Killers of the Flower Moon‘s Lily Gladstone, whose performance as Mollie Burkhart is basically a supporting role (i.e., a victim who does nothing to defend or save herself from predatory Oklahoma beasties), recently won Best Actress trophies from the Gotham Awards and the New York Film Critics Circle.
Her performance is admired in some corners, yes, but Mollie Burkhart was written by Eric Roth and Martin Scorsese in a very minimalist fashion, and there is very little risked or revealed on Lily’s part as an actress. There isn’t a single scene in which she goes hard or raises the room temperature or pours out her soul.
People seethe when I say this, but somebody has to cut through the crap: Gladstone won this week because of her ethnic identity (having been raised within Montana’s Blackfeet community and playing an Osage native) and because the woke mob has decided that it would be a fitting paleface apology gesture for a Native American actor to win a major Oscar. No amount of denial and tap-dancing will change what everyone knows and relatively few will admit.
If Lily was running a Best Supporting Actress campaign, she’d have it totally in the bag and I wouldn’t say boo. Because that’s the category that suits her performance, and the scope of her role.
The year’s finest Best Actress-level performances have been given by Maestro’s Carey Mulligan and Poor Things’ Emma Stone. These are serious knock-out performances…obviously…c’mon.
Non-white identity has been a pervasive award-season motivator (i.e., the support for this is commonly known as virtue signalling) since the woke mentality began to spread and take hold on a checklist basis in the mid teens. Non-white directors and actors have enjoyed elevated status for six or seven years.
This is the wave that Gladstone’s campaign is surfing upon, and why many under-45 SAG-AFTRA members and New Academy Kidz are planning on voting for her, despite her low-key, “good enough but no great shakes” performance as a wealthy Osage native whose family members are murdered by greedy white guys (oil money), and who is herself nearly killed.
The key element is that a Native American winning a Best Actress Oscar would be a first-time-ever thing and a kind of holy milestone in many voters’ eyes.
“New Academy Kidz Aren’t Concerned With ‘Whole Equation‘”, posted on 1.24.18:
“Vulture‘s Kyle Buchanan, Stacey Wilson Hunt and Chris Lee have posted a piece about the views and attitudes of the Academy’s new voters, all of whom were invited to join the Academy over the last two years and who constitute roughly 17% or 18% of the present membership. Of the 14 members interviewed, more than half were women and more than a third were people of color.
“I for one found it surprising if not shocking that the biggest concerns of the New Academy Kidz appear to be representation, representation and….uhhm, oh, yes…representation.
“Consider a quote from HE reader “filmklassik:
“’In this particular cultural moment it is all about Tribal Identity. And what’s disturbing is, we have a whole generation now for whom Tribal representation is, to use one critic’s word, numinous. The under-40 crowd has invested Race, Gender and Sexuality with a kind of cosmic significance.
“It doesn’t mean a lot to them — it means everything to them. Indeed, much of their conversation and writing seems to always come back to it.”
Charles Smallwood to HE (earlier today): “So you’re complaining about a perceived issue with people of color being awarded things that you don’t view them as deserving. However, the century prior to this current era had an almost all-white voting bloc, all white nominees and all white winners. The amount of white people winning awards was staggering. Why did you not have anything to say about that as it was happening? Did you just believe white people were obviously superior to any non white contemporaries? Or did you just not care because people who looked like you were winning awards, and that’s fine, as long as the dark folks are kept in check and on the margins?”
HE to Smallwood: You’re dug so deeply into your “whiteys are bad and need to be punished for their history” mudhole that there’s apparently no talking to you.
I didn’t have anything to do with actively or administratively supporting racist exclusions by the Academy over the last 95 years of the Oscars. And I’ve never advocated for exclusions of any kind of journalistic circles As we all know social values have evolved and changed by increments over the years, and then the dam broke wide open in ’16 or ’17 or thereabouts.
All I know is that before tribal identity considerations and virtue-signalling kicked in during that period there was at least an occasional or simulated appearance of merit — an actor being rewarded for reaching down within and finding something real and intense and memorable and injecting this into a performance — being a key consideration. Politics and popularity contests have always been factors, of course, but merit was a real thing over the decades.
What’s happened over the last six years or so is that considerations of merit in and of themselves have been at least somewhat diminished while considerations of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) have sharply increased. That’s an absolute fact.
Smallwood to HE: “The fact that you think ‘merit’ was behind most award-season decisions until more people of color started to win them is an old, recycled argument steeped in a sad delusion of inherent white supremacy, not only on a talent level but also a moral one (which is ridiculous), Every instiution begins to fall whenever people of color gain any significant ground. They said the same thing in the NFL when ti comes to elite black quarterbacks, ‘the game isn’t what it used to be’…the ‘there goes the neighborhood’ trope all over again. And a meritocracy? In Hollywood? Wow.”
HE to Smallwood: Are you seriously arguing that the social theology of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) hasn’t bled over into Hollywood hiring practices and award-season politics? Are you aware of the Academy adding younger and more diverse members in order to even things out? Are you aware about the Academy having adopted diversity and inclusion mandates back in 2020? DEI has been hailed and championed in progressive political, cultural and academic circles, and you’re saying that when it came to Hollywood it has had no influence at all?
You can’t have a serious discussion while wearing blinders, Charles. You’re just not being honest, man.
Bobby Peru to HE: “Do you ever listen to yourself and this bizarre, arch-conservative posture? The Jeff Wells I read 20 years ago would never have stood for this.”
HE to Peru: “This is reality, Greg.”
I’m the same fellow from 20 years ago plus the scars and bruises I’ve acquired since the hard left went mental in ‘17 or ’18 and drove itself off an ideological cliff, and all the Salem-meets-French Terror freeze-outs and cancellation attempts that came out of this psychosis. The Monsters, trust me, Are Fully in Residence on Maple Street, and Claude Akins and Jack Weston are going “Jesus, what happened?”
You’ve presumably heard the expression “a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged.” Well, I’m more of a sensible left-centrist than a conservative, but I was a leftie all my life until I got mugged by wokesters in ’18 or thereabouts.”
Michael DeGregorio to HE: “Jeff and the anti-woke mob will only be happy when Hollywood goes back to making movies like they used to. You know: white leads only. All male action, girls are only there to be saved and fucked. And Indians? We go back to ignoring them totally, and go back to Arabs, blacks and Spanish people are the bad guys.
“Once that happens, all the anti woke people will finally have their country back, dammit!”
HE to DeGregorio: I’m really sorry to say this, Michael, but you’re a moron. You need medication and therapy. HE wants acting awards to go to actors for the quality of their performances…that’s all. Like, for example, Da’Vine Joy Randolph for her Holdovers performance. In a sense fanatics like yourself are more racist-minded than those you accuse of being racist in the old-fashioned sense.