Now that the Super Bowl of football is over, we can focus our attention on the Super Bowl of movies: The Eighty-Third Academy Awards. Perhaps more than anything else, this is a chance for America to show off the best they have to offer: very expensive commercials for cars we can't afford anyway and red carpet fashion that we can't afford anyway. They also give out some awards, but by this time next year we'll all be congratulating ourselves about how well we did on last year's Oscar pool.
But it wasn't always that way. For as long as I can remember, I have sat and watched the ceremony rapt with fascination, imagining what it must be like to attend such a gala. When I was a kid, I couldn't understand why not one of the "Planet of the Apes" films was ever nominated for best picture. When I was older, I was cheered by the inclusion of a special Oscar for John Chambers, who created all those amazing make-up effects in the original, but the other four got no recognition whatsoever. Where was the love for the best movies ever made?
As I started going to see movies that didn't feature super-intelligent apes, I discovered a world of film that begged for recognition. Part of the problem was that I wasn't allowed to see the really good movies, the ones that were rated "R," for "Really Good," I suppose. Seeing movies by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Jack Nicholson helped open my eyes to what was Oscar-worthy: not super-intelligent apes.
And so I will tune in tonight, with my ballot filled out in advance, hoping that having seen eight of the ten nominated films somehow gives me an edge over my son, who has seen one. He'll be wondering why there isn't a category for best performance by a transforming robot.