An article by a veteran Academy member has appeared on The Ankler, and it says something that The Ankler‘s Richard Rushfield, due respect, wouldn’t dare post himself.
As you might expect the piece in question has been written by a guy “who has asked to remain anonymous.” (But of course!) It’s titled “Notes From An Oscar Meeting Gone Wrong“, and the author is a self-admitted white middle-aged male…brrrnnggg!
What the article says, boiled down, is that over the last six or seven years the Academy has not only bent over backwards to address inclusion and equity in the ranks, but has totally lost sight of the fairy-dust factor, which has now all but evaporated.
Yes, the pandemic and streaming did a lot to kill exhibition. But that doesn’t change the fact that over the last seven years (basically since #OscarsSoWhite) the Academy and the industry, hand in hand, have put progressive politics above the creation and celebration of movie magic.
“Wolfe Reminds, History Repeats, posted on 3.22.21: “Generally the making of cinematic art, like canvas art of the ’30s, has been largely called off in favor of serving the industry’s social justice revolution.
Just ask the curators at the Academy Museum (aka “Woke House“) — they’ll tell you all about it.
“The result has been a new form of enlightened propaganda cinema — movies that basically say ‘this is what should be‘ rather than ‘this is what is.’
White Middle-Aged Ankler Male: “To be clear, yes, I am a white male, and I believe in diversity and inclusion. But the way the Academy has gone about trying to meet the moment — both in those aspects and in the fight for relevancy — makes no sense.
“I personally can’t point to the exact moment the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences died for me, only because there are so many to choose from.
“Maybe it was June 19, 2016, when the Board of Governors panicked under Twitter pressure and rushed to invite 819 members, fully 20 percent of the then-current members to join — many of whom existing members did not believe were admitted based on merit?
“How about April 17, 2018 when Bill Mechanic, the former head of Fox who co-produced a great Oscar ceremony in 2010 and was nominated as a producer for Best Picture, resigned from the Board of Governors with his letter including this line: “We have settled on numeric answers to the problem of inclusion, barely recognizing that this is the Industry’s problem far, far more than it is the Academy’s. Instead we react to pressure.”
“Or July 21, 2020 when producer Michael Shamberg (Erin Brockovich, The Big Chill) filed suit against the Academy because it did not want to listen to his constructive initiatives to move the organization into the modern era?
“Was it April 25, 2021, when the Academy produced the lowest-rated Oscar ceremony in the history of the awards? True, it was a pandemic event, but the lack of film choices did not require a lack of entertainment value.”
HE comment: The Soderbergh Oscar telecast was the most despairing, spiritually enervated, bad-acid-trip Oscars in Hollywood history. In no small part because Anthony Hopkins had the temerity to to snatch the Best Actor Oscar that the late Chadwick Boseman was supposed to win…Variety‘s Elizabeth Wagmeister was especially upset by this.
“Certainly the Oscars were already on life support by March 27 of this year when Will Smith, snot dripping from his nose, smacked comedian Chris Rock for a stupid joke (he is a comedian, I said) that Smith didn’t like. No one in charge of the Academy was actually in charge. Smith, guilty of assault, was very soon after feted with a standing ovation by those assembled as he won the Best Actor award — for playing an abusive father.”