I have been a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences since 1983. This year, for the first time, I did not vote in the Oscars.
Actually, I forgot — this despite non-stop email reminders from the Academy, including one three hours before Tuesday’s deadline, that I had only such-and-such time left to register my preferences. (The Academy does everything online now; you vote via a password.)
But, as all of us “neo-Freudians” know, you forget what you want to forget. So I have to admit the truth. I’m fed up with the Oscars and everything they represent. The sight of red carpets, particularly celebrities mouthing off on red carpets, makes me nauseated. It also make me nauseated to see them mouthing off with gold statues in their hands, maybe to the point of having to run to the loo. I guess I have a low tolerance for sanctimony.
And then there’s the #metoo movement, about which I have rather mixed feelings, that undoubtedly will dominate this year’s event. Like any normal human being I think the likes of Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey belong in jail, hopefully for a long time. But all this posturing from women who have suddenly discovered what’s going on between the sexes (gay and straight) in Hollywood is yet another cause for la nausée.
The casting couch has been in existence since the silent era. Either these women somehow had lobotomies when they first got off a plane at LAX or, one way or another, they made their peace for most of their careers with this uncomfortable reality that has been known to practically everybody for decades. I’m perfectly happy it seems to be finally coming to an end, but self-satisfied women swanning around in strategically revealing black evening gowns is not a form of political protest I find particularly impressive.
And then, of course, there’s the traditional Trump-bashing, a ritual among Hollywood folk that could well continue for decades after the president passes away, providing a time-honored interlude during the annual Oscar ceremony, perhaps just before they award the best documentary short.
Finally, of course, are the movies themselves. To say they are not up to the glory days of Lawrence of Arabia or Godfathers I & II is to state the obvious, but really the problem is the zeitgeist.
We are in a time when award ceremonies are, to put mildly, inappropriate. It’s not just the Oscars. It’s all of them. Enough of prizes for a while. Time to take a timeout.
Think I’m being excessive? I’ll take it a little further. When prizes are being presented, I almost automatically smell a rat of some sort. Someone’s trying to sell somebody something or winning something they didn’t deserve. Case in point is the Nobel Peace Prize followed by the Nobel Prize for Literature. And, to further prove my point, here’s today’s Washington Times, Rowan Scarborough reporting::
One of them was a Feb. 14, 2017 story headlined, “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts with Russian Intelligence.”
Written by Michael S. Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo, the lead said:
“Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.”
Four months after the NYT wrote this “award-winning” story, Senator Tom Cotton had the following interchange with Director Comey at a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence:
COTTON: On February 14th, the New York Times published a story, the headline of which was, “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence.”
You were asked earlier if that was an inaccurate story, and you said, in the main. Would it be fair to characterize that story as almost entirely wrong?
Maybe they should rename it the Polk Hooey Award or the Poke Holes Award. Anyway, it’s not as big a deal as the Oscars. Truth to tell, I may vote for that again in some future year. But for now the nausea is too much, not to mention the extraordinary numbers of homeless proliferating in the neighborhood of the Dolby Theatre where the Academy Awards are given out. No doubt they will be pushed out for awards night Sunday. I haven’t heard the Academy mention anything about it, but it’s an escalating blight on this city of proportions never before seen, beyond any of the fires or the earthquakes. Lalaland is no more.
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His latest book is I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already. He tweets @rogerlsimon.