Pondering the Oscars as the world crumbles

It feels trivial to think about the Oscars of all things when Ukraine is being attacked, lives are being lost, and a global food shortage is looming. 

Especially when this is happening on top of climate change, a pandemic that never seems to end, and politicians focusing on things like banning critical race theory and education surrounding LGBTQIA+ topics in school. 

But, if I’m being honest, it feels nearly impossible to confront all of those things at once.

I’m just one girl.

A girl whose thoughts are constantly flooded with worries about everything mentioned above, but also a girl who chooses to fixate on pop culture every once in a while so she can take a moment to breathe. 

Almost everyone who engages in pop culture would probably agree that last year’s Oscars flopped, and the incredibly low viewership proved that. 

This year, despite the nominations and the awards and the dresses, the moment that stood out the most was Chris Rock making a joke (in poor taste) about Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia. 

And then getting smacked and confronted by Will Smith in front of the entire crowd and viewers at home.

That’s Hollywood for you, or whatever they say. 

But through all of this, the myriad of global issues we’re facing is still at the front of my mind. Even as I’m watching an uncensored clip of Will Smith telling Chris Rock to keep his wife’s name out of his mouth. 

There was a moment of silence during the Oscars to show support for Ukraine, and an on-screen message urging viewers to “do more.” 

It’s good to raise awareness and to show respect to those who are fighting, and hopefully that message sparked action in someone, somewhere. 

But it’s funny, for lack of a better word, that some of the wealthiest people in the country gathered in their best clothes at the biggest event in Hollywood and took a moment of silence. Imagine if the money put into running the Oscars was donated instead. Or if there was a major donation in addition to that one fleeting moment of silence. 

This isn’t to say that engaging in pop culture is a bad thing, or that it’s bad to sometimes distract yourself from all of the scary things happening in the world. And this also isn’t to say that art and film aren’t important, especially in times of crisis.

But this is to say that maybe expensive, glitzy award shows shouldn’t be a priority when people are dying. 

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