The Academy Gets Skewed in Its Own Train Wreck of a Show
By Ben Kayser, Managing Editor
Scripted to spin the real issues, Chris Rock jumped right into the diversity controversy in his opening monologue at the 88th Academy Awards last night, labeling it the “White People’s Choice Awards,” but then proceeding to mock the celebrities boycotting the show. He slammed Jada-Pinkett Smith for refusing to attend a show that didn’t even invite her. The scattered monologue had very few funny jokes, but became increasingly polemic, awkward and rough.
After an admittedly sometimes funny pre-filmed skit of African-American actors and actress being edited into scenes of nominated movies like THE MARTIAN and JOY, Chris Rock mockingly introduced openly conservative black actress Stacey Dash, who earlier had called for the elimination of Black History Month, as the New Academy Director of Diversity Outreach. Walking out on stage and awkwardly wishing the audience a happy Black History Month left the crowd unsure how to react. The racial diversity issue permeated nearly all of the jokes, a last ditch PR effort for the Academy, which is desperately trying to fix their image. This was just the start of a slew of gags that were confusing and far from funny.
After awarding SPOTLIGHT for best original screenplay and THE BIG SHORT for best adapted screenplay, Sarah Silverman went on and on about James Bond’s sexual encounters in a very unfunny and lewd introduction to a performance of the nominated James Bond song “Writing’s on the Wall.”
The show continued to go downhill and prove that it’s not for the whole family, with Chris Rock joking about his favorite “girl on girl” lesbian movies with references to prosthetic male genitalia.
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD swept the majority of the technical awards and Emanuel Lubezki won Best Cinematography for his work on THE REVENANT, his third straight win.
INSIDE OUT won the Oscar for Best Animated Film, and Director Pete Doctor gave a touching speech honoring his wife and children, and he urged children to create movies, draw and use their imagination and skills. INSIDE OUT was the only family-friendly movie to win an award.
The first person to thank God was a black man in a comedic skit where Chris Rock handed a real Oscar to moviegoers at a theater in Compton and had them give acceptance speeches.
Vice President Joe Biden made a political appearance to talk about an alleged epidemic of sexual abuse on college campuses and introduced Lady Gaga, who gave an impassioned performance of her Oscar nominated song “Till it Happens to You” about sexual abuse. It did not, however, recognize that the Academy also nominated the sexually explicit FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, which encourages sexual violence.
Alejandro G. Inarritu won Best Director for the overrated survival pic THE REVENANT, and Leonardo DiCaprio won his first Oscar for his leading role in the movie and gave one of the most ridiculous climate change speeches since the befuddled Al Gore stuck it to the American people. The Best Picture went to SPOTLIGHT, which should’ve gone to a better movie like THE MARTIAN or BROOKLYN.
As usual, the Academy missed its opportunity to honor movies that Americans truly watch and embrace. It’s no wonder the show had its lowest rating in eight years, according to preliminary reports.
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