The 87th annual Academy Awards shouldn’t be confused with entertainment.
And given the numbers – the audience was at a six-year low – many Americans agreed.
There was a time when the worst problem was self-absorbed millionaire stars and Hollywood types gloating and droning on and on about how much humility they had for being honored.
Now the Oscars have turned into a three-hour-and-18-minute circus of narcissist activists who believe the entire world is a stage to air their pet peeves.
Really worried about teen-age suicide? While it’s nice to tell kids that they shouldn’t worry about not fitting in, it might be even better if so-called role models stop flaunting the “beautiful Hollywood life” – flawless skin, perfect hair, beautiful friends, fancy clothes, Sports Illustrated bathing suit edition bodies, and expensive toys. They essentially tell them not to worry about fitting in and then embrace excesses that often are flung into the face of teens desperate to fit in and be accepted.
Want to improve the world of Alzheimer sufferers? Then you might want to dress off the rack at JC Penney the next time you walk down the red carpet and donate the money you save to help fund research.
Worried about equal pay for women? Then refuse to work on your next movie unless every woman gets the same pay as a man doing the same job at the same experience level starting with the go-fers and janitors.
Railing against excessive wealth and lack of government services for the poor? Then don’t work on any film that takes millions in tax breaks from state and city governments, which in turn take money away from funding services for the poor while making the rich – read that movie actors, producers, and investors – richer.
Better yet, insist that movie theaters that show your next film pay all of their workers at least a $15 an hour “living wage” that many Hollywood types have joined in calling for McDonald’s to pay its workforce.
Here’s a news flash for self-absorbed Hollywood types: Nobody really cares about your political views except yourself and those hardcore activists who agree with you.
It’s supposed to be the entertainment industry honoring talent and not a televised Democratic (or Republican) Convention platform committee meeting.
Yes, stars – and those that make stars who they are from writers, cinematographers, and directors, to folks in wardrobe – are entitled to their opinion and the right to express them.
But there is a time and place for everything. If someone is invited to the White House to be honored by President Obama and they seize the moment to rant against or for his policies it would be considered in bad taste and rightfully so.
While it would be difficult to disagree with Patricia Arquette’s sentiments about women with the same duties, experience, and job results getting paid the same as their male counterparts at the same level, is accepting an Oscar the place to make that point?
One hopes that if she is ever asked to give a toast at a wedding dinner she doesn’t delve into her equal pay spiel. There’s a big difference between making a point and being tacky.
Perhaps what grates folks about the Academy Awards is the sameness. That isn’t referring to the same-old tired telethon-style format that is about as thrilling as watching political convention speeches. It’s a reference to the non-stop, 24-7 “in your face” activism.
The anarchists thinly disguised as activists who have invaded Oakland – a struggling city if there ever was one – and almost daily tie up limited city resources while they try to disrupt commerce while protesting their cause du jour no longer have most people’s ears.
The same goes for political pronouncements at the Oscars. Michael Moore’s tirade against President Bush grabbed national attention because not everybody from the winner of the best supporting grip man in a comedy-drama musical score production to the winner of the best actor used their time at the podium to rail about their version of social injustice.
Now that everybody is doing it, the impact is minimal.
Nobody tunes into the Academy Awards any more expecting not to hear a never ending stream of celebrities telling us what we should think and do as they grab their golden statutes that are more representative of the 1 percent than the rest of us in the 99 percent.
Somehow rich people – no matter how noble their cause is – lecturing the rest of us who made them rich by buying tickets to see their movies comes off as elitist snobbery.
If they are really worried about social injustice, perhaps they might want to refuse to accept their Academy Award.
Those statutes are made of gold-plated britannium. That gold, while at a minimum, is typically mined by Third World laborers working in filthy and deadly conditions while making pennies a day.
Given their collective outrage against wealth, injustice, and how the downtrodden are treated wouldn’t it be more appropriate if recipients dress from a Goodwill Store and be given lead statutes decorated by poor children each paid $100,000 commissions?
This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Journal or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209.249.3519.