Some of the earliest memories I have from my childhood are from Oscar day. I’d be watching TV after school and the news headlines would come on.
“TURN IT OFF!!!” I’d hear my mum scream from the kitchen next to the lounge room. “I DON’T WANT TO KNOW WHO WON!”
This was, of course, many years before the Oscars would be shown live during the day, so my parents, both big movie fans, would watch it when it aired that evening. Of course, by then, the news of who’d won what would’ve already hit the newsrooms, so my poor mother had to do her best to avoid spoilers through the day in a manner akin to navigating Twitter while Game of Thrones was airing.
Most years she made it into the evening spoiler free, and as I grew older and became more interested in movies in my own right, she’d allow me to stay up late and watch along with them, despite the fact that the Venn Diagram of films I was interested in and films that were nominated usually had very little crossover, with the very notable exception of 1998, when Titanic won big. Still, I was captivated by it all — or at least, by the glitzy celebrities and pretty dresses, if not the Best Sound Editing category (sorry, sound technicians!).
As I moved through my teenage years and into adulthood, it became more apparent that my mother and I are two sides of the same coin. We’re very similar, but we disagree on nearly any and all topics you could ask us about, which basically means we fight a lot. But on Oscar day each year, there’s an unspoken ceasefire on all important disagreements, which are replaced with discussions about the dresses, the films and the biggest moments of the day. It’s the day where we trade heated arguments for gentle roasting of each other’s Oscar faves. She’d laugh and mock my poor king Leonardo DiCaprio when, year after year, he didn’t win the Oscar, and I’d remind her that her beloved Triplets of Belleville still lost Best Animated Feature to Finding Nemo in 2004.
Having grown up watching the Oscars with my parents, I now host an increasingly extravagant Oscar party for my friends every year. I make it a mission to watch as many of the Oscar films as possible each year, because I want to be as invested as possible in the event, and the more opinions you have about each film, the more you care about each award’s outcome. My friends try to do the same, even though this inevitably means sitting through films we hate (sorry, Dunkirk!!!). As it turns out, watching the Oscars and seeing films we all hated win big is nearly as fun as watching the films we loved win. If we’re all in agreement about a film being terrible, great! If we disagree, even better! Regardless of who’s winning what, we’re always having fun seeing whether our predictions won, cracking jokes, enjoying our drinks and my carefully curated, elaborate cheese board.
I’ve made an effort to learn about the difference between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing, and I try to track down those sometimes hard-to-find short films to watch, as well. I listen to Vanity Fair’s excellent Little Gold Men podcast, which has helped me better understand the Oscar voting system, which in turn has helped me predict more winning categories in our Oscar pool ballot. And of course, correctly predicting that a film you hated will win in any given category really helps take the sting out of its win.
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Day two of #chronicillnessandme. Today’s theme is “happiness”. A lot of you will know that this is something I’ve been struggling with a lot this year. Breaking my elbow earlier this year set off a chain of reactions both in my body and its pain, but more acutely in my mental health, hormones and day to day life. Months later, I’m still in the process of getting back on track. It’s been incredibly difficult and disheartening, and it’s been very eye-opening. At the same time, it’s important for me to not be fatalistic and erase the good times from this year just because it’s been very challenging as a whole. I’m very lucky to have good friends I can rely on, friends who check in and who offer to help out as much as they can, even when I feel like a burden. Not of of them are pictured here but they know who they are. This photo is from Oscar day, one of my favourite days of this year and every year. ? #centralnervoussystemdisorder #centralnervoussystemsensitization #chronicpain #chronicillness #spoonie #spoonielife #spooniesupport #spoonieproblems
Of course, knowing more about the Oscars goes hand in hand with recognising the many areas the Academy still needs to work on, like its glaring racial diversity problem, or the fact that they sometimes forget that women exist, or that time they thought it would be a good idea to get noted homophobe Kevin Hart to host, despite the fact that everyone knows Oscar day is the gay Super Bowl.
Still, in times when there’s plenty to be stressed about, every single day, the Oscar days since my friends and I started watching it together are some of my most cherished memories, and is a tradition I hope carries on for many, many years to come. As for the yearly Oscar ceasefire between my mum and I, it’s still going strong in our post-show debrief. She even congratulated me when Leo won.