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And The Oscar Goes To…

And, of course, the most important question of the evening, "Who are you wearing?"

So, what is it that fascinates us so much about the Oscars? What was once a 50 minute show has now turned into an all-day event if you, like millions, tuned in at 3pm to ensure that you did not miss a single wave, exclamation of surprise, or catty remark about someone’s less-than-flattering gown.

What a day! There were the Pre-Red Carpet shows with commentators telling us all about what was going to happen while the cameras repeatedly panned the empty red carpet preparing us for the eventual real thing. Then there were the real-thing Red Carpet shows with commentators asking the arriving celebrates all those thought-provoking questions like, “Were you surprised to be nominated again this year?” and, “So, what do you think winning an Oscar will feel like?”, and, of course, the most meaningful question of the evening, “Who are you wearing?”

Finally, after what must have been the three hundredth cream-colored Oscar de la Renta gown with accenting Judith Ripka clutch, the show began. Billy Crystal, all properly stretched and shiny, led us through the evening with admirable audience control and the statuettes flew off the shelves with amazing precision. “The Artist” and “Hugo” accumulated the biggest haul and there were a few surprises, like Woody Allen winning anything and Meryl Streep beating out Viola Davis for Best Actress. But, for the most part, the show was exactly what it always is: an “insider’s” celebration that we are, for whatever reason, allowed to watch from a distance.

So, why does this fascinate us so? I don’t know. All I know is I and my friends wouldn’t miss it for the world. We gather each year like lemmings. We make the dips and chips, chill the wine, simmer the turkey chili, bake the jalapeño cornbread, and frost the red velvet cupcakes all morning long so as not to miss a single moment of this show of shows. We laugh at, critique, and admonish the celebrities as they travel down the carpet, then get serious with our Oscar Ballots as soon as the curtain rises. We applaud the wisdom of the Academy when their selections match our votes and boo and hiss when they don’t. During commercial breaks we race to the buffet to load up our plates again and then race back to our seats for the next exciting announcement. We are, without question, twelve or so of the millions of people worldwide who are utterly transfixed by this “American Sport.”

And, of course, as the marathon comes to an end somewhere around 9pm, we complain about how much we have eaten, banter about whether the show was better or worse than last year’s Oscars, laugh at ourselves for wasting an entire day on such trivia, then hand out the food assignments for next year’s party when, once again, we will wait with baited breath to hear “…and the Oscar goes to…”

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