Up In The Air Author Shares Why Attending The Academy Awards Kind Of Sucks

By Sean O'Connell 2013-02-24 13:17:53discussion comments
Up In The Air Author Shares Why Attending The Academy Awards Kind Of Sucks image
If you polled the collective talents who attend the Academy Awards, which will be televised live from Hollywood this evening, the majority likely would say that it’s a thrill to attend – the culmination of a life-long dream to rub elbows with the best and brightest in the film industry. But if you ask Walter Kirn, author of the book that inspired Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air, he’d tell you that it was “lame.” At best.

In a column for New Republic, the writer conveys in colorfully bitter language how uncomfortable the experience of attending the Oscars ends up being. Granted, Kirn wasn’t initially invited to attend (as he recounts), and only after griping on Twitter – and receiving some beneficial press – was he able to secure two tickets to the Academy Awards.

Big mistake. Kirn writes:
My daughter and I took our distant, high-up seats, our view of the stage occluded by a camera boom. Beside us in our obscure, low-status row were two European men, modest and polite, attending on behalf of The White Ribbon [a movie] that I pretended I’d seen and loved and they pretended to believe I’d seen, spurring a pointless exchange of business cards that was interrupted by Alec Baldwin, the broadcast’s tiny (from our perspective) co-host. I knew it was him because I’d read the program, not because I could actually see his face.

“The heart of the matter with the Oscars, and with Hollywood generally, is that there is none. Just when you think you’ve reached the epicenter, the VIP room within the VIP room, a shift occurs, a reversal of perspective, and you find that you’re on the inside looking out with much the same sense of longing and displacement you felt when you were looking in.”

Keep all of this in mind when you are watching Seth MacFarlane fight to entertain a room full of people who might not want to be there. Basically, there’s Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep – royalty who are afforded the best seats on the house. And there there’s the rest, and it might not be wine and roses (particularly if their film is blanked on Oscar night, as was the case with Kirn and Reitman’s film). The column gives a fresh perspective on a traditional evening. And the piece ends with a twist, as Kirn ruefully reveals, “There’s always another, cooler party behind the next locked door. I know. I was there. And I can’t wait to go back.”
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