What do Oscar winners think when they lay down to sleep? In a world that's fickle and filled with critics, they might well think:
"They can never take this away from me."
Well, that turns out to be wrong. Apparently, they can take your Oscar away from you. There is a story in the present issue of Entertainment Weekly that dares to second guess Oscar choices.
It strips Renee Zellweger, Roberto Benigni, Tommy Lee Jones, and Geena Davis and gives their Oscars to Shohreh Aghdashloo (shown), Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, and Frances McDormand.
I am filing this under new and worrying developments in popular culture. I thought popular culture didn't ever scrutinize itself. That's Henry Jenkins job. Popular culture embraced that modernist convention, once done, done for. As Faulkner might have said, in popular culture, not only is the past dead, dude, who remembers?
Is this wise? Is it healthy? Certainly, it opens up vast new journalist territory. We could now second guess pretty much everything: elections, playoffs, the Booker, wars, the stock market. And certainly it plays to the multiplicity theme we like so much these days. But it seems a little stingy. And, yes, impertinent. Just who do we think we are?
That's it, isn't it? It's all about who we think we are. There was a time when we worshipped celebrities as if they were Gods. Did anyone think about taking away Katherine Hepburn's Oscars? (Just try it, buster.) I bet the thought never occurred to anyone. But these days, celebrities, they exist at our sufferance, they serve at our pleasure. The imperial actor has been eclipsed by the imperial fan.
Anonmyous. 2009. And the Oscar Should Have Gone to… Entertainment Weekly. January 16, 2009. pp. 28-38