And the Oscar Goes to…

The 86th Annual Academy Awards are just over a week away and I am simply vibrating with excitement. Oscar Night has become one of my very favorite nights of the year. It’s not just that I love the speeches and the tributes and the music (I do) or watching people interact on the red carpet (aw… he brought his mom, isn’t that sweet?) or even analyzing the fashion triumphs and faux pas (well…). Those of you who’ve come to know me either in person or through my books might be able to imagine that I’m not exactly a fashion goddess. My vast array of colored scarves is about as glamorous as I get, and I pretty much only know who designers are if they have a line at Kohl’s.  And while I have come to accept that I must put on mascara before I can leave the house and hiking boots are not apropos in every situation, I am still something of a tomboy at heart.

Image Copyright  the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Image Copyright the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

So maybe it’s a little surprising that I’m drawn in by the glitz and glamor of the Oscars. Aside from the fact that I do love movies, and the thrill of competition, there is one more reason the Oscars have become a ‘thing’ for me: my friend Rob. Rob and I have been friends just about our whole lives, but when we started watching the Oscars together almost a decade ago, it was more or less  by chance. We just happened to be hanging out one Sunday night, and sharing a bottle of wine in front of the Academy Awards seemed like as good a way to pass an evening as any other, and it meant we didn’t have to get dressed up to go anywhere or overpay for drinks at a bar.

It turned out to be tremendous fun. We talked about movies and actors, we critiqued outfits and speeches and the musical numbers. Rob and I had both recently moved back home to Atlanta after living and traveling elsewhere, so it was the first time in a long time we’d been able to hang out, just the two of us, in such a leisurely way. We weren’t struggling to connect across a huge distance on the phone or by email, we weren’t navigating thirty other friends (or significant others) at a party, we weren’t rushing to get all our catching up done before one of us had to leave town again. It was easy and comfortable like old times, and the Oscars were the background.

Ever since then, Rob and I have made it a point to get together on Oscar night. Whether we have wine and hors d’oeuvres, or just a bag of chips and bean dip in our sweatpants (I was pregnant that year and had an aversion to beans so I subsisted on sparkling water, Fritos and Joel McHale’s red carpet commentary), it’s always easy and always fun. For many years it was just the two of us, but now our spouse/fiancee have joined in, and a few other friends as well.  Every year the tradition evolves, building on itself and deepening our interest. I can imagine a day when our Oscar gatherings will be elaborate parties, or a day when even our spouses are too busy to participate and we’re back to the two of us with sweatpants and bean dip. Maybe we will someday live in separate cities again and we’ll have to videoconference our catty remarks.

Any way it goes, there’s no going back. The Oscars have become our thing, and now that my interest in them has been kindled, I’ll always want to know what happens after “the envelope, please…”

What about you? Do you watch the Oscars or the red carpet? Are there other award shows you try never to miss? What draws you to them?


I’m M.J. (Manda) Pullen, an author and mom in the Atlanta, Georgia area. I blog with humor and honesty about writing, publishing, parenthood, life in general and the many lessons I’ve learned the hard way. I no longer have an aversion to bean dip.

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MJ Pullen

M.J. Pullen is a distracted writer and the mom of two boys in Roswell, Georgia, where she is absolutely late for something important right now. Her books include quirky romantic comedies and playful women's fiction. She blogs erratically with writing advice, random observations, and reflections on raising very loud kids and dogs. Join her Distracted Readers newsletter list for updates, free content, giveaways and more.

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