I love the spectacle of the Oscars as much as anyone else who goes to Oscar parties wishing she could close caption the other partygoers (though, appreciates anyone who will endure and encourage her running commentary). For me, the Oscars is not social, it's serious. I love the formulaic, self-congratulatory, who's who of it all. And the gowns! No matter how uninvested I am in the nominees or the films, someone or something invariably makes me tear up (John Hughes tribute last year, anyone?), I scoff at the winners, and wait eagerly for the red carpet/after-party slideshows to post online.
This year, however, I seem to be doing a lot more preemptive thinking about the Oscars than ever before. Mainly because I am one among the nearing 170,000 followers(at the time of this post) of the Cult of James Franco. And I was genuinely excited to nerd out about his hosting the Oscars with Anne Hathaway. I like Anne Hathaway, too! Old-Hollywood Hathaway, with her versatility, good humor, and unthreatening glamour. I was truly impressed by 2009's cameo duet with Hugh Jackman. She also does a pretty mean (as in amazing) Katie Holmes.
I desperately want to give Franco's media pandering more weight than it probably warrants (I think I see a slight wince, a hesitation when he's asked to describe his and Hathaway's "chemistry"). But I'm not so sure. I never thought I'd say this, but I feel like I've already seen enough of Hathco. Even when it's guised in an arty, conceptual short. I'm kind of over it.
I know the Oscars is, by definition, a highly-orchestrated, largely predictable show, but I do miss that hint of wonder, the quiet rebellion of the overly long acceptance speech by "the best" in a marginal category, and the sheer joy of watching someone be truly honored.
In many way, I was hoping the Franco would maintain his sort of odd-ball, I'm-not-a-Hollywood-movie-star movie stardom and do something weird and unexpected. And maybe he will, but I'm thinking more and more we'll just have to reflect on the odd-ball moments of Oscars past, and remember how weirdly awesome they were.