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Hollywood Confession: How Oscar Has Fried My Brain

I recently received an invitation to a Jan. 5 wedding, and my first thought was “Are they insane? Why are they getting married on Golden Globes weekend?”

Then I realized that not everyone in the world centers their lives around awards season. I slowly came to a more shocking realization: Maybe I’ve gotten a little too showbiz for my own good.

When I thought about it, I found other dismaying evidence to back this up.

» I read the tweet of a friend, who was praising the classical beauty and history of the Capitol Building. He then posted a photo on Instagram of the Washington Capitol in D.C. I had assumed he was writing about the Capitol Records building.

» On a trip to Sicily (which, BTW, is highly recommended), I went to Mount Etna with a friend who’s a local. We were atop a mountain of rock and dirt, which he said had been a level field until 2002. The eruption that year had created lava that became about eight stories’ worth of rugged new terrain that we were standing on. Then he got out his cell phone and called his girlfriend. I was standing there, and my second thought was about the awesome power of nature. But my first thought was: How does he get phone reception here, but I can’t get a signal driving through Laurel Canyon?

» In November, Variety and Rolling Stone posted a package of stories on criminal justice reform. In the first planning meeting, several people agreed we should reach out to Mike Lee. And I thought “I love Mike Leigh, but why are we talking to a British director about the American legal system?” It finally sunk in that they meant the Utah senator.

» As I was being seated at a restaurant, I noticed three people at the next table, all silently staring at their laps. After a moment, they simultaneously said “Amen” and started eating. It never occurred to me they were saying grace; I assumed that each was reading emails on their iPhones.

» I was called for jury duty. The judge, Henry J. Hall, explained the jury procedure, offering anecdotes and examples, talked about the case and what was expected from jurors. He was charismatic, made eye contact, and explained things clearly. And I kept thinking “Somebody needs to give this guy his own syndicated show.”

» I drove past the Beverly Hilton and noticed limos and Town Cars lining up in the driveway, with a black-tie crowd walking toward the hotel. I tried hard to remember what the showbiz event was tonight. It turned out there wasn’t one. Some OTHER industry was having a gala that evening. I was aware there are other industries in the world but I’d overlooked the possibility that they would have a black-tie event at the Hilton.

» When a TV anchor said “There are two Oscar stories in the news,” I had only one logical conclusion and I sat up to listen. But it turned out to be updates on Oscar Pistorius and Oscar de la Hoya.

» I heard on the news that the government was planning “enhanced health screenings” and I immediately wondered if the screenings will be followed by a Q&A.

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