Oscar Ethics 2020, Part I

I wrote last night that I would not dare watch the Academy Awards broadcast because I was afraid that the political grandstanding might cause me to snap and run through the streets wielding a machete. Alexandria, VA. can thank me now.

  • Almost immediately, the expected “Best Supporting Actor” win by Brad Pitt for “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” resulted in the first politiacl commentary of the night. Pitt began, “They told me that I only had 45 seconds up here, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week. I’m thinking maybe Quentin does a movie about it, and in the end the adults do the right thing.”

Yeah, that would be the adult voters taking the gavel away from Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff losing his seat to the wonderful pit bull Brad’s character owned in “OUATIH.”

  • Do you think Brad, or many of the assembled Hollywood VIP’s, noticed that Julia Reichert, accepting the Oscar for the Netflix documentary  “American Factory,” said “Working people have it harder and harder these days – and we believe that things will get better when workers of the world unite.”

That’s a Karl Marx quote and a deliberate callout to “The Communist Manefesto.”  You have to be  historically illiterate to believe that “Working people have it harder and harder these days,” and it’s fascinating that the Obamas are funding platforms for Communist propaganda.

I wonder what Chris Matthews would say about that?

“I think at times we feel or are made to feel that we champion different causes. But for me, I see commonality. I think, whether we’re talking about gender inequality or racism or queer rights or indigenous rights or animal rights, we’re talking about the fight against injustice. We’re talking about the fight against the belief that one nation, one people, one race, one gender, one species, has the right to dominate, use and control another with impunity.I think we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world. Many of us are guilty of an egocentric world view, and we believe that we’re the center of the universe. We go into the natural world and we plunder it for its resources. We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable. Then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal….”

Incredibly, this infantile hippy virtue-signaling blather is being hailed around the web as profound. I sympathize somewhat: the poor guy was raised in a commune and spent the first part of his life under the first name “Leaf.” He’s a great actor, but that does not entitle him to hijack a national television broadcast to lecture viewers based on his rudimentary political views.

These kind of speeches are no different from NFL players kneeling during the national Anthem, just more pompous and longer.

  • Every year,  the Oscars “In Memoriam” segment needlessly snubs major performers who deserved their final bows at least as much as the movie artists included.  This time, the segment was especially bad.  The sequence was rushed, with each image given a couple of second less time than in past tears. Many deserving stars did not even get their own slide, and had a smaller photo stuck in the corner, sharing the space with someone else  for no apparent reason. (One example that annoyed me: Terry Jones.)

With all the wasted time in that unfailingly dragged out spectacle, there is no excuse for not devoting a few more minutes to honor the industry’s departed properly. I checked: in past montages, actors and others remained on screen long enough for the audience to applaud, and they often did. This year, there was only a scattering of applause, because the images came and went so quickly. Here, for example, in the 2002 memorial:

The recently killed NBA legend Kobe Bryant was given the top spot in the sequence. This is pandering. His place on the list rests on his role as producer—that means he paid for it—of an Oscar-winning animated short subject in 2017. That was his sole movie credit. I’ve been challenging defenders of Bryant’s inclusion to point to anyone who has made the “In Memoriam” list with such a thin list of credits.

Meanwhile, important  performers were robbed of their curtain call.

I’ll cover those in Part II.

20 thoughts on “Oscar Ethics 2020, Part I

  1. Joaquin Phoenix’s speech was certainly cringeworthy and the bit about stealing cow’s milk was unintentionally hilarious. I noticed that the applauds following the speech weren’t exactly thunderous. Maybe this is a sign that they’re were at at least a few intelligent actors and directors in the Dolby Theater.

  2. Don’t watch the Oscars anymore. I refuse to be lectured on politics for hours on end. I only watch the In Memoriam segment the day after to see who got the shaft. And it always annoys me.

      • It seems this is more of a Nielsen rating, not taking into account the people shifting to streaming services such as YouTubeTV or Hulu Live TV, etc. It might be correct, but I’d still like to see a comprehensive ratings release that accounts for most of the streamers before articles like this get written.

        • That’s a great and under-explained point, Tim. Nobody really knows what the ratings are any more. It does dovetail with anecdotal data: I know a lot of people like me who once never missed the Oscars, but once the Hollywood crowd started preaching and taking political positions, the show stopped beeing fun.

        • I think Nielsen started incorporating the numbers for the major live-TV streaming services into their C3 and C7 numbers a couple years ago. C3/C7 means it’s the total viewership in the three (or seven) days from when the show originally aired. Those are the particular stats that are used to negotiate with advertisers. The only major streamer that doesn’t play ball with them is Netflix, but they don’t stream “live TV” events anyway.

            • True, but I suspect for big live events like awards shows, there’s not as much time-delayed viewing as for other shows. Once the winners have been “spoiled”, why would anyone watch this dreck a week later? The entire appeal of the show is the drama of the reveals.

              • It’s not that they’re watching time-delayed, but that Nielsen doesn’t get the Live Streamer numbers from the Streaming services until later. At least, that’s what I’m thinking. I may be way off base here, but I was thinking the 23.6M represented viewers from OTA, Satellite, and Cable systems – but might not include YouTubeTV and Hulu Live TV, etc.

                I can’t seem to find even the source of the 23.6M viewership number to figure out what it includes…which is a nice commentary about the state of our Journalism. They can’t even cite sources, they just accept everything as fact.

  3. Hollywood: “That town needs an enema!”*

    Brad Pitt’s original first name should have been ‘Arm.’ The man has led a pampered life, and acts as if all problems can be solved by a snappy ending provided by a union script writer.

    The incoherent Joker actor is simply saying he wishes two-thirds of the world would starve to death, while he sits in his mansion and eats bon-bons. After all, he is obviously superior to almost anyone else!

    *Important cultural reference. Bonus points will be awarded to the first reply who identifies the character and movie. Partial credit will be awarded

      • I’m impressed. You know how I accumulate trivia, and whatever brain cells I had that received that quote have clearly perished from disuse. Jack was allowed to do lazy self-parody in that film, and I really was sad when I learned that Tim Burton had wanted to use Brad Dourif. The studio vetoed it, which robbed Dourif, who is one of the best character actors alive, of his one shot at stardom—he would have been great. Quick, now–without checking—name a Brad Dourif performance, or his most famous role, in which he never actually appears on screen.

          • My favorite: His turn as the serial killer in “Exorcist 3,” giving one of the most chilling monologues I have ever heard or want to hear. He was also the wife-beating racist cop in “Mississippi Burning.”

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