Ryan Murphy on Why Oscars Are "the Gay Super Bowl" (Guest Column)

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Ryan Murphy

The co-creator of 'Feud' and 'American Crime Story' reflects on his obsession with the Academy Awards as a child in Indiana ("They were religion in my house") and which big loss still has him "fuming."

Growing up in Indiana, the Oscars were religion in my house. It was a breath of fantasy and a way to imagine what life could be. I used to have slumber parties with all of my friends starting at age 7. We'd do an Oscar pool and all of that stuff. You have to remember there was no internet back then, which meant there was really no access to these directors and movie stars. They were almost like unicorns: You didn't see them very much, unlike now, when it's all very orchestrated. So when you watched the Academy Awards, it really was a great, special celebration of glamour, and you felt this national excitement around it.

I still remember being 4 years old and watching Elizabeth Taylor come out to present best picture, and she was all tan and wearing this tremendous Chopard jewelry. It's a great thing that the show does in celebrating the movies and artistic talent in a big, glamorous way — more and more now in a socially conscious way.

For me, it's the gay Super Bowl. And yes, I've lost many an Oscar pool. My most devastating loss was when "Rainbow Connection" from The Muppet Movie lost the original song Oscar to the theme from Norma Rae. I'm still fuming about that one.

A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.