Those who grew up with me can attest to my general infatuation will all things pop culture starting sometime before I could even read. A product of 80s television. And Reagan economics (who's visage I use to cut out of magazines for my own collage purposes, just for fun, as a Kindergartener)
I also collected an obscene amount of British magazines about the Royal family and kept close tabs on any word about Gary Shandling's love life* (my first crush) in tabloids all through second grade. I was a weird kid. But my teachers seemed to get a kick out of me.
I hosted my first Oscar party in 4th grade only to be entirely irratated after realizing my friends came simply to devour pizza. Not that it came to hinder my love for it in any way, in fact I think I held sporadic parties in honor of the night all the way up until the end of high school. When I got smart and began banning my brother's friends from joining when they couldn't actually name a single flick nominated. Sometimes I dressed up and held out close to mid night after the rest of the house had gone to sleep, watching footage of the after parties that trailed the late night news channels after the awards. Where I spent a good many a'years swooning over the swag oozing from Jack Nicholson, the songs pouring out of Bette Middler, the wardrobe smarts of Diane Keaton, the sex appeal of Jessica Lange, the showmanship of Billy Crystal, the edge on Frances McDormand, and the strange new beauty that came to be known as Angelia Jolie - among a hundred others I'm clearly leaving out.
These days however I'm not nearly as enthused over the event when it comes up. I watch, because of old tradition but seem to have a harder time every year making it to the end. I spent last night curled up on the couch with a small plate of cheese and a tall glass of wine, talking myself out of exhaustion to keep up with my regular culture themed texting companion** and see Leo win that damn award he should have snagged over a decade ago and I'm happy I did. He was fabulous. And while I didn't catch the after parties - because I settled straight to bed after his speech - I did find the fact of his mother on his arm as his date quite darling. I know he takes her often and has talked a lot about all the sacrifices she made while he was growing up to see to it that he was given a fair shot at a tough industry and for some reason it stuck a chord and got me feeling all kinds of emotional. To the point that on a Monday without much motivation I went looking for trite distractions to feed procrastinating tendencies, and got caught up looking through his childhood. Fawning over the sweet bohemian tone of his family's young start.
And while I can't help but find myself resenting an Oscar night without the bite of Joan Rivers on E or and the kinetic thrill only Robin Williams could offer, I can surely get behind the skinny kid we watched grow into something spectacular. Wielding that long overdue gold statue, and his pretty mama on his arm.
Baby Leo, '75
* for those not familiar with G.S
** Anne Parker. My pop cultural twin sister.