“If you fear I’m going to make a speech about what we’ve all been going through in politics the last few weeks, my three-word speech is ‘don’t start me!‘ Don’t worry, I’ve got some notes here as I [may] get thrown a curve by myself.” So began Warren Beatty‘s acceptance speech at last night’s Kirk Douglas Award ceremony at the Bacara Resort in Goleta. You know what? We’ve all sat through a thousand award ceremonies, and we all know the drill. And I suspect we’d all like to see something different or even electrifying happen at one of these things, just once.
I for one wish Beatty had thrown caution to the winds and stood up like Jay Bulworth and let rip about the coming Trump catastrophe. This is a longtime tax-and-spend liberal who’s been around since the JFK era and who knows (or has known) almost every big-time politician of consequence in the country, and has been entwined in the American political realm for 50-odd years, and in this, one of the most catastrophic moments in the nation’s history, he decides that it wouldn’t be appropriate to vent some of his concerns, at least for a minute or two?
Beatty could have said anything he damn well pleased and the crowd would have lapped it up and Kris Tapley and Scott Feinberg would have relayed his remarks to the world, and yet he chose to rely on the old gracious-and-humble-and-very-moved routine that a thousand previous award recipients have defaulted to. What does he have to be cautious about? Nothing. But he went marshmallow all the same.
I know who Beatty is and what he feels, but he won’t blurt it out when the mike is on. The man has become brilliant at stepping up to the plate and saying as little as possible at such occasions. I wasn’t there but I was obviously sent the video, and I found his remarks boring as shit.
The last time Beatty gave a half-political speech was back in the immediate post-Bulworth era, sometime in late ’99 when he was said to be flirting with possibly running for president in a kind of Bernie Sanders-like, move-the-conversation-leftward sense, but he backed off from that wisp of a notion also.
Thanks again to Santa Barbara Film Festival director Roger Durling for inviting me to last night’s event, and my apologies again for not attending but I just couldn’t do it.