Monday, March 26, 2001

The Oscars

Last night, I watched the Academy Awards. For the past several years, I haven't felt any real compulsion to watch this, mostly because my wife and I have somehow dropped the habit of going to movies regularly.

This year, however, my wife and I have watched three of the Best Picture nominees. I watched Traffic, Jenn watched Erin Brockovich, and we both watched Gladiator (on DVD).

So needless to say, we were both pumped to watch the show. We watched E! TV's pre-show coverage with Joan and Melissa Rivers. We watched ABC's pre-show. Finally, we tuned in to Steve Martin's monologue, and the first two hours of the show.

We didn't stay until midnight, so in the end, we read about the winners in the next day's paper.

I think the Academy Awards are one of the last places on TV where you actually feel great anticipation. I'm talking about the kind of anticipation you felt before your mid-term and final grades were announced, whether you got into a particular college, or whether you passed a big test. I was fervently rooting for Benicio Del Toro, who captured my imagination in The Usual Suspects. He was favored, but there were some compelling nominees (including Jeff Bridges, and Albert Finney). When the announcer said "and the winner is..." I had to hold my breath. When Benicio won, I was so relieved, I marveled at the feeling.

Unlike sports, which builds up over a few hours (I had to wait until this afternoon to find out if Tiger Woods would win The Players Championship), the Academy Awards had many moments with heightened breath-holding. Maybe I'll have to tune into the Emmys to feel this again.

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