Danny Moloshok / Reuters

To lead off the latest Masthead Weekly, we’ve asked the culture writer David Sims for a briefing on yet another wobbling American institution, the Oscars. David’s take: Despite the awards’ glitzy elitism, you’d miss ’em if they disappeared. Read through to find the latest on online marijuana sales, Microsoft’s open-source takeover, the state of female anger, and more. — Matt Peterson

What to Know: How the Oscars Keep Hollywood Relevant

By David Sims

The Oscar race always kicks off in earnest in October, after the fall’s film festivals conclude and the “prestige movie” season begins. Though Hollywood’s obsession with awards shows can smack of egotism, the shows are a crucial part of the industry’s ecosystem, as much as superhero franchises and horror remakes. Depressing as it might sound, having a chance at an Oscar is the primary reason major studios still fund movies aimed at grown-ups.

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