Vanity and the Oscars

I watched about an hour of the Oscars last night, or up until they handed out awards for categories like “Best Animated Short” and “Best Costume Design.” Due credit to Laurent Witz, Alexandre Espigares, and Catherine Martin but I find it difficult enough to stay entertained in more personally relevant categories.

oscar-3-300x300This morning, I’ve seen more commentary on the Oscars on Good Morning America and Live! With Kelly and Michael than I saw of the Oscars themselves. Most of the commentary, however, has not been discussion on the awards and their recipients, but on the attire of the attendees.

This baffles me. I enjoy dressing up, and I like to think that I can look decent when I do. But frankly, most people clean up well–anyone can look good. Very few people just look bad in formal attire. So why the fixation with it?

Why give beauty and attire more focus and credit than the talent of the actors and quality of the movies that are being recognized? Anyone can look good, but few people are better at their trade than the men and women at the Oscars.

Several nights ago I went bowling with my family. A few lanes to our right was another group bowling. A mixture of men and women, they were probably just a few years older than myself. Admittedly, two of the girls were attractive and it would have been easy enough to see only their physical beauty. But as I glanced to my right, I saw two girls celebrating a strike with their own personalized handshake.

A complex motion yet a simple concept–a secret handshake between friends certainly isn’t uncommon. But that handshake represents a depth of personality hidden in plain sight. Beauty is evident, but personality screams in desperation to be heard.

In that moment, that handshake showed that there is far more to the individuals than some societal interpretation of beauty. They are people with character and personality, with dreams and hopes, with a unique life story.

And so to with the Oscars, it is easy to be fixated by their attire and beauty. But to do so is oft to fail to see actors and cinematographers who have unique lives, personalities, and talents. 


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