From a 4.27 Paul Schrader conversation-starter on Facebook: “While progressives and liberals hailed the diverse Academy Awards as an accomplishment, I think many (most?) Americans saw it as an assault on the role of Hollywood in American culture. Can the Oscars ever regain their position as an arbiter of mainstream entertainment?”
Tim Appelo: “Maybe there is no mainstream America henceforth — in movies, TV, music, art, politics, tech has fragmented us into the Formerly United States.
Patrick Stoner: “That is prescient. In spite of the usual political spin, for those of us who have spent a lifetime covering the business, there is no mystery as to why the Oscars have had declining universal appeal (this non-event pandemic year of awards is just an asterisk): As viewing habits have increasingly altered over the past 10 years (with an explosive speedup in the last couple), we no longer are bound to all see at least one of the films nominated. In the past we would share a Godfather, an Argo, etc. but we’ve split into mostly streaming our personal preferences over films we hear we must get out to see. Forget politics. You’re right. It’s tech.”
Shawn Levy: I have no idea what mainstream entertainment is or where it can be found. I suspect NO ONE does. American culture is completely Balkanized and the shape of the Oscars in recent years reflects that. I think I prefer marginal/woke Oscar to popular/middlebrow Oscar, but the imp of the perverse is strong with me…”
Barry Isaacson: The writing has been on the wall for at least ten years now. It’s not about “wokeness” or the movement for social justice, that’s just filling a vacuum created by the complete corporatisation of studio film production. The ascendancy of marketing over production, followed by the age of data and corporatisation, has demoted film, especially theatrical cinema, to its lowest ever place in American culture. It’s tragic.
“[But at least] I feel fortunate to have been part of the last generation of studio executives to have worked for the old order of studio management. It definitely wasn’t perfect and Money often overruled Art but it was better than what we have now. Blaming the recent Academy Awards on the ‘woke’ cultural moment vs. the corporate assimilation of the studios is misleading.”
Incidentally: The accent of The Critical Drinker is Scottish…right?