Movies

Did Politics Ruin the Oscars?

The Academy Awards are this weekend. Almost no one has even heard of the movies up for Best Picture.

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If nothing else, the pandemic has shown us the weaknesses of our cultural and political institutions. 

Case in point, this year's Oscars. They have problems. Big problems. 

You can see those problems in the public's relationship to the movies up for best picture, the ceremony's top award. 

For one thing, it's not clear anyone has seen any of the movies nominated. For another, it's not even clear that anyone has heard of them. OK, fine, I don't actually mean anyone. I'm taking a little bit of dramatic license here. (I myself have somehow seen all eight of them.) But this is the biggest event on the Hollywood awards calendar, the biggest night of the year for Tinseltown. It's the night when America celebrates the movies. Yet this year, almost no one is paying attention. 

Polling data indicate shockingly low levels of awareness about this year's biggest nominees. Obviously, the pandemic is a factor. Most theaters in the United States were closed for the better part of 2020, and many big releases were delayed. As a result, there wasn't much marketing, either. The Hollywood hype machine effectively shut down. 

Even still, the numbers are dismal. Industry research firm Guts + Data surveyed 1,500 active entertainment consumers—in theory, folks who are plugged in and interested—and found fewer than half of those surveyed were aware of any of the nominees up for the big prize. These aren't necessarily bad movies: I'm quite enamored with the searching openness of Nomadland, this year's best picture front-runner, and the anxiety and empathy on display in The Father. Both Promising Young Woman and Mank are stylish and pointed. But will the quality of these films matter if no one tunes into this year's ceremony, which airs Sunday night? (Frankly, it's not clear how many people even know that.)

There is a real possibility that this year's show will be a historic bomb. Awards show ratings, from the Grammys to the Golden Globes, have taken a nosedive this year, for obvious and understandable reasons: It's hard to gin up much enthusiasm for glitz and glamour after a year when everyone has been stuck inside, the offerings have been slim and strange, and the usual glitz and glamour hardly shine through when most of the attendees are attending from their living rooms, via video conference, audio headaches included. Who wants another is-this-thing-muted? Zoom call in his life? 

Thankfully, this years Oscars won't be Sunday-night conference-call-of-the-stars. Director Steven Soderbergh apparently had it written into his contract that there would be no acceptance speeches from home. Sorry, Room Rater!

Even still, it will be a strange affair. The stars won't appear from their living rooms, but there will be no live studio audience, and speeches will be delivered at a handful of satellite studios strewn throughout the globe. Instead of a Zoom call, it will be a cable news split screen event, with everyone siloed in their own professionally produced boxes. The movies are supposed to bring people together; in the pandemic year, they're deliberately keeping people apart. 

In the process, the Academy Awards may separate themselves from viewers as well: If ratings for other recent awards ceremonies are any guide, Sunday's broadcast could easily lose half its audience versus last year. 

Oscar viewership, of course, has been slowly declining for the better part of two decades. The last peak years were 1998 and 2004, when Titanic and Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won best picture, respectively. Whatever else you think of those movies—James Cameron's second-worst film and the third-best Lord of the Rings movie, respectively—they were huge, huge hits. 

This suggests a fairly obvious correlation: People tune into the ceremony when it's likely to honor movies they've seen. And, to reiterate my earlier point, no one—even consumers who claim to be interested in Hollywood's output—has even heard of the major nominees this year: According to the Guts + Data poll, just 18 percent of respondents were aware of Mank, this year's most nominated film. 

It's funny I should mention that movie, since it's about how Hollywood is smug, cynical, self-absorbed, and completely deluded about its own political relevance and purity. Of all the explanations for why the Oscars has failed to capture the public imagination in recent decades, this is the one that has received the most attention. 

And not without reason either. The films in contention have, by at least one count, become more political in recent years, and it's probably true that the discussion around those films has become more political, at least for the Extremely Online. Movies have become grist for the culture-war-take mill; I've ground out a few in my time. 

And then there are the speeches themselves, about which The New York Times recently had this to say: "Increasingly, the ceremonies are less about entertainment honors and more about progressive politics, which inevitably annoys those in the audience who disagree. One recent producer of the Oscars, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential metrics, said minute-by-minute post-show ratings analysis indicated that 'vast swaths' of people turned off their televisions when celebrities started to opine on politics."

Fair enough. People love to hate celebrity politics; at this point, hating celebrity politics may well be more popular than the Oscars.

But there is something else at work here too. The Oscars have always served—or at least aimed to serve—as a kind of institutional stamp of approval, a declaration, by united Hollywood decree, that this was the best movie, the best actress, the best elaborate Victorian ball gown (I'm sorry, the best costume), the most and loudest sound—and perhaps even the best sound as well. 

The definitiveness of these proclamations, handed down from on high by the mysterious people who make up the Academy, has always been an exaggeration, at best, and more accurately a Hollywood fiction foisted upon the world.

I don't mean to say that the awards and nominations never went to quality films, but frequently they went to awful or, worse, forgettable material. Green Book is a forgettable feel-good film. Crash, which won best picture in 2006, is no one's idea of a classic, unless you mean the 1996 David Cronenberg sex-and-auto-wrecks film that wasn't nominated. Without Googling, does anyone even remember what Lion, nominated for best picture just four years ago, was about? 

Too many Oscar nominees and winners are not only obviously not the year's best picture, they are obviously not the year's third-best picture, or even its seventeenth. Add to this the fact that the awards increasingly go to movies few have seen (or—and I must repeat myself—even heard of), and in recent years that fiction has begun to sag. In this pandemic year, in which major films that people might have heard of were largely delayed and theaters were mostly dark, it has collapsed entirely. 

The real problem with the Oscars, then, is not one the pandemic caused but one it revealed: The Academy pretended to know what was best, period. The whole idea was that it knew what was best for everyone. That was a pretense it could keep up when Hollywood was at least trying, on a regular basis, to make movies that had something like universal appeal, and weren't about superheroes—films, for example, like James Cameron's second-worst movie and the third-best Lord of the Rings film. Which, again, may not be great movies. But they were movies that practically everyone had heard of, that didn't feel like sermons, and that everyone—or an awful lot of people—could relate to, somehow or another. 

The third act complicator here is not so much politics, per se, but relevance. The Oscars are an institution, a kind of (privately held) public trust, and its success depends on providing some sort of value to ordinary people outside the bubble of diehards and professional moviemakers and viewers. To succeed, they must demonstrate some value, which means connecting with people who have a choice to tune out, to watch something else, to stream Disney+ or TikTok or chat on Clubhouse or Discord or record themselves killing 553 people with a fish in the video game Hitman 2. Netflix offers a homepage of personally tailored recommendations every day; the Oscars offer a handful of undifferentiated recommendations once a year. 

What this year's dismal awareness numbers suggest, then, is not only that Hollywood failed in an unusual year to market and P.R.-blitz viewers into some vague sense of what was up for the big awards, but that Hollywood has failed for years and years to supply enough value that potential viewers might seek out those films themselves. Political speeches that turn off viewers are merely an outgrowth of the underlying malady: the Academy Awards have become irrelevant. And the one thing a cultural institution cannot lose is its relevance. 

Movies are supposed to be a distraction from the turmoils of the world, a brief escape from the banality and difficulty of daily life. The whole point of the Oscars, and maybe the whole point of Hollywood, is to try to get people to pay attention—to the movies, to the celebrities, to the filmmakers, to the outfits, and even to the speeches and the causes. But this year, when a lot of people could really have used some form of escapism, they couldn't even do that. The institution failed.

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  1. “the pandemic has shown us the weaknesses of our cultural and political institutions.”

    Well maybe, but the pandemic certainly hasn’t reduced the narcissism.

    Blaming Covid for Hollywood’s problems is like blaming rust for destroying the Titanic.

    1. The awards have been in a tailspin for over a decade but they probably could’ve righted themselves if the ground hadn’t come up to meet them so suddenly.

      1. Damn ground. Doesn’t it know these are important people?

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      2. This has nothing to do with the virus. It has to do with Hollywood taking itself too seriously when they should be having a ‘lightbulb’ moment and stop their endless rhetoric or go back to waiting tables. Very simple. The choice is theirs. And while I’m on the topic let’s leave politics and opinions out of sports. How many times do the paying fans have to say ‘we’re not paying for opinion we are paying for professionalism.’ Geez!!! What Oscars. Who cares who won.

    2. Hollywood has always been full of narcissism, but the level of woke pandering reached epidemic proportions.

  2. Did? What’s with the past tense? I almost thought I clicked on an old article.

    I haven’t watched the majority of nominated films in over a decade. I think that has a lot more to do with the quality of movies than politics, but politics haven’t done Hollywood any favors lately.

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  3. I’m looking forward to the last movie stars selling their asses in Chinese action flicks to pay the mortgage on their mansions. Fuck ’em.

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  4. Almost no one has even heard of the movies up for Best Picture.

    What’s a “movie”?

    1. “For $1000, ‘Something I haven’t seen in over a year’.”

      /Trebek

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    2. It’s like a show, but it ends after the first episode.

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      1. Zen, it ends after the 1st line!! Especially with all the foul language.

  5. Streaming ruined the Oscars and the pandemic was an accomplice.

    That politics has become so thoroughly enmeshed in it hasn’t helped.

    It’ll be interesting to see how viewership for the NFL goes this fall. I suspect that political, self-inflicted wound hasn’t healed.

    1. What’s an NFL?

      1. It was a sportsball business that managed to piss off most of its customers by letting their pampered employees use their events for guilt-peddling.

        -jcr

      2. The NBA for shorter, less athletic people.

    2. Woke bullshit ruined the Oscar’s. And the actors self righteousness as well.

      1. To this day, I still sometimes find myself reaching for a “thumbs up” or “like” button on the Reason boards.

      2. WOKE BS has ruined the Oscars, NFL, NBA, late night comedy, and might ruin the MLB as well.

        I feel safe watching GOLF on Sat and Sun along with NASCAR.

        1. NBA was broken before it was woken.

          NHL is still pretty apolitical.

          1. The Chicago Blackhawks went woke.

            1. The Philadelphia Flyers, once the passion of firebrand owner Ed Snider, since his death left the organization just another property in the Comcast corporate portfolio, have gone corporate-woke, too. They halted playing the recording of Kate Smith singing “God Bless America” before games, and removed Ms. Smith’s statue from display outside their arena. This was in response to accusations that Ms. Smith sang two “racist” songs in the 1930s.
              https://heavy.com/news/2019/04/kate-smiths-racist-songs/

          2. They spread the pandering out a little more, but it’s there.

            Some butthurt writer at deadspin wrote a pathetic whine about the NHL failing to give the Chauvin verdict proper reverence. “Why did the NHL even bother?” It’s funny how silly this shit is getting.

  6. Only one of the eight I heard of was “Mank.” Watched it, too. Yawner. Usually try to netflix the nominees after they win Oscars and usually find them pretty dull and boring or even offensive (“Birdman” springs to mind).

  7. You mean people don’t want to watch an awards show by/for rich actors who hate the system that made them rich, spouting off on subjects they know nothing about?

    1. It is weird. In the 70s and 80s, everyone watched the awards shows because they never saw actors and actresses out of character. They wanted to hear them talk and see what they were like off camera. Now we know.

      1. Now we know that there is no such person as Meryl Streep anymore. She’s just an amalgamation of the various roles she’s played.

        1. her daughter was good in mr. robot

          1. Reminds me of another factor in (my own) disillusionment with Hollywood: The ridiculously high percentage of people making millions for being in movies who are related to people who made millions from being in movies (or producing, directing, etc).

            The most nepotistic business there is. Except maybe for being king, I guess.

            1. i didn’t know who she was and thought “looks like if Meryl Streep was hot” lol

            2. The ridiculously high percentage of people making millions for being in movies who are related to people who made millions from being in movies

              Kind of like how Elle King can get a recording contract based on her dad being Rob Schneider?

              1. Lena Dunham being shoved down our throats as a public intellectual, was the example I had in mind.

                I didn’t know that about Elle.

              2. X’s and O’s is one of my guilty pleasure songs, though.

                1. It’s the only song you need from her. Every other song of her’s that I have heard sounds pretty much the same.

  8. Yes. Didn’t have to read the article. Next question.

  9. By far the best moment in Oscars history is when Ricky Gervais spent the entire evening roasting everyone.

    1. That was the Golden Globes

      1. I know what I said.

        1. Nice.

  10. I liked ‘Mank’ when they did it 20 years ago as ‘RKO-281’

  11. The ‘Oscars’ were ruined so long ago that I can’t recall whether it was politics, arrogant and pretentious idealism or the nonsensical babble that did it.

  12. The Oscars, like the Pulitzer, the Hugo, and the Emmys has been taken over by those who look for the opportunity to change the minds of the public, giving awards to movies and books that no one will see or read, but should.
    No one cares except that small group, which include TV networks, so they will continue but with a vanishing audience.

    1. Now I’m laughing at the idea of a Sad Puppies takeover of the Oscars.

      Well done.

      1. Need to get that MHI movie made.

        1. People like Correia are the Monsters that Hollywood wants to hunt.

          Is MHI in Development Hell, or are they actually going to start shooting soon?

      2. Zackly. I was going to point out The Hugo and Nebula, as well as the most shameless of all, The Eisner Awards (for comic books), which are the most thoroughly divorced from quality of product, popularity and profitability of any of them.

        1. Exactly.

          I was thinking how the Eisners have gone the way of the Hugos and all the rest.

          1. i remember when the Hugo meant something. Maybe not gold, but solid iron. i bought stuff because it had won a hugo, and even used it as a crude barometer of what constituted good science fiction (there was a TINY window in which it actually sort of did that). Ithink it actually became steaming bullshit even before the oscars did.

  13. I’ve been trying to figure out what Suderman considers to be James Cameron’s worst movie. Is it Piranha II or Avatar – close call there.

    1. Avatar was fantastic on the big screen. You barely noticed the underlying indoctrination at all.

      1. I just learned there’s going to be four more of them, though I have no idea why.

        1. I’m gonna go with “money”.

          1. Actually, given that he’s spent all these years making a whole bunch of them, without let or hindrance on his spending, I think they should be renamed “When Shredder Met Money”.

            Did look good, though. Still, if you take the Pocahontas story and *trim it down*, makes for a bit of a 2 hour slog, pretty or not.

            1. Yeah, they did an animated version of that when I was a kid, and it was called Ferngully.

              Which was like someone made a Captain Planet movie but with mythical fairies and shit.

              1. Isn’t that essentially ‘An Inconvenient Truth’?

          2. Where’s the the sequel to titanic?

            1. You mean ‘Titanic 2, Electric Boogaloo’? Stick in development hell. Looking less likely now that Shabba Doo passed away in December. Joe Eszterhas was set to direct, but walked after Doo’s death.

              Now they’re looking at Lars von Trier to direct with Nick Swardson and Lena Dunham as leads.

              It will be a direct to VHS production.

        2. Because James Cameron does what James Cameron does. South Park

      2. It was better when it was called “Fern Gully”.

      3. You barely noticed the underlying indoctrination at all.

        Provided you were in a coma.

  14. The Oscars have always been “political” on some level. The problem is that over the last couple of decades they’ve doubled down with the overt politicism, particularly left-wing nonsense being spouted by people who lack education, morals, and standing.

  15. Yes. Starting back in the late 1980s, early 90s.

  16. I’m quite enamored with the searching openness of Nomadland

    I’m getting a sad-sad-clown-of-life vibe already.

    1. I’m getting a “lot of soulful acting”+plotlessness” vibe.

  17. Oh of course not the Oscars have been trash for a long time. You’re just seeing the politics more clearly because more actors are getting in on the neo marxist grift publicly. It was behind closed doors more in the past.

    Creators have always been leftie shits with commie tendencies. That isn’t such a problem when they yap at each other, but they’ve now infected whole swaths of the public with their bullshit ideology. Which is why more people are tuning out.

    1. Or people tune out because it never meant anything anyway. With so much content to watch who gives a flying fig what they think about movies? You could’ve just watched a movie you wanted to instead of watching the Oscars.

      And I guess it’s saying something that creators are only “leftie shits”. Are you saying conservatives suck at creating anything? Hmm.

      1. “With so much content to watch who gives a flying fig what they think about movies?”

        No just so much, but so much better.

        And it really doesn’t matter what any one person’s opinion is. That’s the part where the ‘so much’ inevitably equates to better. Because whatever your tastes there is probably something else closer to what you like.

        As opposed to a generation or more ago, when you pretty much watched the Oscars because there wasn’t anything else on in that time slot that you hadn’t already seen.

      2. “And I guess it’s saying something that creators are only “leftie shits”. Are you saying conservatives suck at creating anything? Hmm.”

        More like, self-fulfilling prophecy. The creative types, likely to make movies like this, are also the type most likely to think with their emotions, overestimate their importance, and try to push their bullshit on others.

        1. They are apparently the type more likely to engage in self congratulatory bullshit and navel gazing as well.

          Eh, Peter?

          1. Oh, almost forgot to include epistemic closure in that list.

            Eh, Jeff?

      3. “Are you saying conservatives suck at creating anything? Hmm.

        Lefties can’t meme, so there’s that.

        They’re not that great at procreating either. They tend to like to stick it in the wrong hole. The only way they can really multiply is to infest schools lay their eggs in kids brains there.

        1. I’m using that one. Nice.

      4. i guess maybe this is sarcasm, and my meter’s broken?

    2. What South American sage (Bolano? Borges?) said:
      “Our artists are always communists in their souls, but never in their wallets.”?

  18. Both Promising Young Woman and Mank are stylish and pointed.

    I thought Mank was a good movie.

    But:

    But even as the Nazis were aware of them, most did not telegraph their Jewish identity, especially as the Hollywood blacklist — spurred on by the anti-communist sentiment of people like Sen. Joe McCarthy and FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover — grew in influence in the 1940s and 50s.

    I’m always skeptical of any Hollywood-on-Hollywood treatment of this era because most of what not only Hollywood tells you, but what you learned in school is either very slanted or an outright lie.

    1. Hollywood has exhibited as much anguish over the disruption by HUAC of a few screenwriters’ careers as it has over the actual Holocaust. Maybe because Hollywood screenwriters find it such fertile territory?

      They’ll rip LA, stage theater, and the music industry; they’ll parodize the art world and television…but the movie business? Not so much.

      Though to be fair, if there were a dozen or a hundred such movies, I might have remained unaware of them due to apathy.

  19. Yes. The final nail in the coffin was when crash won best picture

    1. Team America World Police should have won.

      The best thing about that movie is that if they remade it today the only thing they would have to change is Kim jong Un instead of his old man. The rest is the same. Film Actors Guild, indeed! (Did ML give the ok for that acronym?)

      Haha. Pussies, dicks and assholes. Best. Metaphor. Ever.

  20. >>But this is the biggest event on the Hollywood awards calendar, the biggest night of the year for Tinseltown.

    a) nobody cares about the awards calendar, and b) nobody cares about the people who are Tinseltown. it’s a different world now and the oscars dying is a good thing.

    1. It’s a different world and a lot of older forms of entertainment are largely heading for the glue factory. They probably will not totally disappear, but they will certainly cease to be so culturally dominant.

      1. they killed all the grandmas last year so that’s what, 80% of the awards show audiences?

        1. With the other 20 percent being gay men, and the fag hags who somewhat pine for them.

          1. “…and the fag hags who appreciate someone fitter, better dressed and smarter than they are, but whom they don’t have to hate because they’re other women.”

            1. errr…”who”, not “whom”?

              1. “Whom” was right. Direct object of “hate.”

        2. Last night the wife and I are out for dinner. The TV in the bar is showing an ad for a Time-Life complete anthology of Hee-Haw.

          Now there is a niche market getting even more niche.

          The sad part is they hosted a tremendous amount of top notch talent over the years, but who is going to shell out and sit through all the fluff to find the occasional gems.

          1. i still have my Freedom Rock CDs

            1. LOL. I had totally forgotten that until you mentioned it!

            2. Did you turn them up?

              A collection of just the musical performances on Hee-Haw would be great. As it should be, if you’re going to try and hang with Buck Owens and Roy Clark.

              1. one disk was better than the other – had White Rabbit and Ramblin’ Man … easily 25 years since I’ve spun one but still have them

  21. No.
    Piss poor movies ruined the movies, and no one cares about awards for piss poor movies.
    Long before “politics” had their shot.

  22. Celebs are people to look at, not people to listen to. I couldn’t care less who they give these awards to. All I hope for in the entertainment world is that someone seizes the market opportunity to offer films that don’t suck.

    -jcr

    1. I’ll listen even if I do not agree. So long as they are entertaining. The current crop seems to have mostly forgotten what that means. Being grating and self congratulating is not entertaining.

    2. But, who doesn’t want to listen to the thoughts of people whose entire job is to say what other people tell them to?

  23. when actors tell their audience they are crap but watch my movie, people tend to tune out.

    1. It’s worked that way for sports so far.

      1. It’s why the NBA has gone all in for China – that’s where their real market is.

        They only care about the US market for the sake of appearances – It’s a like the restaurant that is actually a money laundering front – they still need people to come sit in the seats so it doesn’t look weird

        1. Length of time before the NBA says to hell with travel issues, and moves a couple of franchises to China? I can’t imagine it will be very long, if gates/ratings to continue to be lower than pre-WuFlu expectations.

          I’ve said it before, but it still amazes me when I think about it, that I’m boggled at how little I truly care about sports anymore. And I used to listen to sportstalk, participate on team social media, argue with people about X transaction or Y strategy.

          Now? It doesn’t exist for me. And it’s weird feeling.

          1. I’ve never been a big pro sports fan. Intermittent/occasional at best.

            College football is the only one that I’ve been remotely passionate about (Being alumnus of an SEC school will do that to you.) But even that has lost a tremendous amount of luster.

          2. 50 f’ing years. I went back and found the box score for a 49ers@Packers game in 1958 that I listened to on a road trip with my Dad, that marked my first rooting interest in the NFL (“But Dad, when the 49ers do good, nobody cheers for them! It’s not fair!”)

            Like you, sports talk, fantasy leagues, Sundays RESERVED for hours of football, all despite the awful commercialism and rapacious tax-theft of the owners. Add in the repulsive Goodell and pandering to mindless “activism” and I’m done.

            Now all gone. Doesn’t even feel that weird, surprisingly.

            1. I watched a few minutes of a game last year. The quarterback tried to throw under pressure and it was tipped. It tumbled right into a lone defensive back’s hands, he went 2 to 3 yards and was tackled. The entire defensive unit ran into the end zone and started mugging for the cameras, dancing, and acting as if they had just sacked Brady for a loss. It was pitiful.
              I watched Walter Payton play for 12 years or so. Every week, he delivered amazing rushes, shrugged off and spun around defenders and dove over defenders into the end zone. He then politely handed the ball to a ref and jogged to the sidelines.
              I can’t watch modern football. It is all an overdone halftime show to me.

          3. Totally agree Jay. I used to live for sports especially baseball and football now they are all dead to me.

            I stuck around for a while due to the gambling bug, but found since I wasn’t following the bullshit anymore, my bankroll was suffering.

            Now I have more time, money, & don’t have to listen to their preaching. 3 birds with one stone.

  24. We watched ‘Nomadland’ because we are big fans of Frances McDormand. It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t that good either.

  25. I was trying to think of the last time I watched the Oscars and then I realized I’ve never watched the Oscars. It’s all just self-congratulatory bullshit about as meaningful as Pepsi winning the Pepsi Presents The Pepsi of the Year Award, Brought To You By Pepsi.

    1. “about as meaningful as Pepsi winning the Pepsi Presents The Pepsi of the Year Award, Brought To You By Pepsi.”

      Well, to be sure. But you are missing out on all the suspense.

    2. Yeah, I’ve never been able to figure out why anyone would watch it. Maybe an excuse to get drunk on a Sunday night?

    3. I suppose you haven’t even hate-watched the You Tube extravaganza “You Tube Presents the Freedom Forum’s Freedom of Speech Award Sponsored by You Tube…and the winner is SUSAN WOJCICKI, CEO OF YOU TUBE!!”

      They got a blind female YouTuber to present the award and perform the fawning, presumably to head of criticism, but I am not so easily deterred.

      When I saw it, it had 96 likes, to 26…THOUSAND dislikes.

  26. Best Picture winners in the last 10 years include a movie about having sex with a fish, a silent movie 5 outside of the Academy saw, and for reasons I will never totally understand, Argo. I would say the Oscars were already ruined.

    1. > Best Picture winners in the last 10 years include a movie about having sex with a fish

      I have to admit that I did not expect Disney to go that route with the live action “Little Mermaid” remake.

      1. If the Mermaid looked like Rihanna, I’d chance it.

    2. They saw there were problems, and took steps to address them.

      With diversity.

      I can’t, as the kids say, even.

    3. Say what you will about Argo as a prestige movie, but it was at least entertaining, and a lot of people saw it. That should be far more important to the results than it’s been.

  27. If you want your culture reflected in art, become artists and do it. Stop whining. I’ve had it up to here with all your fucking whining.

    I’m sorry that the best your culture can muster is the Left Behind series or that… interesting adaptation of Atlas Shrugged. It’s not easy, making movies.

    1. If you don’t like all the whining, make your own comment section.

    2. Whose culture?

      1. Whatever culture is being told it is aggrieved because other cultures dare to be visible on their movie screens?

        1. Haha. Aggrieved?

          “Fuck off, pretentious bitches” is hardly a grievance. And being offended that people tune out virtue signaling douchebags is just lame.

          Enjoy the oscars! Haha.

        2. Tony, you’ve been holding out on us! Tell us the movies you’ve made, the books you’ve written, the hit songs you’ve composed. i have just naively assumed you were the commissariat’s pet hare-lipped retarded monkey, and now i realize you are a screen-writer, author, composer, philosopher king. i just thought you were slinging shit through your cage bars, and wondering when someone was going to put rat poison in your Monkey Chow (we wouldn’t, because we love you so much). i never realized you were something of a renaissance monkey. My bad.

    3. It’s not easy, making movies.

      Made harder when the storyline has to conform to a certain woke notion. It’s not that I want my culture reflected in art, it’s more that it is so tiring to see the forced narrative inserted into every storyline with a total lack of nuance. I hate a bad script, it’s worse when the script is explained as it goes, as if without the explanation the scene won’t convey the narrative on its own.
      No one is whining. More like we are bored with being told how awful and uncaring the world is for everyone. Again and again.

      1. You can’t find something to watch?

        1. Read it again, dipshit.

    4. Oh, grow up. “Your culture?” I’ve never suffered through either of those two abominations of a movie. No one here is insisting that movies be about libertarian or Christianity (and I’m sure a large number of us here who are not leftists are also not Christians, myself included, you stereotyping twit).

      Maybe, though, we’re sick of the the preachiness from wealthy people who are unwittingly caving to Marxist ideals in the midst of the one of the most capitalist institutions there is. We weary of the one-dimensional mockery of religious people or conservatives or bankers or white males. (All villains now fall in these categories. In Knives Out, the villain was obvious from the beginning. Oh! A twist! The republican who looked like the good guy is really the bad guy. What a fucking surprise.)

      When all this religious-like woke fervor finds its way into movies, it results in tedious crap.

      “My culture” is movies that move me, that entertain me, that aren’t embroiled with smug, predictable politic or raw propaganda. Hollywood’s given up on that, for the most part. The last movie I thoroughly enjoyed was something from New Zealand, not Hollywood. They also haven’t made a comedy in years that was actually funny–because zealots have no sense of humor.

      Screw Hollywood. I hope all those rich assholes go flat broke.

      1. You can’t find something to watch? We have the internet.

    5. Tony can’t even be bothered to understand the point you are making before telling you you are wrong.

      Keep whacking that strawman asshole.

      1. Pretty sure I saw Whack that Strawman Asshole open for Black Flag sometime in the 80’s.

      2. Haha. Was just watching an old family guy episode where the rodent quagmire had up his ass is named tony.

        Now that’s entertainment!

  28. Anti-White liberals and respectable conservatives that support massive third-world immigration and FORCED assimilation for EVERY White country and ONLY White countries say that they are anti-racist, but their criminal policies will lead to a world with no White people i.e White Genocide. Anti-racist is a code word for anti-White.

    1. No one cares about your bigotspam.

    2. boring is a code word for you.

    3. It’s the Jooze, right, asshole?

  29. “Without Googling, does anyone even remember what Lion, nominated for best picture just four years ago, was about?”

    Sure, it was a mystery solved with Google Earth. (Actually, a good movie, too.)

    I’ve seen one movie, “Promising Young Woman” in the theater last weekend, and another “Sound of Metal” streaming. I liked the second a lot better. Of nominees in other categories, I’ve seen Borat 2, Da 5 Bloods, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and that’s it, except for the beginning of Nomadland.

  30. In the last 10 or 15 years, with notable exceptions, movies have become increasingly dark, forbidding and political. The “artistic” mode in Hollywood is all about showing us the worst of the human condition, the stark harshness of life and the inevitability of misery. Fun, light hearted movies are now washed down with gratuitous sex, drug use and a broad array of stupid people doing stupid things. There are no “family movies” anymore. They are sneered at by the Hollywood insiders. I would think the money people would look at movies like The Lion King, all of Spielberg’s early movies and any Pixar film and realize that people crave something fun, uplifting and hopeful. But Hollywood continues to serve up morbid and depressing with a side of hopelessness.

    1. My sentiments exactly.
      Did we really need to see the Archies as despondent, angst riddled teens plagued by the dark troubles of Riverdale?
      What about poor Mr. Weatherby?

  31. I went through the list, and the only movies I’d seen are the two Pixar movies up for best animated feature (and Soul for best score as well).

    As a side rant, I hate the adapted screenplay award. It never takes into account the source material. It’s relatively easy to make a movie out of a lot of books or TV shows, and I don’t see how Borat even qualifies. You want something good? How about Sonic the Hedgehog, which was expected to be a dumpster fire and had everything against it (cheesy children’s movie, video game adaptation, very bad recent history, and overcomplicated backstory), yet turned out to be a touching but completely different story that viewers loved.

  32. Every writer at Reason seems to have “editor” in their title. Does that mean articles are not edited except by the author? This article really needs an editor’s attention.

  33. Betteridge’s law of headlines is an adage that states: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”

    In this case, though…Yes, politics ruined the Oscars and all other award shows.

    1. Usually they avoid that conundrum with headlines that start with “No,” as in “No, X does not mean (whatever). They’re much more sure of what things aren’t than what they are.

  34. No, the entertainment ruined the actors.

  35. No, the entertainment ruined the Oscars.

  36. I am personally tired of being lectured by people who are clearly both poorly educated and morally retarded.
    I really like cinema. I have at least seen most of the film mentioned. I think films and other forms of storytelling are fairly important to us as a culture, and don’t resent the fact that the people who make them tend to get very well paid.
    Actors in particular seem to posses a great deal of specialized knowledge about things like skin and hair care and enunciation. Some of them know more than the average person knows about things like stage lighting and scene blocking.
    It is a human weakness to assume that having fame or money somehow makes one’s opinion on political, scientific, or economic issues more valid than any other high school dropout, which many of them are.
    If they keep to what they know how to do, it would be a big improvement.

  37. In college I took nine hours of cinematic history as an elective. I was the movie critic for the campus paper. I reveled in going to the movies and watching them before they were out to the public. I studied the camera angles, framing, set design, costumes and makeup. I had favorite actors I enjoyed, some of whom I still enjoy. It wasn’t until the mid 90’s that the strident voices of actors overrode the glory of the imaginary world of movies. The ttime I watched the Oscars was to see if the beautifully hand illustrated “Loving Vincent” could overcome the corporate virtue signaling of Disney’s bland and repetitive “Coco.” Of course the Disney product one. This time around choices will be made on aspects other than performance. I suspect gender and race will be the guiding stars of the Academy this year and for years to come. But if an award is given in a vacuum and nobody watches-will it still matter?

  38. In 2019 the movie Parasite won the best picture award at the Oscars, picked up the Palme d’Or at Cannes (their highest award) and the highest award from the Korean film makers’ association.

    It is explicitly a political allegory and was a tremendous success at the box office in Korea, the US and other countries. So successful that a spinoff TV series is in the works and there are now organized tours in Seoul of the movie’s poverty infested locations.

  39. FUuck the Oscars – I can always find something to do better than watching a bunch of out-of-touch, pedantic, narcissistic assholes perform a circle jerk.

    1. “FUuck the Oscars ”

      I can do better. How about FUuck Miss Universe? The reigning champ is a female woman of the African persuasion from South Africa, so if that is disturbing, you can continue boning Oscar.

  40. Some people act like the oscars are handed down by Olympian gods. They’re all industry insiders handing them out. They used to be vote on who they knew, or who they disliked or liked, who was the sentimental favorite or what studio the worked for.
    As far as I can see most of the movies being made today are Superhero comic book stuff, but the nominees are for fru-fru movies no one ever sees or politically correct reasons.
    I think it was Dick Clark who indicated that they produced so many award shows because they could get celebrities for free and that produced ratings. Nowadays who pays attention to who’s a celebrity?

    1. Well, to be fair, the olympian gods were a pretty scummy bunch, weren’t they? Bestiality, incest, capricious and vengeful, exactly the way that hollywood types behave.

      -jcr

  41. It’s funny how the only Oscar nominations and awards that can even be taken halfway seriously anymore are for the things that used to be ignored at the ceremony, like special effects, sound design, and costuming.

  42. If Hollywood in its entirety were to somehow disappear later today, CA and the world would be a measurably better place.

  43. The Oscars first lost relevance and then lost viewers. The political speeches have always been there – remember when Brando sent an Indian woman to pick up his award and scold us about… something? It was so long ago, I honestly can’t remember.
    George C. Scott refused his Oscar for Patton calling the show a “two-hour meat parade.” Sean Penn can’t show up to a Denny’s without lecturing someone about something. Sadly, those were anomalies that have become the norm. Everyone has to be more outrageous than the person before them. Invariably, the brunt of all this manufactured outrage falls on conservatives alienating half the potential audience. Add to that de facto quotas for ‘minority representation’ in all categories (regardless of actual quality of performance) and other ‘woke’ policies and it is more of a critical race theory training session than an awards show and who would voluntarily go to one of those?

  44. Turner Classic Movies.

  45. What was there to ruin? I’m 60 years old, and I can’t recall a time when the Oscars (and all entertainment industry awards programs) were anything other than vacuous, self-indulgent crap. But now, at least Ricky Gervais’ I-just-don’t-care skewering of self-important assholes is pretty entertaining. But you can just watch the distillation videos of that on YouTube without wasting time listening to all of celebrities spout their empty-headed bullshit.

  46. As a kid I realized something was wrong with the Oscars when “Star Wars” didn’t win.

  47. It’s a hard no. It has been an annoying journey for the last few years when good comedians (Chris Rock, Anne Hathaway) get destroyed by the media, the speeches start getting into idiot philosophy. I have always watched and this year is a hard no, Grammys, Oscars, Emmys. I think I will speak for the former viewers when I say “F&^%^ off Hollywood.”

  48. Either the Oscars don’t matter, and so people projecting their own politics onto it are being petty and stupid, or they do matter, and so they will inevitably be political.

    That there’s an Oscars controversy every year surely doesn’t make the producers of the Oscars all that upset. Better than being irrelevant.

  49. Toriah Lachell and Jayson Tatum dated from August 2014 to June 2017. Toriah Lachell is an American cosmetologist who is remarkable for being the ex-assistant of Jayson Christopher Tatum. Jayson Tatum is an American master b-competitor who plays as a power forward for the American master b-ball bunch, the Boston Celtics in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
    She started dating Jayson while he went to Duke. Doubtlessly he and Toriah remained together until the early extensive stretches of 2017 at this point finally took off an alternate way.

  50. No, project “Demonize White People” has ruined the movie business period, not to mention the Oscars. Don’t forget the majority of the audience is still white, as much as the wokesters wish it wasn’t.

    1. Science Fiction’s Hugo Awards should also greatly displease you. Recently some non-white people have won.

    2. There are few mental images more entertaining than the common Trump voting redneck pouting in his La-z-boy about how his Oscar party is ruined by all the wokeness. And you made canapes!

      1. “And you made canapes”

        Uh, opening a six-pack and a bag of chips is not canapes.
        And rednecks, including those who voted for Trump, ain’t watched the Oscars in decades. Our “oscar” party is sitting around watch a John Wayne western.

        1. Keep this in mind, Tony; Trump is eligible to run for congress from Florida in 2022.
          Remote possibility he could be made speaker (just for the hell of it, normal seniority not withstanding), and lead an impeachment of basement bunker Biden. Followed by an impeachment of Kween Kamala.
          And think of a DeSantis/Trump ticket in 2024.

  51. The Oscars were relevant back in the day when movie stars could capture the imagination of ordinary people and social media didn’t take the mystery and intrigue out of everything in life.

    Now, some complete rando can be a celebrity in Youtube and things routinely go viral. You’re just not going to be all that interested in celebrity gossip, fashion or relationship because you no longer have to wait for late night talk shows and award shows to see celebs in action. They’re everywhere.

    And Hollywood hasn’t developed a generational star that steals the hearts of young girls and boys. Hollywood is still milking Tom Cruise, and he’s like 70 now. They used to groom stars in the olden days. They don’t do that now. They don’t actually make movies per se, they just make amusement park rides set to the most basic plot. The actors are just incidental.

  52. Answer…see ratings.

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  55. Nothing wrong with the 2021 Oscar awards.. watched all the films.. I don’t think there was politics.. https://cinelist.in/

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