I know Ben Stein has already made his Oscar observations. Aside from not knowing who the hell was on the stage and who sings/raps “Fight the Power” (it is Public Enemy, a hip-hop group notorious for its anti-Semitism), Ben primarily commented on Joe Biden’s appearance.
It might as well have been a Democratic Party fundraiser with the ovation Biden got. While Ben thinks it odd that Biden should be talking about campus rape given his friendship with the Clintons, I thought Biden an odd choice given his propensity to get touchy feely with the wives and daughters of Senators and Cabinet members. I’m sure Defense Secretary Ash Carter thinks Biden is hardly an appropriate spokesman for the cause.
I missed the first half hour of the proceedings to watch Columbo. Interestingly, the episode was “Murder Under Glass” which was directed by Jonathan Demme who would later direct the Oscar winning film The Silence of the Lambs.
Frankly, I wish there had been a Columbo marathon because I would have watched that instead of watching the Oscars. Sure I missed Sarah Silverman’s rant on James Bond. But I couldn’t avoid the insipid Tina Fey commercials (No, I still don’t think she’s funny).
It was really annoying to see the orchestra cut off everyone’s acceptance speech though I must say I admired Alejandro Gonzalez-Inarritu talking through the orchestra until they backed down as he accepted his second consecutive Best Director Oscar for The Revenant.
The orchestra, of course, didn’t dare interrupt Leonardo DiCaprio’s hot air on climate change nor Sam Smith’s gay pride, but the moment Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (whose film A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short) mentioned honor killings, the band started playing.
These Oscars might have been about diversity, but not about diversity of opinion.
Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs spoke about diversity in a short address in which quoting Martin Luther King, Jr., she said, “The measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort or convenience, but where he stands in moments of controversy.” That quote was part of a series of sermons he wrote in a book called Strength to Love. A good part of that book was written while in jail in Albany, Georgia in 1962. I think there’s a considerable difference between MLK, Jr. sitting in jail and how many millions Will Smith will make in his next film.
Of course, the Motion Picture Academy is a liberal institution. So conservatives can’t be blamed for this state of affairs. But if I had a chance to speak with Will Smith, I would ask which of the five actors nominated for Best Actor he believed wasn’t deserving of the nomination.
At one point, Oscar host Chris Rock had a video segment where he outside a movie theater in Compton. He asks several African-American movie goers about “white films” like Spotlight and Bridge of Spies. Rock made Bridge of Spies sound it was like Birth of a Nation.
I thought about this again after Spotlight won Best Picture. To begin with, it was something of a surprise with The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road being heavier favorites. Now I haven’t seen Spotlight (nor any of the other seven films nominated for Best Picture), but it is about the role of The Boston Globe in exposing the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal. So how exactly is this a “white film”? Needless to say, I live in ground zero of what became a global scandal. Surely there are black children who were among the victims? Or do Black Catholic Lives not matter?
Given all the hubaloo about diversity at the Oscars, next year I predict there will be at least one African-American nominated in each acting, supporting acting and director category and at least one Best Picture nominee with a African-American theme or a predominantly African-American cast.
But I do not think Kevin Hart will host the Oscars next year. I think it will be Tina Fey. Oy Fey.