Oscar Post-Mortem

I’m a little surprised at how little commentary there is on last night’s Oscar show on the blogs I usually check in the morning. Like, none. I’m not the best person to comment on the show, since I only saw around 20% of it–my daughters watched it, but they were more interested in dresses than politics–and I didn’t see any of the Best Picture nominees.
I did, however, happen to catch George Clooney’s little oration on what a fine thing it is that Hollywood is out of touch with America. This, he said, is because Hollywood is so noble; he harkened back to the era when Hollywood was cranking out pro-civil rights movies before America was ready for them. Only, no such thing happened. If Hollywood had been making anti-segregation movies in the 1930s, when they really would have been out of step with a significant portion of the American public, Clooney might have something to talk about. But it wasn’t. The civil rights movies, like To Kill A Mockingbird, came later, after a broad consensus had emerged among the American people, and, thus, among filmgoers. And they continue to this day, when being pro-civil rights, far from being controversial, is practically mandatory.
The truth is that the movie industry has always had a herd mentality. Given the nature of the medium, this isn’t surprising. Film is a collaborative art; many people and lots off money are required to make a movie. So it is fruitless for filmmakers to imagine themselves as artistes, living in garrets and producing unique works of genius that are out of step with the mores of the time.
In any event, the civil rights analogy avails Clooney and his contemporary liberals nothing. The movie for which Clooney received an award, Syrianna, isn’t out of touch with America because it is morally superior; it is out of touch because it is mind-numbingly dumb. A film that takes the position that suicide bombers are good, America is controlled by corrupt oilmen, and the United States is the force that stands in the way of Middle Eastern democracy, isn’t just out of touch with America. It’s out of touch with reality. Which probably explains, at least in part, why it was a dud.
My only other observation is that I thought it was good that they got away from the custom of using a comedian for the master of ceremonies.

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