone's comments about a show I haven't seen.

  3. Deb, that's awesome! I got Christmas, but you got the Oscars. Not sure which is better!

    MsCaroline, I know what you mean! We're always out of the loop when it comes to pop culture back in America. We thought we'd have time to catch a film or two while on vacation, but we'd never heard of most of them and it was more important to spend time with people than staring at a screen. I thought for a moment about trying to find a way to watch it online this morning, but not having seen many of the movies (or even knowing who many of the performers are) would mean a boring show and a waste of time! Oh well!


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