If you’ve ever read any of Scott Feinberg‘s “Brutally Honest Oscar Voter” columns, you know that a lot of Academy members are, to put it gently, stubbornly resistant to what could be described as present-tense, finger-to-the-wind, representational snowflake currents.
If you wanted to be dismissive you could call them woke-indifferent, under-the-radar scowlers. As in unenlightened, incurious, living in their own foxholes, “I miss the ’70s”, somewhat resentful, “I’m from Missouri,” “everything sucks,” etc.
They’re not lacking in talent or intelligence or love for movie lore, these people, but they do seem irked by the social justice warrior syndrome…to processing all the contenders with a carefully calibrated woke filter. They like what they like and respect what they respect, but they sometimes vote for films that the wokesters despise (i.e., Green Book) and thank God in heaven for that.
God Herself howled in triumph, trust me, on the night that Green Book won and Spike Lee turned his back. And She beamed with delight when Get Out was blown off.
There are, of course, many other Academy members who see things differently. Particularly the newly added internationals who voted overwhelmingly for Parasite + the New Academy Kidz who hate anything that smacks of OLDER WHITE GUYS and are always thinking “let’s give actors and filmmakers who aren’t part of the older-white-guy, Spielberg-stamped network a chance.”
But based on those “Brutally Honest” confessionals, a good percentage of Oscar voters and guild members don’t think like…well, any of the elite critics and Oscar-watching columnists.
It’s like Clayton Davis, Eric Kohn, Justin Chang, Tom O’Neill, Robbie Collin, Manohla Dargis, Angelica Jade Bastién, Steve Pond, Erik Anderson, David Ehrlich, Alison Willmore…it’s like the wokesterati and SJW banner carriers live on one planet, and the people who actually work in the film industry and vote for Oscars (and Emmys and guild awards) live on another.
Do certain tastes and preferences overlap? Yes, of course, but generally speaking very few….I should say almost no critics or columnists seem to live, think and breathe like the rank and file. Put another way, very few critic-columnists dare to think and write like stubbornly independent foxhole contrarians. Because to do so would mean (and this is crucial) not getting hired by the editors and publishers who are also living in fear of the Khmer Rouge…who are white-knuckle terrified of offending the comintern.
Bottom line: If you want to be survive in the film-assessing, Oscar-covering journalistic world of 2020 and ’21, you must play along with the wokesters. Or at least pretend to play along. Which is why almost everyone is more or less singing the same tune.
Except, that is, for Hollywood Elsewhere (i.e., myself) and a few others out there. That’s right…HE and very few others stand alone. Alone against the wind and the herd.