The Oscars, or The Academy Awards show, airs once a year. It is an event held by The Academy to recognize people in the film industry, including directors, writers, and musicians. The most recognizable of these people are actors who are currently a big part of our popular culture by way of film. There are 24 overall awards. These include: Best Actor, Supporting Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress, Animated Feature Film, Art Direction, Cinematography, Costume Design, Directing, Documentary (Feature), Documentary (Short Subject), Film Editing, Foreign Language Film, Makeup, Music (Original Score), Music (Original Song), Best Picture, Short Film (Animated), Short Film (Live Action), Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, Writing (Adapted Screenplay), and Writing (Original Screenplay).
In Practices of Looking, Sturken and Cartwright define Pseudoindividuality. It refers to a Marxist theory that describes “the way that mass culture creates a false sense of individuality in cultural consumers…[it] addresses the viewer/consumer specifically as an individual, as in the case of advertising actually claiming that a product will enhance one’s individuality, while it is speaking to many people at once.” Because The Oscars is somewhat of an elite occasion, advertisers have to reach out to their audience by “inviting” them to be a part of it. They have to find ways to say “hey, even though you can’t really come and hang out with the actors, you can still watch it on TV and have fun.” The TV promo for The Oscars that has the two hosts, James Franco and Anne Hathaway, inviting viewers to watch, is effective at this.
The Oscars can also be described as “tasteful.” Practices of Looking states that taste can’t be a matter of individual preference or interpretation. “Rather, taste is informed by experiences relating to one’s class, cultural background, education, and other aspects of identity (48).” The producers who control popular culture are the ones that tell us that The Oscars and the film industry in general are tasteful and worth time consumption. Because the people who attend The Oscars might be considered high class, The Oscars could be considered “tasteful.”
Sturken, M. & Cartwright, L. (2003). Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture. New York: Oxford University Press.