The movie industry’s most important annual moment, the Academy Awards ceremony, will be shown on television around the world, witnessed by over a billion people, this Sunday night.

It is the night when Hollywood honors the films and performances that best represent the industry’s self-image as the most decent, thoughtful, intelligent, talented, and beautiful people on the earth—and powerfully confirms the public’s astute perception of them as the world’s most amazing collection of disturbingly charismatic circus freaks.