It was a matter of time. In a country in which you can bet on the coin flip at the Super Bowl, why can’t you bet on the upcoming Oscars?
Now you can, if you find your way to New Jersey. Surely the other 49 states will fall in line. You know what they say: As New Jersey goes, so goes the nation.
My son suggested helpfully that this is my moment of opportunity, inasmuch as I watch way too many movies, including the obscure and the artsy, and I get a bit caught up in the history and drama of the Oscars themselves. I could clean up here.
Not so fast.
There’s a big difference between having loud opinions and knowing what you’re talking about. The first is easier, and I succumb to its comfortable gravitational tug. Gamblers, bookies and casinos deal more in concrete fact. Let your heart guide your life – but never your betting.
I’d be fine if “Roma,” “A Star is Born” or “BlacKKKlansman” won best picture, but I’d be hard pressed to put a Benjamin on any one of them. And look, here comes “Green Book” on the rail.
Oh, there’s more. I have theory about best actress (Glenn Close – long career, superb at her craft, seven nominations and no wins over the years) and about who by gum better win for best supporting actress (Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”).
It’s all good, but I’m hanging on to my cash. I don’t even know enough about gambling to know for sure how Vegas defines a sucker bet, but that sounds uncomfortably close to where I am. Really there’s only one lead-pipe cinch this year (Christian Bale, best actor, “Vice”), and even I know even to run-don’t-walk from that kind of action.
It worries me that we yearn to bet on every last human activity. Can’t we enjoy things for what they are? I know more than a few people who I am convinced really aren’t fans of baseball, football or the hometown team – but whose fantasy league team is an all-consuming passion. Money is on the line.
But what do I know? I never thought people would pay money to watch other people play video games. They do, and they sell out arenas. I’m sure there’s some fantasy-league possibility there, and, no, I don’t need to know more than that.
I’m going do something radical, counter-cultural and, oh, let’s say retro. I’m going to go to the movies, mostly in theaters mind you, and enjoy movies as movies. That’s how art is supposed to work.
I’ll stay home on Oscar night, rooting for my favorites, smirking at the more outrageous costumes and trying not to shed a tear during the roll call of the recently dead. I cannot rule out barking at the TV at some point.
But I’ll still have cash in the bank.
Jeff Fox is The Examiner’s editor. Reach him at 816-350-6365 or email@example.com.