When you enjoy Oscar night, America wins

Runway fashions, gleaming smiles, movie buzz. The 93rd Academy Awards, airing Sunday, will have the haute couture and stars du jour that we have come to expect, despite its modified format. Despite COVID, it’s okay to enjoy fashion and to celebrate the film industry. As long as you wear a mask and wash your hands, you can laugh and cry along with the winners and losers. (It’s an honor just to be nominated.)

Art and design are not just shallow pursuits — they help fuel the economy. According to the Motion Picture Association, “The film and television industry supports a dynamic U.S. creative economy, employing people in every state, and across a diversity of skills and trades. In all, 2.5 million people — from special effects technicians to makeup artists to writers to set builders to ticket takers and more — work in jobs supported by the industry, which pays over $181 billion in wages annually.” 

From Hollywood to Main Street

Taxes are collected by local and state governments, and the federal government benefits from income tax revenue. 

The difference is seen on Main Street as well. For example, the Savannah College of Art and Design, where I earned a Master of Arts, helped restore the area’s landscape, tourism industry, and real estate values. Plus, it produced some of the talent whose creations you see on stage and screen.

Oscar statue on Feb. 8, 2020, in Hollywood, California. (Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images)

Ask your hairstylist and clothing salesperson, and they will say the movies and their leading actors influence what we buy, creating a demand for new styles. A report by the United States Congress Joint Economic Committee stated: “Fashion is a highly sophisticated, $2.5 trillion global industry. In the United States alone, consumers spent nearly $380 billion on apparel and footwear in 2017. The industry, which encompasses everything from textile and apparel brands to wholesalers, importers and retailers, employs more than 1.8 million people in the United States.”

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So go ahead, be vain. Style your hair, put on your mask, and leave your house. The world is your red carpet.

Films and fashion fuel the economy

Be understanding of others and humble when it matters.

But on Oscar Night, get dressed up and go out, even if it’s just to a neighbor’s party. 

Jordan and Spencer Barkin in York, South Carolina, February 2021. (Photo: Family handout)

America’s economy needs the film and fashion industries. The talented creatives who work in fields like lighting, editing, hair and makeup need more gigs. 

Exceptional women: USA TODAY wants to honor the exceptional women who make their communities better. You can help.

In short, we all win when you look fierce. 

Now work it.

Jordan Barkin is a writer and former associate editor of Hearst Magazines. He and his husband, Spencer Barkin, will be watching the awards streaming with their friends and their rescue hound, Paisley.

You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To respond to a column, submit a comment to [email protected]

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