It’s been four days since the 2010 Oscars premiered at the Kodak Theater on a cold rain-filled Hollywood night. Yet, we’re still talking about it. We saw history being made, we saw dresses being judged, and we also make jokes about the whole event. That’s Hollywood for you.
When Kate Winslet walked on to the TV screen wearing a silver strapless gown by Yves Saint Laurent, I’m sure the damp red carpet was quickly evaporating. She radiated with beauty, looking like she stepped out of a time machine. She brought that old Hollywood glamor that only those starlets back then possessed.
When Taylor Lautner and Kristin Stewart introduced a tribute to horror films, I was horrified. What were they doing there? They weren’t accomplished actors–they didn’t do any movies that were Oscar-worthy. I’m not a big fan of their acting chops either, particularly Stewart. And why was “Twilight” part of the Horror genre? Then it hit me when I saw a parade of other young stars like Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, and Miley Cyrus, who haven’t quite established Oscar-worthy performances either. This was Hollywood’s ploy to gain younger viewers. They got to catch us when we’re young, right?
When Sandra Bullock won the award for Best Actress, I was ecstatic. I absolutely love her and her other funny movies, so to see her win an award for a dramatic one–that’s huge! However, I would’ve liked to see the award go to Merryl Streep for her role as Julia Child in “Julie and Julia” mainly because mimicking Julia Child is no easy task. But I’m fine with Bullock winning.
When Katherine Bigelow became the first woman to win “Best Director,” I wasn’t shocked. But I’m sure it was definitely an F-U moment for her ex-husband, James Cameron, who was also in the category for his movie, “Avatar.” I mean, come on, Cameron helped create an entirely different way to shoot a movie using a special camera invented just for the movie, as well as hired a USC linguistics professor to create a working language too. And need I mention that Cameron’s “Avatar” placed some people in depression? Surely, he should have won for creating such powerful movie, especially since his movie made billions compared to Bigelow’s movie, right? Wrong. And as Jimmy Fallon put it best last night:
“Did you watch the Oscar’s, or as I like to call it, James Cameron’s own personal ‘Hurt Locker.'”
Why do we obsess over celebrities? Don’t we have enough stress to keep us occupied–the economy, the job market, our own lives? It surely can’t be healthy, right? Maybe it’s our defense mechanism–escapism. We don’t like how our own lives are going so we fantasize about a better one, or as Fergie Ferg puts it, “by the glamorous, ooh the flossy, flossy.” She reminds us that, “If you ain’t got no money, take your broke self home.” Yah, I’m broke. I think I will.
Maybe we obsess over celebrities because it’s a way to connect to others, or as Professor Nicholas DiFonzo calls it, “The Water-Cooler Effect.” The term comes from a study of office behavior. In a large company, workers would have informal gatherings around the water cooler, chatting, gossiping, and talking about current events. If one doesn’t participate in the conversation or have some kind of opinion or have the latest news about someone, then one was left out of the group. Rejection can be a cruel thing, especially when you see that person for 8 hours of your life of every single work day.
Professor Alex Pentland, in an article for a November 2009 issue of Psychology Today, puts it best when he writes:
…it underscores that we are all social animals and that our connection with others at a local level – our tribe – is vitally important. Second, with increased cohesion likely comes an increase in things such as shared tacit knowledge, shared attitudes and work habits, and social support.
But whatever the case, the celebrities remain present in your life for your entertainment. And they get rich entertaining you. Check out this NY Times graph in which we spend $1000 to $5000 for our entertainment.