When some in the room began to get out of breath, they sat for photos with the former Lakers centre and his wife Jennifer and the Hollywood Reporter’s own Anna Akana later tweeted that “They were quite emotional. And very genuine…”. And so the moment of silence was repeated on Thursday, with another moment of silence and then another moment of silence, which meant a longer and more awkward moment of silence, then a moment of applause, followed by another one.
But no matter how many times you say that, the sad truth is that the actors (and their families) were pretty much absent from the Oscar scene for that whole half hour. This could have been in part because, of course, there’s so much to talk about at the Oscars - the nominations and the awards, the people and the films, the special guests, the films and the actors - and some of the people involved in that will not be in the audience, like Lupita Nyong’o and Mark Ruffalo - and in part because there was a small chance that it would get messy, like a very messy scene at last year’s Oscars .
It’s certainly a disconcerting, inescapable reality of Hollywood that so many stars make their films on the heels of the deaths of family members - whether they be the actor’s boyfriend or girlfriend. No matter how you see it, in your world, it seemed as though the Oscars were a particularly intimate way of making a statement about a public figure - which to some celebrities is deeply intimate, and sometimes even sacred. At that time it did. Since the advent of the Internet, as anyone who follows politics or the world will attest, people can almost never be totally sure who the “he” is in the midst of a public appearance, and sometimes a public statement has some very personal ramifications. In that last category - one that, by today’s lights, is probably very different than that of the stars of the Oscar ceremony - this was probably a pretty public and deeply poignant statement. I don’t think that it can be denied, though: it was a very personal, deeply emotional, and public event, and it was made, by most standards, on a micro level.
It comes down to this - one can’t really see the Oscars - but it can be understood by looking at the people who attended that event and how they’re described: The winners in that category were people who had nothing to do with the Oscars themselves - though if you watch clips from the show, as I often do, it almost does feel like you’re seeing these people, and it’s difficult to see any of them through the lens of the Oscar. Which is, in a way, what The Simpsons is supposed to be. As they’re described in the show, the winners are people you would never normally get to know as you watched them. But then they’re the people who, after one or two of them die or go home, and the rest of the cast (and crew) gets to know them. So they too are the stars of the show, in an odd way. So, with the winners in that category, who were they and how were they described? As I see it, they tend to be kind of the same thing - the people who get treated very differently than everyone else.
For example, consider this clip from late 2000 - though, it should be noted, was only the second and last time the Simpsons met during their time on The Simpsons - when Homer was still a contestant on The Voice and was introduced to his new girlfriend, Marge. She described herself as “downtown Los Angeles all right”, but she was the daughter of a real-life police officer, who was also a professional athlete, who had lost his job after he was recently accused of drunk driving. This led to some controversy, as someone might say. She and Homer had been dating for, you know, a year. She’d met Homer when she was 17 and he was 22, and would be married in December 1999. But then Marge’s career had just died due to alcohol-related issues - she committed suicide three years after the birth of her child, and was declared brain dead in September 2000. Homer’s life had changed completely; he had moved to L.A. and was engaged to someone else (a woman he knew, but I don’t think that’s the correct kind of name for a celebrity couple). And he never made it, because, it turns out, his life was a failure. We don’t know of anything we can learn from this. I know, because a week later, I interviewed both her mom, Patty, and his wife, Lisa, about the death of Marge Simpson. Marge was, as the first lady used to say, “just another thing we do; there’s