The toxicity of Oscar blogging

I don’t know what it was.

I just remember in the early 2000s staring at the nominations in my local newspaper. I circled the nominees that I thought could win, and come Oscar night I did really well. It was euphoric. It’s the reason people play fantasy sports (besides the gambling aspect of course), the feeling of successfully predicting something.

It’s not for everyone. Some people don’t feel the same euphoria, or they feel it for other things in their life. I found myself reading all the popular blogs just trying to consolidate my predictions. I’d see the favorite, and if it was close, I’d predict an upset. Getting an upset correct feels really good.

There are many more Awards blogs today. Some as small as my own, some as big as ever and tied to major publications such as Variety or The Hollywood Reporter. I get most of my news not from anywhere in particular, but from the wide variety of writers and insiders on my Twitter feed, and other message boards online.

It’s tough because I live in Orlando. I see some screenings and live right by an independent theater, but I’ve never been to a “test screening” and I can’t really gauge what members of the Academy (i.e. Hollywood people) are thinking or feeling.

Now why is the Oscar blogging world toxic? Celebrity culture.

I always have to explain my hobby by reassuring the listener that I truly do believe, deep down, that awards are meaningless. Because they are. They profit by televising celebrities. Golden Globes don’t even honor technical merits, because it’s only an attempt to bring these A-list stars together.

The politics of it all only fascinates me more. It’s not as easy as “the best reviewed film wins.” The campaigning, the studio, current events all play their part.

Sometimes though, my Twitter feed and those message boards are flooded with people ranting and raving about particular celebrities. If they are fans of a certain celebrity they’ll rave about them and aimlessly defend their poor performances. As well we have people who hate certain celebrities and actively root for them to fail.

The TMZ-esque elements of this world have always been off-putting to me. Involving ourselves in celebrity drama is a form of toxicity.

I guess it makes since that Oscar blogging is predominately, and has always really been an online affair. People only publish things to the internet if they really feel like they have something to say. This has lead to social platforms filled with rage, pettiness and defensiveness.

It’s something we are all learning how to cope with. It’s no longer enough to just be readers; we have to be educated and selective readers. Slowly, but surely we are learning this and hopefully it will ripple on through cyberspace.

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