For years, I have been pointing out that the movies are undergoing a phenomenon that occurs to all moribund art forms: they are separating into content appreciated by intellectuals and content that people like. Art forms go through life cycles, are born, thrive and die just like everything that comes from the hand of mortal man. Sometimes, an art form will have a second flowering, other times it is replaced by a new technology that renders it somehow obsolete. But in any case, at its peak, an art form’s best work and its most popular work are often one and the same. Michelangelo, Shakespeare and Charles Dickens thrived with both the public and the critics when their art forms were in the flush of health. Willem de Kooning, Beckett and James Joyce were admired by the elite but not the people.
Movies at their height (1939) produced a list of Oscar nominations that included Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Stagecoach, every one both a box office hit and a critic’s darling, not to mention an enduring classic. Not one of the nominees for 2017 made the B.O. top ten and the winner, Moonlight, was a slice of life so slim it was barely visible.
In recognition of their dying state, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced it will now add a new award for Best Popular Movie. That’s right. In the desperate hope of saving an award show that has devolved into stultifying irrelevance interspersed with alienating leftist screeds, the Oscars have decided to stoop to celebrating movies people actually watch.
Since I doubt this rearguard action will do much to reverse the decline of the Academy Awards or the movies, I’d like to suggest some other new awards that will at least underscore the state of the industry.
Best Intersectional Crapfest No One Saw but Which Displays Our Virtue. This should be awarded to the sequel, Moonlight 2: This Time, The Black Gay Guy is Crippled!
Best Attempt to Normalize Sexual Deviancy. And the winner is: Never Say Neverland, in which convicted pedophile Victor Salva directs Kevin Spacey playing Michael Jackson playing Roman Polanski directing Charlie Sheen playing Harvey Weinstein hiring Victor Salva to direct Kevin Spacey as Michael Jackson.
Best Performance by a White Man That Was Overlooked in Order to Give an Award to a Black Man who Didn’t Entirely Deserve It. This award could be given in honor of Will Smith to celebrate his performance in Concussion after someone sees Concussion and finds out whether his performance was any good or not and then celebrates it anyway just to stop his wife’s complaining about make-believe racism.
Best Actress in a Performance as a Woman Who Had No Moral Agency When She Decided to Sleep with a Sleazy Producer to Get the Part That Made Her Career. The list of nominees is endless.
With awards like these in place, I think we can all look forward to the next Oscar ceremony as a moving tribute to an art form people used to give a damn about.
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