Five days before the ceremony, it has occurred to me that I may miss the Oscars this year for the firsttime since the 1980s.
And it won’t be a boycott or the result of frustration with all their tinkering to attract more viewers. It’ll simply be a technical issue.
I’d say it’s a technical issue exacerbated by a time zone issue, but I wouldn’t be able to watch the Oscars – at my house, anyway – even if I skipped work on Monday.
You see, my TV antenna is broken. And despite the photo I've included with this post, I'm talking about the one up on my roof, not a pair of rabbit ears.
Given that we no longer watch any shows when they’re actually airing, this is almost never a problem. We have a service called Fetch that delivers certain shows to stream digitally later on at a moment of our choosing, and most other shows we watch are on Netflix or another streaming service.
But a few times per year, there’s a live event that we want to watch, or more accurately, record and then watch later on when it’s actually the evening where we live.
The most recent such instance was the Super Bowl, which for the third year running (and fourth of the last five) featured my football team, the New England Patriots. I fiddled and tinkered with the various connections related to my antenna on and off all weekend. I was about ready to give up and follow the scores live online while at work, when I realized that I could subscribe to ESPN – which has rights to air the Super Bowl in Australia – from Fetch for only $6/month. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
However, I don’t believe a similar option exists with the Oscars. Like the Super Bowl, there’s a free-to-air option, but that seems to be the only one. I just checked online for alternatives, to no avail. And if I don’t have an antenna, I can’t air anything.
For more than ten years now, and possibly closer to 20, the Oscars have interested me more in terms of who will be nominated than who will actually win. That’s not even a protest against any changes they’ve made, or announced they were making and then not made, though I do think the dilution of the best picture category from five films to as many as ten could have played a role in everything seeming a bit less exclusive. In truth, it’s probably more a change in myself than anything. I used to get more excited about it than I do now, and I think that has more to do with the natural retirement of the wide-eyed, youthful version of myself who used to find this stuff more significant.
I still watch faithfully and I still fill out an Oscar ballot, though lately I have no one to compete against, because my wife has given it up (along with watching) in the past two to three years. And I obviously do find it interesting, as I continue to keep a running list of best picture winners, including the date on which I first saw them.
Given my decreasing interest, though, you could say missing the show would not be a big deal to me. Actually confronted with the reality, I find myself a bit concerned about the prospect. I find that my streak of something like 32 straight Oscars watched is something I consider worth preserving. There are very few things I’ve done in this life 32 consecutive times without missing a single one. (Duh, that’s what “consecutive” means.)
I’ll have to put my thinking cap on. I’ve got t-minus 119 hours and counting.