Comment Of The Day: “Monday Ethics Meander, 4/26/2021: Oscar, Rachel, Ma’Khia And The ACLU” (Item #4: The Oscars)

 

I announced in a post today that I would no longer devote essays to the Academy Awards Show because it no longer has the cultural importance and influence to make it important, nor the integrity to make discussing its ethical issues worth the time to write about. I may not have been clear that this kills me. The annual Oscar broadcast was a big event in my family, and we almost always had seen all of the nominated films and performances. My dad, as a veteran, had privileges at Hanscom Air Base not far from Arlington, Mass., and at the movie theater on the base showed movies before general release. Tickets cost 25 cents for kids, 50 cents for adults, and there would be 5-6 different movies every week. It wasn’t unusual for the Marshalls to see three new films in some weeks. I used to care who won the Oscars: when John Wayne won Best Actor for “True Grit,” which my friends from high school and college knew I loved and had seen many times, I got phone calls from all over the country.

But in those days, political grandstanding was for acknowledged jerks like Marlon Brando: the Oscars were managed as a unifying feature of society, not a divisive one, as they should be. the hosts were middle-of-the road types like Johnny Carson and Bob Hope; the past was honored and respected. No doubt about it, the show and the industry was all-white, but that, like the rest of the nation, was changing. Destroying something in order to save it is almost always unethical, but that’s what they did to the Academy Awards, like so many other institutions. Most of them I don’t miss. I miss the Academy Awards, but they are officially toast, and the Academy did it to itself, with a big assist from Hollywood.

But A.M. Golden did an excellent job in his overview today after watching the Oscars so I wouldn’t have to. Here is his Comment of the Day on the Oscars section in Monday Ethics Meander, 4/26/2021: Oscar, Rachel, Ma’Khia And The ACLU“:

Prologue: Well, the only part of the Oscars I ever watch is the “In Memoriam” segment the day after so I can see who they left off. This year’s snubs:

David Prowse – Darth Vader
Jeremy Bulloch – Boba Fett
John Saxon – primarily known for TV but also appeared in a number of films.
Kenny Rogers – musician, yes, but starred in a movie.
Honor Blackman – Bond girl
Geno Silva
Annie Ross
Mac Davis – musician, again, but also starred in a movie
Stuart Whitman – primarily known for TV, but appeared in “The Longest Day” and “The Comancheros” with John Wayne.
Diana Serra Cary a.k.a. “Baby Peggy” –

They included late African-American actress Ja’Net Dubois, who was best-known as wacky neighbor Willona Woods in the tv sitcom “Good Times”, whose film work appears to be relatively insignificant. She died several days after last year’s Oscar telecast and wouldn’t have been included then anyway, but including her at all in the Oscar In Memoriam seems odd, especially in comparison to some of the above exclusions who had more prominent roles on film.

It’s not unusual for the Oscars (or the Emmys, for that matter) to pad their “In Memoriam” segments with performers who were best known for music or sports. I think the Oscars included Steve Jobs one year.

But I couldn’t shake the notion that they stuck Ja’Net in there to make sure there were some African-Americans in there. Kind of like the ridiculous extreme of Ricky Gervais’ 2020 Golden Globes joke about him refusing to allow an “In Memoriam” segment there because there wasn’t enough diversity in the people who died.

My husband watches the Oscars every year. He watched 44 of the 51 films that received some kind of nomination this year. He knew ahead of time that the nominated songs would be played during the ceremony – as prerecorded segments.

What he did not know was that those songs would be played during the pre-show…which he never watches. Once Twitter reported the nominated songs were being played before the ceremony, we had to turn the station quickly so he could catch the remaining songs. Not nice of Oscar to not inform viewers that they had to watch the pre-show to get all of the segments.

The preshow had two black performers interviewing people on the red carpet, African-American actress – and last year’s Best Supporting Actress – Regina King opened the ceremony (more on that in a minute) and the aforementioned “In Memoriam” segment, which traditionally ends with the most famous of the notable deaths, made sure to showcase Chadwick Boseman over such long-time luminaries as Christopher Plummer and Olivia de Havilland, the latter of whom I was sure would receive the honored final position in the segment (Just fyi: the 2020 Emmy Awards ended its “In Memoriam” segment with Boseman, as well, despite his being largely a film actor).

I was never going to watch the entire ceremony, but I was chased out of the room the minute Regina King started off the evening by referencing the Chauvin trial and began her off-topic lecture by saying, “Before you reach for your remotes…”. Too late. I kissed my husband good night and told him I was going to let him enjoy his show in peace.

In other news, I understand the ratings were terrible. Again.

That doesn’t even include my snarking at the pre-show about David Rubin extolling how stringent they were being with everyone’s safety while unmasked people loitered in the background well within six feet of each other.

11 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Monday Ethics Meander, 4/26/2021: Oscar, Rachel, Ma’Khia And The ACLU” (Item #4: The Oscars)

  1. Now, talent does not count, its just color and your crotch, which had better be female or trans something, because white and male are not allowed to win anything. I was stunned that Anthony Hopkins won, against the tide of PC woke bs that rules now.

  2. Once again, I’m honored.
    The Boseman upset actually reminded me of that year everyone assumed “Saving Private Ryan” would win. They even put poor Harrison Ford up on stage to presumably hand the “Best Picture” Oscar to his buddy Spielberg only for him to read, “Shakespeare in Love” instead.
    This year very much read like it was supposed to be all about putting blacks at the forefront. It’s not hard to believe that the show was supposed to end with Boseman winning, especially since they went to the trouble of making the “Best Actor” category the last one given.

  3. Wait, what? WHAT? Boseman got the special last spot in the “In Memoriam” segment??? I might have thrown a brick at the TV. Olivia de Havilland was the Golden Age star of the magnitude that is always accorded that honor, and she had earned it more than most. A Best Actess winner, a many times nominee, and the star of many undeniable classics. Boseman’s career was just beginning: what’s the rule no, the last slot goes to the most popular dead black star?

    It’s almost too easy to play the “reverse colors” game here. Imagine if, say, Sidney Poitier was displaced by some 20-something rising white star who crashed his motorcycle.

    • Why aren’t feminists upset? A man who has fewer achievements is giving the slot of honor over a woman with decades of achievements – this seems like something that they should be commenting on.

  4. I bet the conversation was, “Hey, we can’t put that old actress, what’s her name, at the end! She starred in “Gone With the Wind,” that racist movie! Her character owned slaves! She was in all those films with that rapist Errol Flynn! She’s lucky she’s on the list at all!”

    Assholes.

    • And they totally ignored James Drury. While he was The Virginian for many years, he was also in many films and it was a shame to ignore him but feature every black who ever did a 20 second spot in third rate films. Oscar is a woke joke. I did not watch and will never watch again, Hollywood has whored itself big time, forever, for the last time.

      • Drury too? Arghh. He was major lead in “Ride the High Country,”a bona fide classic Western, Randolph Scott’s last film AND Joel McRae’s, and Sam Peckinpah’s first major feature.

    • If proximity is a reason to snub an actor, everyone who’s ever been in a Roman Polanski film better give up hope of anything more than a quick mention. Or does Hollywood still love Polanski, in spite of his “me too” problems?

  5. I have to wonder where Hollywood ever got this idea that we were interested in watching their politics. Did C-SPAN’s ratings go through the roof while I wasn’t looking?

  6. Your comment was and is excellent. I haven’t watched awards shows in decades. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I watched one. Rush’s induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame doesn’t count because the ceremony was just that – a ceremony. I didn’t watch it on pay-per-view because I didn’t want to shell out the money to HBO when I could watch for free the next day and skip through the acts that didn’t interest me.

    I grew tired of watching a bunch of self-congratulatory self-indulgent know-it-alls preach about things they couldn’t possibly understand. Somewhere along the line we decided that rock stars and actors had been conferred with unimpeachable wisdom on everything from gardening to international relations. It was boring so I stopped watching. I don’t even follow up later on the supposed controversies. I figured that two actors or actresses would embrace and kiss and/or fondle each other in solidarity with the cause celebre du jour, most of which don’t interest me. Yes, I know I am supposed to be aware of current events but, for some reason, what actors do at any given day and time is so ridiculously low on my list of priorities as not to register that I simply worry about more important things, such as whether those awful caterpillars are eating my grape leaves or why i thought it was a good idea to rent one of those big, heavy, stupid aerating machines from Home Depot designed to punch holes in the grass but crack the newly laid sidewalks (which cost a fortune to fix, thank you very much!), resulting in sore muscles and a broken heart upon receiving the concrete repair bill, only for my long-suffering wife to give me that look chilling the blood in my veins and clearly says, “If you whine and complain about the repair costs, I will rip you to shreds!!”

    jvb

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