Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Guest Post by Butter Harrison

Recently, I stumbled into a relationship with a woman who is a football fan. You can imagine how this would be troubling to me. I know nothing about football. In fact, I have it on good authority that even some of the name contributors to this blog know very little about the ins and outs of the sport. How can I compete in a market like that?
Apparently, the Super Bowl is coming up. This is a big deal in football—it is sort of the football equivalent of the World Cup. It is a bigger deal for my girlfriend, S., who is a big Colts fan. I mean huge. Her facebook religious affiliation refers to Peyton Manning. She wears a Colts jersey in Boston (she is not popular). I have gotten weeping phone calls from her when the Colts lose. She gets bedroom eyes when they win.
So the fact that they are competing in the Super Bowl is a huge deal. She explained that a victory for the Colts will mean fifteen minutes of sex (about thirteen more than I can handle), and a defeat will mean four hours of tears, so I should be prepared for either event (I have a tissue box next to my bed).
When she mentioned it, I realized that I, too, have an important event coming up. Please don’t mock me. I am a huge fan of the Academy Awards. Please stop mocking me.
Like any football fan, I often feel that the wrong people win. I often throw food at my TV, and I will admit that when I saw certain nominations I was so depressed I didn’t go to class all day.
The problem, though, is that the Academy Awards are not really analogous to the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is one event, one long, endless event, while there are so many chances for good and bad victories during the Academy Awards. It’s a little bit more like the World Series. Best Picture is Game Seven.
Then again, my favorite team (Children of Men) is playing in Game Three (Best Adapted Screenplay) but for Game Seven, it feels like only the Red Sox and the Indians are playing—I vary between being angry and being indifferent.
There is a feeling going around among fans of the Academy Awards that the Oscar tends to be awarded retroactively to whomever deserved the Oscar last year. Nobody thinks that Return of the King was the Best Picture; people were mostly impressed by Peter Jackson’s work so far. If The Departed wins this year, we’ll know why.
In that sense, the Academy Awards process is less like the actual gaming of a sport and closer to the draft process. When a great team (Children of Men, directed by Alfonso Cuarón) does poorly despite its obvious greatness, it means when the team drafts new players they get first pick. Right after Lost in Translation’s Bill Murray lost Best Actor to Sean Penn (has any man ever better embodied the New York Yankees?), Murray, a free agent, had his pick of teams. He ultimately did a season with Jim Jarmusch and then opened a car dealership.
Despite these obvious flaws in the system, I swear to God I will cry for four hours if Borat wins any awards.

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