Since we’re living through a time of extreme self-censorship, forced conformity of thought and opinion and hive minded film coverage, there are few places to go to actually get any real conversations about what is happening culturally in this country. Because of that, when Bill Maher says something about the Oscars it will get noticed. No one is going to read yet another piece about the movies that sounds like every other piece about the movies. Human nature will always dictate that the arc of interest bends towards finding the truth about things. Whether it’s digging through hidden porn magazines, or trying drugs or asking questions about the meaning of life – the human brain wants to know.
The problem with this year’s Oscar slate is that it very much depicts 2020 and not so much 2021. Things have changed in the few short months Biden has been in office and Trump has been evacuated off social media. It has changed dramatically. It is sort of like when the cops are wrestling Clarence the angel to the ground in It’s a Wonderful Life and suddenly he disappears and they are fighting air?
In 2020, there was pain. A lot of pain. There was COVID, there were protests, there was what seemed like a soft civil war and rising soft totalitarianism on the left in terms of dictating speech and thought and opinions. But the country has changed. The Oscars were delayed so long that they don’t reflect this year so much as last year. Usually by the end of February the whole thing is over with. But Oscar voting HASN’T EVEN STARTED YET.
We’ve often written about how the Oscars are too carefully controlled and cultivated as hot house flowers by people like me, and how we have to broaden and expand what can be defined as an “Oscar movie.” We need to stop thinking FOR the voters by making them forced to pick only the films the critics like. And as to Maher’s main complaints about “woke” Oscars – well, look at it this way: the actors dominate the Academy. The actors, more than any other group, care about their image at a time when one tweet or one instagram post or one casting mistake can land you in exile. You will be a “baddie” and not a “goodie.” Everyone in Hollywood, but especially the actors, live in fear of this. They live in fear of constant shaming on social media. Take it from someone who knows, it isn’t a walk in the park.
There is also a strong movement towards inclusivity that we’ve written about a lot. Nomadland is dominating because Chloe Zhao’s strength as a filmmaker was, to the film community, ignored when she made The Rider – because women are often locked out of being seen as “wunderkinds” where men aren’t. There was a desire to push films by women into the race after last year where no woman was nominated in Best Director.
I personally don’t think it’s fair to see the movies as being at fault. I think all 8 of the Best Picture nominees are very good, even great films. But I do think that the broader public are starting to notice how the “woke” religion is strangling the life out of free expression, the right to like what you like without being shamed for it, and controlling what people MUST like is a dead end.
The Oscars need to be shaken up. But so does the Left overall, in my opinion. We need people to be strong enough and brave enough to stare down Twitter and start thinking for and speaking for themselves again.
Just my thoughts. Not the reflection of those who work with me.
Here is Bill Maher.
[Don’t watch this unless you want Maher to ruin the endings of Minari and Promising Young Woman for you.]