The 2023 Academy Awards seemed determined to test just how gullible and naive movie fans are. Integrity? What’s integrity? Just as complaints about the dearth of “enough” Oscar nominations being bestowed on African-American actors and designer magically resulted in “historic” numbers of awards to blacks in subsequent years, recent publicized complaints about how “Asian actors have been underrepresented” in the awards just happened to be addressed by “historic” numbers of Asian winners in multiple categories at the 2023 Oscars.
All because they were the “best,” of course. What, you don’t trust Hollywood?
Yes, yes, I’m sure they were all “deserving.” Well, all but Jamie Lee Curtis as “Best Supporting Actress,” perhaps, since her award was pretty obviously that hoary Oscar tradition, a well-liked veteran performer nearing the end of the line getting a prize for participation and good sportsmanship having little to do with the performance. (See: James Coburn, Hellen Hayes, George Burns, Don Ameche, etc.). But seriously, how long can the Oscars maintain the charade that its nominations and awards are anything more than calculated political virtue-signaling calibrated to match the progressive obsession of the moment after this?
Last week, the New York Times just happened to run an elaborate feature called “Asian Actors Have Been Underrepresented at the Oscars For Decades. Here’s the History.” I was going to write about it, in fact. Asian-American make up about 6% of the population. What obligates the movie industry, or anyone, to precisely meet that percentage in its products and services? The answer can only be quotas. The Americans whose desire to see “people like them” in movies will be sated by more Asian-Americans is a small group compared to the majority of the market, and Hollywood would be wise to make movies to appeal to the most people, not narrow slivers of the demographic mix.
But diversity/equity/inclusion not only commands otherwise, but plays favorites. The Times color-counters concluded that only 23 Asian actors or actresses had been nominated for Oscars out of 1,808 total nominations, and only 6 had won. Is that supposed to prove bias, or that an industry created by Jewish businessmen to make movies for a majority white market didn’t concentrate on meeting a specific percentage of major roles for a relatively small minority group?
Incidentally, about 25% of the American public lives with a serious disability. The number of clearly disabled actors who have been won Oscars? One: non-actor Harold Russell, a wounded WWII veteran playing a wounded WWII veteran in “The Best Years of Our Lives,” and that award was a gesture, not a genuine verdict on his screen-acting mastery. I’m sure, however, that if we have enough media and activists complaining about how handicapped artists have been “underrepresented,” the 2024 or 2025 Oscars will dutifully remedy the situation.
The telecast chose 95-year-old James Hong, a member of the Best Picture-winning “Everything Everywhere All at Once” cast, for a special tribute. He’s old, a veteran Asian character actor best known, I’d think, as the infuriating matre d’ in the classic “Seinfeld” episode set at a Chinese restaurant. The tribute was nice, but Hong is a minor career working actor, competent but unremarkable, approximately as deserving of a special Oscar tribute as hundreds of familiar performers through the decades. Whit Bissell had a more consequential film career, but he was white, so screw him. Meanwhile, Robert Duvall is 92, also acted in a film this year, and may not be around for the next Oscar broadcast. Of course, his career dwarfs Hong’s, but you know, diversity, not achievement, is what matters.
Robotically following the mantra of the Biden administration, the Times TV review of last night’s Oscar show kept telling readers how historic the awards were, because in 2023 “historic” justifies anything, like inflicting an incompetent White House press secretary on the nation:
“In the 95-year history of the Oscars, an Asian performer had never taken home the best actress statuette — until Sunday, when Michelle Yeoh won the Academy Award for her lead performance as a beleaguered laundromat owner in ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once.’
“Her win — also the first for a Malaysian performer — was one of many breakthroughs for Asian artists on Sunday. Her co-star Ke Huy Quan became the first Vietnamese-born performer to win an Oscar, and their combined victories marked the first time more than one performer of Asian descent had won an Oscar in a single year….”
Wow…all that history! Then…
It was so refreshing to see Ruth Carter, the costume designer behind “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” win her second Oscar. She’s the first Black woman to win two Academy Awards —
Meanwhile, the top-grossing movie of the year and by most measures the best liked by the most people, “Top Gun: Maverick,” was all but shut-out, winning a technical award for sound. This was widely predicted: too many white actors, a pro-America, pro-U.S. military screenplay: can’t have that! Just this past week, MSNBC’s Zeeshan Aleem leveled another political attack on the film; too late to influence Academy voters, but I’d be willing to bet that most of Hollywood is congruent with the left-wing propaganda network regarding most issues. Aleem wrote,
“Top Gun” is as insidious as it is entertaining. It does not merely revive a forgotten human-centered spectacle; it also beckons for a return to accepting the American war machine as a beacon of virtue and excitement. It’s a poisonous kind of nostalgia, one that smuggles love of endless war into a celebration of live action…
“War is portrayed purely as a source of glory and camaraderie for Maverick and his colleagues, who are all attractive people and manage to pull off their daring mission with zero casualties. Their training involves speed, sport and glamour….Much of the movie has the feel of a racing or sports movie, gamifying the use of lethal technology and geopolitical intervention as a contest of precise oneupmanship.”
The buzz on this year’s Oscars was that the Academy would try to lure back the non-extreme leftists who it has constantly insulted and annoyed on the program for years. Well, maybe that 6% Asian demographic will tick up a bit, but if there was any fantasy left that the Oscars are about anything but advancing woke agendas, this installment should have killed it.
Post Script: I wouldn’t insist that “Top Gun” was a great movie, and I am not implying that the Asian-American winners last night didn’t give worthy, professional performances as excellent as past Oscar-winners. What I am implying, indeed saying outright, is that the awards are now driven by political and ideological objectives, and thus have even less integrity than they used to. I can’t imagine why anyone not devoted to those non-artistic agendas would care about the Academy Awards now.
9 thoughts on “What A Happy Coinkydink! In A DEI-Obsessed Year, The Most Deserving Artists For Oscars Just Happened To Be Asian And Black!”
Don’t watch the Oscar anymore. My husband watched 51 of the 54 nominated films this year, brewed coffee and watched the whole thing. The nostalgic part of me felt so much excitement for Ke Huy Quan – who I met at a convention he guested at in 2017 along with his “Goonies” co-stars – but I didn’t stick around long enough to watch anymore of it.
I did watch the “In Memoriam” segment this morning to see that they kept off Nehemiah Persoff, Virginia Patton, Joe Turkel, Earl Boen, Stella Stevens, Cindy Williams, Anne Heche, Melinda Dillon, Pat Carroll, Fred Ward and David Warner to mention a few.
What??? All of those? How could that happen?
Oh, don’t worry. They made sure we know that we can get the complete list of the dearly departed on the internet!
But they made sure to include an ad for Warner Brothers films.
And then there’s Jimmy Kimmel. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2023/03/12/jimmy_kimmel_slams_tucker_carlson_at_oscars_editors_can_turn_insurrection_footage_into_a_tour_of_the_capitol.html
Well of course! What did they expect? “Violent insurrection.” What an ass.
No animal equity?
Huh… I don’t remeber that Seinfeld episode at all, but I can’t see James Hong without thinking of David Lo Pan in Big Trouble in Little China…
But looking on Wikipedia he’s been in a LOT of things. I’m not sure any one film/show/game qualifes for ‘best known for’.
Without an objective criteria to measure quality, all these award shows are subjective. In my mind, there is little difference between casting a vote for a performance based some subjective factors and choosing a peanut butter sandwich over a ham sandwich. The only thing that seems to matter is how popular one is to the group.
Given that these award shows provide no entertainment value to me I always cast my vote for something else.
And, of course, there is no objective standard, nor can there be. It’s like dog shows. Still, I expect that if before the Westminster there were a lot of “giant breeds have not won their share of Best in Shows” and a Great Dane took home the prize, some might question the objectivity of the judges…