But we also saw, as expected, politics brought to the forefront, perhaps as a way to gloss over the fact that there have been very few quality films made in the last few years. At any rate, from presenters and winners, there was lots of talk about how much love there was in the room and how we need to make more stories that inspire hope and empathy. But when you look at some of what the Academy members were saying about each other, hiding behind anonymity, one has to wonder how much political open-mindedness they really want.
The following quotes aren’t from President Trump, calling Meryl Streep overrated or yelling at the media (ugh, again). These, from interviews with the Hollywood Reporter, are from the very people who claim that Americans are too mean too each other, don’t respect each other’s views or lifestyles, and are promoting hatred and violence everywhere. These are from the angels that claim to be the voice of reason and present the power of artistry. But they sound more like snippy junior high students, back-biting on the playground.
There was religion-bashing...against Christians: One member said, “Silence had beautiful photography, but I hated that movie so much, with all the Christian stuff beating me over the head.” Another said, Martin Scorsese “has got to get over his Catholic guilt.” One wonders if such views would’ve been expressed about another particular religion.
There were ad hominems against specific people: One member said that Mel Gibson is a vile person (despite his repeated penance), and that she has a problem with “Nicole Kidman...because she opened her mouth politically and pissed me off. Her husband [Keith Urban] is a right-wing country music guy and so is his audience, she basically said, ‘Get over it, he [Donald Trump] is president and we have to work with him.’ I don't like to hear the words ‘Get over it’." Strange, that’s kind of what Barack Obama said after the election.
There were questionable implications about objectification and violence toward women: One actor said, “As a heterosexual male, it's hard not to vote for Harley Quinn [the character played by Margot Robbie in Suicide Squad].” Another member added, “Isabelle Huppert [from Elle] is an ice-cold actress, and... I wanted to slap her to try to get a reaction out of her.” Apparently the NFL isn’t the only group having problems with women.
Another said that [Lion's] Dev Patel “really seems like he's needy as an actor and just wants you to like him, but he shouldn't be that needy — he's grown up to be a really handsome, sexy dude, with this mid-range brown color, so everyone loves him.” A “mid-range brown color”? I haven’t heard such a weird reference to someone’s race since Joe Biden called Barack Obama “clean.”
Another member made a comment that didn’t even make sense: “I did not see Hacksaw Ridge because I heard it was very bloody and, living in the era of Trump, I felt like there's enough violence in the world.” The era of Trump? You mean the previous 30 days in which literally nothing has happened? And yeah, the film is bloody because it’s about WWII, and war is, you know, bloody. Meanwhile, the film is about non-violence! I’ll never cease to be amazed at the heights of stupidity to which Hollywood ascends.
Think the trend in transgender politics is only something backward folks from the South are uncomfortable with? One member said, “I'm terrified that next year we'll have a documentary about transgender bathrooms, which is not something I think we should be paying attention to compared to other things. It's a joke.”
Several members, regarding Best Documentary winner O.J.: Made in America, said they didn’t need a movie about O.J. Simpson because we already went through it. This must mean those civil rights movies of the last few years are pointless since, you know, we already know everything about that stuff.
Many of the members admitted to not even seeing the movies upon which they were voting. Must be a hard life when your entire job as part of the film business is to watch movies and you just can’t bring yourself to getting around to doing it.
This is Hollywood. These are the people telling you whom to vote for. These are the people donating hundreds of millions of dollars to political candidates and causes. These are the people telling you what morals to live by. These are the people carrying the torch for artistic principles and human expression.
And these are also the people who are quick to look down on others who are not like them, who make different choices in life, who think for themselves and want to be left alone. And they hand each other trophies while doing it. With people so disconnected from their own words and the rest of America, the term “La-La Land” certainly fits this year.