Oscars & the Celebrity Culture

Last night was the Oscar extravaganza. I see a lot of comments about it on Facebook this morning. That, and other news reports, is how I’ll get my info on what happened. I stopped watching this Hollywood self-congratulation “look-at-us-we’re-stars” self-esteem movement years ago. No, I’m not a film curmudgeon, but there’s enough smugness in the world without spending an entire evening viewing the preening and self-admiration of a largely narcissistic community.

Actually, I love movies. My first degree was not history, but radio, television, and film production. My first job was in television, followed closely by radio. I remain fascinated by the potential for film to convey God’s truths, whether in a direct way, as in the new Son of God, or in indirect ways. A well-made movie earns my respect, as can be shown by the number of movie reviews I’ve written on this blog over the years.

But that doesn’t negate the problems associated with many who immerse themselves in the Hollywood culture. Whether producers, directors, or actors, there is a great temptation to puff up oneself beyond recognition and begin to take oneself too seriously. And when politicians take actors too seriously, they even have them testify before congressional committees on some subject in their latest film. Excuse me, but acting in a film doesn’t necessarily make one an expert on the subject of the film.

Sadly, all too often, celebrities are more well-known for their expertise in other areas:

Hollywood Celebs

And when one dies of a drug overdose, as Philip Seymour Hoffman did recently, we are treated to days of praise for their talents, with very few comments on their character. Or if character is addressed at all, the entertainment-news talking heads will downplay the role of their poor choices that led to their demise:

Glowing Obits

No, most Hollywood types are not exactly role models. Maybe there’s one redeeming feature that can be appreciated from these various awards ceremonies—we haven’t yet created one for politicians:

Fooled You