The Oscars really upset me this year.
And it had nothing to do with the ceremony, which I thoroughly enjoyed, or Seth MacFarlane, who I was pleasantly surprised by, or the terrible Sauvignon Blanc from Trader Joe’s I was drinking that gave me a hangover while drinking it. What messed me up was my own leaden realization that as much as I feel “a part of” when I watch, and admire, and coo; I’m still not. That the Oscars are for movie-stars. And that they don’t need anyone else to join them.
I dress up for the Oscars every year. My friends and I make a big deal out of it, because we love movies; because we’ve dedicated our lives to them. But this year, as I sat on my friend’s couch on Melrose Ave, less than a mile away from the Kodak Theater, in my thrift-store heels giving my opinions like I’m a part of that world, it was impossible not to wonder, if any of us are actually going to get there.
I was taught to aim high. The highest. Our whole generation was. Will Smith famously said some shit like, “In my mind, I’ve always been an A-list Hollywood superstar. Y’all just didn’t know yet!”… or something. The point is, he said something about putting your mind to massive things and not resting until they are achieved. That if you KNOW something is possible you make it possible. Be the president! Go to the moon! Publish a novel! It’s all on you. You. You. You. You!
But the death of hope that I have seen in myself and my friends as these massive massive dreams that we were taught to attach ourselves to fail to materialize, is tragic.
It makes us want to give up. It makes us want to stop.
The cold truth is: the top is perfectly content to do without most of us. So what, then? Are we less special than them? Have we not set ours mind to it strongly enough?
Certainly not. But it certainly feels that way. This year more than ever.
And oh my God, how are we supposed to carry that? The constant dissatisfaction bred by the scarcity of work in this system is like this huge dark cloud that hangs over our artistic lives. And that, I think. Is a huge effing problem.
So I guess you could say I’m starting to wonder if artists have to aim lower. Lower like, on this planet still, lower like, still in the 99%. After all, that’s what artists are supposed to be for, right? Carrying the message of the common people, or something? Being the torch-bearers? Yeah! But the glamorization and monetization of art in Hollywood has caused us all to think we have to be beautiful, perfect, rich, and honored by other beautiful, perfect rich-people to be worth something.
I think I have to become Julia Roberts to be worthy of acknowledgment.
And in a way, I do. No one is holding nationally-telecast award ceremonies for my table-waiting, Breaking-Bad-watching, commercial-auditioning community.
They fucking should be. The courage, persistance, and sacrifice I see around me on a daily basis is a fucking inspiration. But they aren’t, so we are still, all of us clamoring at a door that’s closed. And the idea that it’s someday going to open if we just will it hard enough is the thing that keeps us scratching at the doorknob.
So. I’m sorry but… fuck that?
As I get older, and see myself no closer to the Oscars than I have ever been, there is a fire - a deep craving - for something better for myself and for my friends. What it costs those who have that kind of attention to keep it, what is costs young artists to try to earn that kind of attention when they aren’t getting it - these prices are too high. We should not be asking thousands of young artists to wait their turn, to starve, to scramble, to beg for the opportunity to be heard. We should already be listening.
So maybe we should start awarding the normal people. Because when we’re all trying so hard to be special because Will Smith says fucking we can, it’s difficult to notice all the intense specialness already present in our lives.
I wanna barf when I think about it being normal. Standard. About never getting to sit in those chairs with those people I idolize. But I also know, or try to remind myself, that it is that thing, that human-ness, that un-specialness, that makes me capable of creating things that are honest and beautiful.
I just want to love my unimpressive, stuck-in-traffic, zero-box-office-earning, 57,841st-on-imdb-star-meter, commercial-audition-at-4:00PM-in-Santa-Monica life.
So I’m hosting the “Groscars” next year in a neighborhood trashcan, for all the rest of us. Text for deets. It’s gonna be totally unimpressive. And way more fulfilling.