Good job, everybody!
Thanks to an extended public self-flagellation by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Scientists last night, any future Oscar nominations or awards to black performers, designers, writers and directors will be regarded by the public and the Hollywood community itself with justifiable suspicion, doubts and cynicism. Last night’s ceremony, from Chris Rock’s all-race monologue to the choice of the music over the credits, was a tacit commitment by the Academy to henceforth and forever name sufficient minority nominees and winners regardless of the merits of their work or the comparative merits of their work to any white artists. Diversity is officially more important than merit. By hook or by crook, there will now be prominent honors to Hollywood blacks….even if some of the honored work is crap.
Not surprisingly, given its traditional and intellectually wan reflex liberalism, Hollywood painted itself into an affirmative action and quotas mandate. After last night, the voters won’t dare fail to nominate a whole bunch of blacks, so Spike Lee will come to the ceremony. This does put pressure on black artists to actually turn in some outstanding, or at least plausibly decent, work to avoid making all those guaranteed nominations and awards look as phony and rigged as they will be. If the 2017 Oscars include nominations for Samuel L. Jackson playing Samuel L. Jackson, a lifetime achievement award for Sydney Poitier and a gift nod to James Earl Jones for a charming cameo as a crusty old hermit in “The Sandlot, Part 3,” it’s going to be even more obvious what’s going on.
On the other hand, I suppose Hollywood’s blacks could guarantee a sweep for “The Michael Brown Story” by making that the only major film eligible for nomination, even if Saturday Night Live’s Kenan Thompson plays “the gentle giant” and the only audience for the thing is Black Lives Matters, Jesse Jackson and Loretta Lynch.
What a brilliant plan this was! Activists guaranteed that from now on, some Tinsel Town honchos will go in a secret conference room and review the membership votes before they are announced, adjusting the totals to make sure that sufficient black artists are on the list to keep Al, Spike, and the rest from making a stink and calling Hollywood racist. Do you doubt it? Does anyone doubt that no matter what the reality of next year’s films are and the relative merit of design, writing, direction and performances, the Academy won’t allow an all-white shutout, won’t allow a result with a few “token” blacks, won’t allow any result that isn’t spectacularly “diverse,” because the backlash would be horrific?
Does anyone not understand that once the Oscars are decided that way, they will be even more meaningless than they have been, and that nobody in their right minds will care about them?
In order to ensure their “share of the pie,” Hollywood blacks just made the pie unsaleable and inedible. The activists don’t care about this, of course: as always, what matters to them is power. For black artists who wanted to feel that their little gold man meant something, however, it’s too late. Ironically, the only artists whose awards will be meaningful will be white artists, who at least will know that their work had to be so outstanding that even a diversity-rigged system couldn’t deny them the honor.