Roughly 50 years ago Marlon Brando and Sacheen Littlefeather were the first to inject a social justice warrior ethos into the annual Oscar telecast, which had been purely entertaining (i.e., unsullied by political opinion) since its inception in the late 1920s.
Their attempt to redirect Oscar attention from the Italian-American, amber-lighted legend of Don Corleone to the plight of struggling Native Americans was a ground-floor cultural ignition moment that, as Bill Maher put it last night, “transformed the Oscar telecast into what it is today — a four-hour lecture on how bad most people have it, by the people who have it the best.”
It was basically an acknowledgment of how progressive improvements always take a while to be adopted. It never happens with a snap of the fingers. Important people and powerful organizations are always late to dinner when a new dish is being served.
On the other hand Maher’s “Oscars, No White” rant, which focused on the announcement of Oscar representation and inclusion standards two and 1/3 years ago, had a little more bite.
Key quote: “Art and coercion is a bad combination. People don’t want to be hired because they filled the quota. They want to be hired because they’re good, and [many] of them are.”