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Famous Fascination: Oscars Off-the-Screen

Where are the ‘budget cuts’ in Hollywood?

“We want to thank all of you for watching us congratulate ourselves tonight.” -Warren Beatty

By Terran Smith

At a mere 13.5″ tall, each gold plated “Oscar” statue for the annual Academy Awards costs half a grand to manufacture. With just two dozen categories to cover, the awards alone still cost approximately $12 grand to manufacture. This is just one of countless examples of extreme frivolous spending for this Hollywood tradition.

Beginning as an elitist club for film buffs and other invites, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was established in 1927, and is a ‘film organization.’ The annual awards have since become a big part of the rest of society as a way to commemorate and admire those on the red carpet. Last nights Academy Awards were viewed in over 200 countries worldwide. With the never-ending pile-on of fiscal and social issues occurring, particularly in America, I can’t help but feel that this tradition has become contrived and greedy like many other historically successful markets.

From best actress to best dressed, every aspect of the Academy Awards is competitive in a way quite similar to dogs participating in Best in Show. Perhaps that statement could be seen as a bit extreme, but let’s really break down the facts. The only things people, in general, remember from the Academy Awards are: best movie, best dressed and worst dressed. The last two items on the list aren’t even relevant to the entire event! Yet the ensemble of an attendee can give an actor more attention than the winner of an actual award.

Almost $22 million was spent in 2012, during the recession, on the 84th annual production of the Academy Awards. Obviously, that number doesn’t include each pair of Jimmy Choo heels and matching Tiffany earrings. Even if average people do think it’s okay for actors and those in the Academy to spend ghastly amounts of money to celebrate one’s own success, that doesn’t change the fact that the viewers are the ones truly supporting the profit the Academy is able to rake in year after year.

If all of the diamonds, feathers, cameras, tripping, waiting, awkward laughing and political picks are that engrossing, then apparently the cost of this idolizing entertainment is of true value to the public.

Thus, it is truly the community that supports the financial whims of the Academy. Why, then, do the public still have no say in the awards or even right to become an Academy member? This is not only a public example of discrimination, but it is also one that society has celebrated throughout history.

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