Superbowl or Academy Awards as 2015 Ultimate Showdown?
It’s the time of year when the sweaty clash of competitors battling for domination takes over the national mindset, parties are planned, and TVs are super-sized. No one wants to miss out on one, bright, sparkling moment of the epic battle to come. We obsess about party food, having enough seating, and whether or not to give out prizes for best and worst dressed. Wait. Did you think I was talking about the Super Bowl? Well, you’re not completely wrong. The Oscars are my Super Bowl. For many of us, the only competition that matters in the New Year is the Academy Awards. Forget big fellas grunting and knocking each other down; I want the bright lights and sequined glamour of Hollywood. But there are many similarities between these two epic events that give us something to look forward to after the post-holiday letdown as we struggle to survive the dark days of winter. Here’s a rundown of what we love about the Super Bowl and the Oscars. Halftime Show vs. Red Carpet Coverage Over the years, the Super Bowl stage has been home to some of the best and worst musical spectacles ever. Whether it’s the frenetic and slightly frightening antics of the Black Eyed Peas or the larger-than-life gymnastics of a 50-something Madonna, there’s always something worth tuning in for. But you have to wait through what seems like hours of running, tackling, flags, and downs to get there. The Oscars, on the other hand, serve the goodies right up front. The red carpet is where we get our first glimpse of the stars and whether or not they made a horrible fashion blunder or haute couture triumph. And you don’t even have to watch any boring speeches or silly comedy bits to get this part. It’s awesome. Both events have had their share of wardrobe malfunctions (totally the best part, right?). Who can forget Janet Jackson’s notorious nipple-gate? And both the darling Anne Hathaway and gorgeous Charlize Theron have unwittingly highlighted their own mammaries on the red carpet – to the joy of many a sarcastic celebrity blogger or witty Twitter wordsmith. This year we’ll get to see the boob-tastic showmanship of Katy Perry while the boys take five in the locker room. The red carpet will be heralded by tried and true pros Juliana Rancic and Ryan Seacrest. I refuse to acknowledge any red carpet coverage other than “Live From the Red Carpet!” on E! Verdict: Halftime Show As much as it pains me, due to the mere spectacle, I have to give this one to the Halftime Show, especially because it can claim the most famous wardrobe malfunction of all time. Super Bowl Commercials vs. Oscars Host My second least-hated thing about the Super Bowl is the commercials. I mean, these ridiculously overpriced tributes to capitalism and creativity usually remain topics of discussion much longer than the actual game. And I can understand what’s going on. Usually. From my perspective, the host of the annual gala serves a similar function as the commercials. They break up the tedium of the action with something we can all relate to, even if we don’t follow football and have never heard of Meryl Streep. They offer simple, straightforward entertainment and help move the proceedings along. Neither the Super Bowl nor the Oscars would be the same without these long-standing institutions. It’s true that the hype around a particular commercial can get tiresome but hosts and their brand of celbutainment can also wear thin. And even though I can remember much more about Seth MacFarlane’s turn at hosting the Oscars than I can about that one Taco Bell commercial, the point is they both fade pretty quickly. Verdict: Super Bowl Commercials It’s killing me, but the commercials are consistently more entertaining, exciting, and memorable than the Oscar host. Even though I loved MacFarlane, the reason his stint is remembered is because he made people angry. This year I have high hopes for the Oscars, with the unstoppable Neil Patrick Harris at the helm, but overall I don’t think the hosts can compete with the millions of dollars poured into creating a commercial designed to blow the minds of the American public. Player Interviews vs. Oscar Speeches The speeches can be the best and worst part of the Oscars. Some people just don’t know when to stop talking, and others can’t seem to put a coherent sentence together. They make you laugh, cry, and want to give them a great big hug. Think Sally Field and the famous, “You like me. You really, really like me.” Or Tom Hanks highlighting the heartbreak of AIDS when he won for “Philadelphia,” and Halle Berry making history as the first African American woman to win an Oscar for Best Actress. All are moving, impactful moments that stay with us and seep into the cultural subconscious. Now, let’s think about the post-game interviews with the players. You always have the usual sweaty winner saying, “We gave it our all. The team showed a lot of heart and really came together, and things just went our way.” Then you usually get one of the losing team members saying something like, “Today wasn’t our day. We gave it our all but things just didn’t go our way.” I will give the players some slack in that it’s hard to dissect what just happened in a game when you were knee-deep in the action, rather than on the outside looking in. However, these canned sound bites have got to go. Get creative, people! Verdict: Oscar Speeches Even though there are plenty speeches that drone on, the ones that pierce through to your heart are unforgettable. Post-Game Commentary vs. The “Fashion Police” I have a confession; I’m not sure I’ve ever watched a post-game commentary for the Super Bowl or any other football game unless it was just on over the bar and I had another glass of vino coming. I have, however, watched commentary for basketball games and I have to believe they’re pretty similar. The awesome thing about post-game commentary is you get to have your armchair opinion validated by the experts. It’s great to hear them dissect a play or, in the case of the “Fashion Police,” a dress choice, exactly the same way you took it apart at home. Both the “Fashion Police” and the post-game commentary make you feel like you were part of this big event that just happened. And, now that you see who spot-on you were, you get to feel pretty smart and insightful as well. And even if they don’t agree with you, you get to lob an impassioned retort right back at them, via the TV screen. It’s fun. Verdict: Draw Both post-game activities let you hold on to the excitement and dazzle just a little bit longer. And whether you love to see the pigskin get thrown around or can’t wait to see who’s wearing what, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Image by Davidlohr Bueso/Flikr