A while back I tried to sell my Paramount homies on a special Top Gun: Maverick HE advertorial. The idea had already been written and posted on 1.13.23 — I just wanted to repeat it with a little Paramount dough behind me. The piece was titled “A Film That Saved Hollywood Could Also Save The Oscars.”

It seemed like the right pitch, and if you ask me this was underlined by the fact that Paramount recently launched a billboard ad campaign that echoed what my piece said.

At a time when the old energy current between Hollywood and mainstream audiences seemed to be dropping left and right, Top Gun: Maverick had pumped new life into the spirit of things, and should be roundly celebrated for reaching out and connecting…for making something actually happen in theatres at a time when too many films seemed to be limping along.

A Best Picture Oscar for a movie that had not only restored faith in exhibition but in Hollywood itself.

The current Paramount slogan says it all: BELIEVE IN MOVIES AGAIN. Which translates to BELIEVE IN HOW MOVES WERE DURING THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION AND BEFORE. Which also translates into BELIEVE IN THE FUTURE and the distinct possibility that more films like Top Gun: Maverick could pop the champagne as long as Hollywood takes heed and acts upon the obvious.

Which is this: Joe and Jane Popcorn are sick of instructional woke content (identity politics, progressive guilt-tripping, historical presentism, torture-rack flicks like Last Night in Soho, a general aversion to anything rooted in straight-white-male perspectives, movies that constantly hammer the Millennial-Zoomer BIPOC gay trans #MeToo boogaloo…films that insist that entitled white assholes need to be scolded blah blah).

Joe and Jane Popcorn to Elite Hollywood Wankers: Whatever happened to movies like The Wedding Crashers, Tropic Thunder, Manchester By The Sea, Her, A Separation, Sicario, Leviathan, Hell or High Water, Call Me By Your Name, The Social Network, Superbad, Whiplash, The Witch, etc.? How about unwoke-ing your sorry asses and keeping it that way for the foreeeable future? And making more upcoming films like Ben Affleck and Matt Damon‘s Air? And while you’re at it, fire the Woke Award-Season Mafia goons and all the kiss-asses who keep pushing movies that make people miserable.

Alternate headline: “Make Joe & Jane Popcorn Happy, And They’ll Return The Favor In Spades.”

2nd Alternate headline: “Listen to Barry Diller!”

Posted on 1.13.23: Presumably everyone understands that the Oscars were created in 1927 and continue to exist to this day in order to promote the joys of moviegoing. They’re essentially about glamour and celebration and not necessarily the praising of lofty cinematic art (to say the least), and right now the film industry and exhibition in particular really need to be promoted because Joe and Jane Popcorn hate the fact that the Oscars and Hollywood films for the most part have totally gone down the woke rabbit hole.

The plummeting Oscar telecast ratings over the last few years translate into one sentiment and one sentiment only: “We hate you for turning into woke assholes.” There’s no escaping this fact. Award-season films are largely despised and/or ignored by a majority of ticket buyers.

And yet despite all this, Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water have connected big-time. If there’s any cultural life or spiritual juice in the moviegoing experience today, it’s because of these two films.

Academy voters know that of the three likeliest Best Picture contenders, only one — Everything Everywhere All At Once — has earned decent theatrical coin ($103.9 million). If it wins Best Picture (which it won’t), it could be said that a populist favorite has prevailed. Except EEAAO is not a populist favorite outside the realm of Millennials and Zoomers. The fact is that people burdened with a sense of grounded cinematic calculus hate this ludicrous, all-but-impossible-to-follow fantasia by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. It drives them crazy, and the levels of loathing among GenXers and boomers are such that it can’t win. Of this I am dead certain.

This leaves the other two favorites, The Fabelmans and The Banshees of Inisherin, but Academy voters know that both are fairly weak sisters in a theatrical-revenue sense. Banshees has made $24.8 million; The Fablemans currently stands at $17.1 million.

Yes, I know — relatively modest box-office revenues (pre-Oscar) didn’t stop The Hurt Locker from winning six Oscars, but we’re living in desperate, do-or-die times. With the public having turned against Hollywood wokesters and despising their anti-straight-white-guy criteria, the Oscars have no choice but to run in the opposite direction of the infamous Steven Soderbergh Oscar show, which all but killed the brand after airing in April 2021.

The best message that the Oscars can send to the general public, in short, is “yes, of course we get it….we’ve been acting like self-regarding jerks, we’ve woked ourselves to death and you hate us for this…of course you do! We get it! And so, as a way of conveying this understanding, we’re happy to announce that the winner of the 2022 Best Picture Oscar is a film that you guys loved…a well-made, pro-level populist flyboy flick that even the snootiest critics admitted was a rousing, well-produced ride.

For God’s sake, Academy members — wake up by saving the industry and in the process yourselves. Do the right thing by saying the right thing by handing the Best Picture Oscar to one of the two best-loved films of 2022. Don’t go over the cliff like lemmings. Promote, celebrate, embrace.