Inside the ‘Blood Sport’ of Oscars Campaigns,” a N.Y. Times piece by Irina Aleksander, appeared this morning at 10:55 am.

It covers a realm that HE is deeply familiar with, but rather than post a sweeping assessment here are four or five stand-out portions of the article, and in most instances my reactions to same:

1. End of the 2nd paragraph: “The [Andrea Riseborough] campaign was described as organic and grass roots, but some celebrities had posted suspiciously identical language, describing “To Leslie” as “a small film with a giant heart.” That Viola Davis (The Woman King) and Danielle Deadwyler (Till) were not nominated despite predictions to the contrary made it look as if a bunch of actors campaigned on behalf of a white actress, leading to the exclusion of Black actresses.”

HE reaction: This is the same old “sore loser” response that Davis, Deadwyler and the directors of their films, Till‘s Chinonye Chukwu and The Woman King‘s Gina Prince-Bythewood, voiced in the wake of the Oscar nominatons.

From “Andrea Riseborough + Duelling Concepts of Meritocracy vs. Equity,” posted on 2.15.23: “In their minds they all got blanked by embedded white elitism or misogynoir or some other racist variant.

“In response Everything Everywhere All At Once‘s Michelle Yeoh, a Best Actress nominee, suggested that they should cool their jets and wait their turn.

Prince-Blythewood: ‘There is no groundswell from privileged people with enormous social capital to get behind Black women. There never has been.’ Deadwyler: ‘We’re talking about misogynoir. It comes in all kinds of ways. Whether it’s direct or indirect, it impacts who we are.’

“The essence of the lament seemed to be ‘we’re looking for some equity here and we haven’t received it…progressive Academy members know that the BIPOC narrative is about giving us the respect and adulation that is our due for the work but also in a payback sense, considering the decades upon decades of racist exclusion in this industry…we know we delivered first-rate work and yet we got shut out…some of you won’t say what happened but we can smell it in the wind…Andrea Riseborough‘s white supporters pushed her though but perhaps at our expense, or so it seems.”

2. Bottom of the third paragraph, also about the Riseborough campaign: “’I don’t believe academy members should be posting about how they’re going to vote,’ Oscar strategist Cynthia Swartz said, ‘or urging others to vote in a certain way.’ Tony Angellotti, a consultant on The Fabelmans, put it less mildly. ‘There are very specific rules about direct outreach…clearly, here, those rules were broken.’

“Neither To Leslie‘s director [Michael Morris] nor his wife [Mary McCormack] are members of the academy. But consultants I spoke to said it didn’t matter. A couple joked that it was a little like the Jan. 6 insurrection: President Donald Trump may not have personally stormed the Capitol, but he encouraged others to do so.”

HE reaction: Though smirk-worthy, offering an analogy between the Riseborough campaign and the Jan. 6th uprising is somewhere between absurd and slanderous, and it further establishes that the Times, a woke-minded, POC advocacy newspaper if there ever was one, strongly sympathizes with the sore losers.

3. Top of the ninth paragraph: “Negative narratives are usually attributed to the diabolical workings of rival strategists: the stories about abusive directors, overblown budgets, whether the real people behind biopics should really be celebrated. (See: A Beautiful Mind.) ‘They try to change someone else’s narrative by adding dirt to the layer,’ Angellotti told me, citing the old rumor that Matt Damon and Ben Affleck didn’t really write Good Will Hunting.”

HE reaction: I was involved in that Good Will Hunting rumor right up to my neck, and the rumor wasn’t as Angelotti describes — i.e., that Matt and Ben didn’t really write it. The rumor was that the late William Goldman has done a polish of their screenplay. Nobody was whispering Matt and Ben didn’t write it, only that Goldman spritzed it up. I was the one, in fact, who passed the rumor along to Goldman, and he in turn called the Good Will Hunting team and said, “Hey, this rumor is making the rounds…I just heard it from Jeff Wells.”

4. Tenth paragraph: “Everyone in the industry insists that negative campaigning has become less prevalent than it used to be. And yet when a veteran strategist with a client in the race told me how opportunistic it was for the Everything Everywhere All at Once cast to visit the site of the Monterey Park shooting on the eve of the nomination announcements, I’m pretty sure I got to experience it firsthand. ‘Do they not know the shooter is Asian?’ the strategist asked. ‘It’s not a racially motivated crime.’”

HE reaction: Funny.

5. “’Here’s the thing,’ 42West strategist Amanda Lundberg said. ‘Everybody hates Harvey [Weinstein], and he’s in jail, and he should be. He’s a criminal and he raped people. But people liked his results, and they still want them. People are desperate to win awards. And we’ve guided it here because we’ve rewarded it with money and prestige. So what happens when people want something that’s limited? Do the math. It causes all sorts of behavior, and people lose where the line is.”

HE reaction: True.

27th paragraph: “’Every year, everyone talks about what a magnificent year this has been for movies,’ Angellotti [says], “and the public is going, ‘Really?’”

HE reaction: Yup.