That is a tough question to answer. The show is long, boring, and predictable. The winners are typically a foregone conclusion. I don't particularly care how people are dressed - it is much more entertaining to catch up on that the day after when Joan Rivers tears into the stars who did not live up to her standards.
And yet, I tune in every year. Of course, for me, tune in means watch part of it and have it on while I fall asleep. Part of my motivation to tune in stems from my fascination with the film industry in general. I have always been interested in how a movie is produced. I watch the making-of extras and love movies that have movie making as the subject. The other motivation is simply the spectacle of the event. I've never attended the event, but it looks like quite a study in logistics.
I enjoy the Oscars, but I do not select the movies I see based on whether or not they are Oscar bait. I part with my hard earned dollars when the movie interests me and is relatively well received by critics. Last year, Bridesmaids stole the show. And while it is wonderful that it garnered nominations for supporting actress and screenplay, it is a shame that the movie (which was on many critics' top ten lists) did not get a nod for best picture. I have seen a few of the other best picture contenders and none of them was as enjoyable or encouraged repeat viewing the way Bridesmaids did.
But I'll be watching tonight to see Billy Crystal do his schtick and see the stars put on their best gracious loser face. I will probably switch to Food Network during the speeches and the commercials.