Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Oscar Outrage!

So yesterday I talked about Oscar snubs and how every year there are deserving artists or films that get screwed. Cary Grant and Peter O’Toole had to be content with “Honorary” Oscars. They never won them in competition. And how many times has Amy Adams and Glenn Close been bridesmaids? And as a reader pointed out yesterday, Kobe Bryant has an Oscar.

Add to that, over the last few years, the Academy has taken heat for lack of diversity, or gender favoritism. Not sure what the acceptable number on both are, but the Academy is way below it.

So a shit storm has resulted that there are no women directors nominated this year. Do they have a legitimate beef? You bet. Greta Gerwig for one should have been on the list. (She was nominated for her screenplay however. And a Best Screenplay Oscar is pretty neat, isn’t it? Sorta?)

Trevor Noah on THE DAILY SHOW weighed in on only men landing Best Director nominations. “How the hell does that happen!” he exclaimed. And he wasn’t as outraged as other pundits and organizations I’ve seen. Not to mention a few of my blog readers. 

Here’s my perspective (although no one asked).

It’s just the fucking Oscars, people. SO WHAT???

With all the shit that’s going on in the world today, is the best use of our outrage to rip the Motion Picture Academy for not being woke enough?

If the Oscars are so important how come no one watches them anymore? Or watches the movies that are nominated?  Too bad the JEOPARDY G.O.A.T. tournament won't go seven days. I bet by day seven JEOPARDY would have higher ratings than the Oscars. More people know who Ken Jennings is than 80% of the nominees.

We’re on the brink of a needless war. We have a president and senate trying to destroy the Constitution of the United States. We have disastrous climate change that might become permanent. Who gives a fuck that any super fortunate Hollywood A-lister didn’t get a precious Oscar nomination?

I’m looking forward to February 10th after the ceremony when people are all up in arms because the wrong white men won.


Brian Phillips said...

Re: your last sentence: I'm NOT looking forward to November if the wrong White man wins (again).

slgc said...

I still haven't gotten over my outrage from last year. Won't You Be My Neighbor and Three Identical Strangers deserved Best Documentary nominations. And how the hell didn't Blindspotting get a Best Screenplay nomination?

I can live with this year's nominations. At least there isn't anything like Roma in the mix.

Anonymous said...

Edward G. Robinson, one of the best actors in the history of cinema, was never even nominated for an Oscar.

Glenn said...

Has Trevor Noah ever told a joke?

Steve Bailey said...

Amen, Ken! I'm glad JOKER got all of its noms, because it's one of the few movies I went out to see last year and I thought it was very good. I didn't even recognize a lot of the other nominated movies and actors.

VP81955 said...

Myrna Loy never gained an Oscar nomination, although late in life she received an honorary award.

John Everett said...

Weak argument. Caring about one admittedly frivolous thing doesn't preclude caring about more important things. A person can be mad about Greta Gerwig getting snubbed AND about income inequality and climate change etc.

Using your argument, you could dismiss any argument. Who cares whether women get to direct movies or not, when there are more important things in the world? Who cares if women get to write movies, or act in them, or produce them, etc?

The Oscars is an admittedly imperfect way in which people acquire the clout to make more movies and the type of movies they want to make. If the Oscars don't recognize great work by women, it becomes harder for women to do great work.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...


Anne said...

All I know is the Oscars are definitely not as much fun since the CIA took over Hollywood. But seriously.
I actually wanted to ask Ken and everyone about JEOPARDY. What did you think overall? Is Jennings really that smart? Was Brad in a coma? They say there may be a follow up--what would they do? Put the buzzer in their non-dominant hand?

I wasn't even a JEOPARDY fan before but this was a great escape from the crazy world we live in. Drugs and alcohol would work too but I'm allergic.

blinky said...

I am outraged that your outrage over too much outrage is not outrageous enough. Get woke, will ya?

But seriously. THANK YOU, well said. What the fuck is wrong with people today?

You did neglect to mention that half the world is burning so who gives a shit about what awards a bunch of pampered millionaires give each other?

Anonymous said...

Great post Ken.
Enjoyed Reading this.
Very well done.

JazMacGilroy said...

I can't get too worked up about the nominees. I've had to accept I am really not the target demo for Hollywood. Case in point, my two favorite films this year were JoJo Rabbit and Motherless Brooklyn.

Peter said...

You have posted a blog on Oscars yesterday and so people expressed their opinion in it. If it was unrelated to your topic of discussion, then yes, you should be angry with all the responses that you got yesterday. But why dismiss people's opinion?

So as per you, no one should speak out the non inclusion of various deserved candidates? We should only worry about certain things. Can't we worry/be angry about all the issues you say and also this?

Think of it, only now everyone is able to voice their opinion. The anger always existed, but now with so many social media platforms you get to hear them.

You are a regular Oscar reviewer, so its only natural that your blog is one of the best platforms for that opinion.

The blogs leading up to the ceremony are usually about Oscar ceremony, hosts, nominated movies, Screeners sent to you / you catching up on the nominated movies.

Also after the ceremony you usually post 2 blogs reviewing the show.

But why the sudden anger?

Jeff said...

To paraphrase Leonard Maltin, it's not like the "Academy" meets in a group and decides to snub certain people. Each member votes individually and the chips fall where they may.

Buttermilk Sky said...

Didn't they give out Oscars during World War II? "Who cares if CASABLANCA wins Best Picture while _____ are dying in ____?"

We need trivial stuff to obsess about, maybe now more than ever.

For instance, I'm glad Marvin Miller has finally been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Any thoughts?

Stephen Marks said...

If the following movies ever get made I better see some support from the #diversitytoo people. I don't want to hear any of this "I never saw it" shit.

"Milk" - Story of the first openly gay man elected to a political position, then tragically murdered. Oh yea it was done, nobody supported it!

"The Long Walk Home" - Story of Rosa Parks defying orders to sit at the back of a bus. Starred Whoppie Goldberg as Ms. Parks. Nobody supported it.

"Hidden Figures" - Story of African-American women who worked for NASA. Nobody supported

"In The Land Of Blood And Money" - Film about war-times in Yugoslavia written and directed by Angelina Jolie. How many of you women went and saw that one?

"Home For The Holidays", "Beaver", "Little Man Tate" - Jodie Foster was given tons of studio money to direct each of these, none were supported at the box office. Women, gay women, older women, young women all stayed home for the holidays.

"Red Tails" - George Lucas put up millions of his own dough to finance this movie about the Tuskegee airmen. The all-black cast wasn't supported by the all-black community so Lucas lost his all-white money.

"Brokeback Mountain" - The #diversitytoo group seem to always forget this one in their arguments

"And The Band Played On" - The #div.......well just read above.

"Die Another Death Tomorrow" - The next James Bond movie. IT WILL have a black, gay Bond.
There is no way around this. Barbara Broccoli, or "gee I didn't know a woman produced those Bond movies" as her #diversitytoo" friends call her, has no choice. You the people have spoken and Barbara doesn't have a say.

Jeff Randall said...

So True - there are plenty of things to be outraged about, so pick your poison...literally!
Ken - A Friday question for you
We all know that you and many of us are Jeopardy addicts. The online tryouts are happening at the end of January...are you going to give it a go? Or have you tried in the past??
Loved that KJ won the G.O.A.T. so deserving and so appropriate!

Caleb said...

I don't watch or really care about the Oscars but from reading this blog it seems like such an impossible hurdle to get a movie made, much less one distinct from the habitual retreads and sequels, that has a hint of real art and a respect for its audience that it's just a shame to not see it get the acclaim it deserves. Especially one like Little Women which a large part of the public won't see, apparently, because of the subject matter. I tend to think of art as a gift and it would be nice to see the sentiment returned.

Y. Knott said...

It has always amazed me that people attach so much import (or indeed ANY import) to the Oscars, an event solely designed to publicize entertainment by selling glamour, and glib surface-level 'relevance'.

Yes, it is appalling that no female directors were nominated. It is also irrelevant -- *if* people would stop paying attention to the stupid Oscars. I mean, year after year, the academy makes shockingly dumb choices ... but how many years does it take for people to realize there is no honour in being nominated for (and no glory in winning) an award from this feckless bunch of entitled cloudcuckoolanders?

So absolutely, be outraged at this years' nominations, fine. But be more outraged that so much attention is being paid to a strictly commercial publicity machine that is (and always has been, and by its actual nature and purpose inevitably always will be) strictly an opportunity for the privileged wealthy to give each other 'awards' to help publicize (i.e. further monetize) their work and career.

Jon B. said...

Yes, nothing better than a little preordained outrage. Greta Gerwig's snub could be seen coming before Little Women was even released. There are only 5 slots available for best director. With Scorsese and QT releasing well reviewed/hyped movies, that effectively left only 3 slots. There was some question as to whether she and her partner, Noah Baumbach (for Marriage Story), might ace the other out. As it turned out, neither were nominated for best director, although both of their movies were one of 8 nominated for best picture. Did either of them really "deserve" to be nominated ahead of Bong June-ho, Todd Phillips or Sam Mendes? NO! For that matter, did Gerwig "deserve" to be nominated ahead of Baumbach? NO! From an oversight standpoint, Gerwig has already been nominated for best director (for Lady Bird), while Baumbach is still looking for his first nomination. Yes, we need more women directors. But c'mon! I understand that Joker, for example, is a love it or hate it movie. But if you hated it, it doesn't mean that those who loved it were wrong. Or that Gerwig "deserved" to be nominated over Phillips.[FWIW, I really enjoyed Little Women. The year Lady Bird came out, I liked a similar movie, The Edge of Seventeen (also directed by a woman), even more.]

Sean said...

So, an appeal to a sense of proportion or discretion?

Sounds like a good start to me. Good luck.


gottacook said...

I would note that Hidden Figures made lots of money (worldwide gross of $235 million on a $25 million budget, per Box Office Mojo); furthermore, And the Band Played On was made for HBO in 1993 and had no theatrical release in the United States, so I don't know how one would judge its popularity.

Unknown said...

We need more awards shows

Anonymous said...

Stephen Marks : “Home For The Holidays", "Beaver", "Little Man Tate" - Jodie Foster was given tons of studio money to direct each of these, none were supported at the box office. Women, gay women, older women, young women all stayed home for the holidays.

Little Man Tate was a “smash”
Home For The Holidays “under-performed”
and The Beaver didn’t “open wide enough” to become a success.

Ed from SFV said...

This wokeness calls to mind the longstanding Red Buttons' Roast routine, "Joe Smith...NEVER GOT A DINNER!"

He did it better.

Todd Everett said...

New series, 68 Whiskey, premieres on Paramount Network tonight (Wednesday).

Loogline: "A medical unit in the U.S. Army employs unorthodox methods in its mission to keep soldiers alive."

Where do they get these ideas?

UnWoke said...

I'm pissed off that the Woke brigade now want to cancel Vince Vaughn because he was seen chatting to Dump. Look, I hate Dump with the heat of a thousands suns, but just because Vaughn spoke to him for about 20 seconds at a sporting event doesn't mean the guy supports him or his policies. He was just being polite. I guarantee that all the keyboard warriors who are screaming that Vaughn should have used the opportunity to condemn Dump to his face wouldn't have said shit if they'd been there with armed secret service agents around.

Yeah I'd have preferred it if Vaughn hadn't spoken to him at all, but who knows what was going on. He may have ended up in a position where he had no choice but to speak to him. Ellen DeGeneres says she's actually friends with the warmonger W Bush, which is far worse than Vaughn exchanging a few words with Dump. As well as his wars, Bush racked up a national debt that people will be paying off for the next 1000 years.

Have people become so intolerant that an actor just being polite is now deemed enemy number 1? The type of people who want to cancel Vaughn are usually the same ones who wring their hands after every terrorist atrocity and say shit like "we need to understand what motivates terrorists." Clint Eastwood was right when he called this the pussy generation.

Caleb Martin said...

"Is the best use of our outrage..." is not how outrage works 😂

Myles said...

It was also nominated for Oscars, Golden Globes etc. A popular success by all standards.

Max Clarke said...

Sidney Lumet directed Network, Dog Day Afternoon, 12 Angry Men, Serpico, and so on and so on….

He started directing tv shows and movies in the 1950s. His career lasted decades.

He was nominated 5 times for an Oscar.

Never won an individual Oscar.

Can't tell you who won the years he lost, but Lumet's movies are still great.

Anonymous said...

This last sentence is IT! And we all know Oscar noms and winners get a boost at the box office too. As much as we joke about people not watching them that stamp of approval matters. Women, Black people, etc deserve to have this light shine on their work which leads to more work from them and others like them. Or we can keep ignoring their work and the cycle continues.

Patrick Juvet said...

Hey Stephen Marks ;

Hidden Figures grossed $170,000,000 in North America and $236,000,000 worldwide. (That includes North America so you don't get too confused)

That's a lot of nobodies.

Dixon Steele said...

Funny how the posters who feel it's OK that Greta G. got snubbed are...wait for it...MEN.

Jeff Boice said...

I thought Mark Evanier had a good explanation for the Greta Gerwig/Best Director situation. Once you read that, you realize what nonsense this all is. Its like all those "sports argument" programs where the host gets paid lots of money to act outraged over a coaching call or a ref not throwing a penalty flag. I preferred it when womens billiards aired in the early afternoon.

And then of course after the Oscars, the outrage will be over all the perceived snubs in the "In Memoriam" clip.

Anonymous said...

But he got 5 nominations...The argument isn't even winners at this point. It's the fact that women, Black people, Latinos, etc can't even get nominations. Of course they can't win even they aren't even considered for nominations. Nobody is saying the Academy nails the winner every year or even the nominees but arguing the valid reasons people are upset with "well this one person didn't get all the victories they deserved" isn't a good argument. least he got the noms and I'm sure whoever beat him was likely some other white guy.

Anonymous said...

Vince Vaughn's politics were widely known for some time and there is no actual "cancel Vince Vaughn" thing happening right now. Most people already knew who he was if they cared at all...saying "Clint Eastwood was right" in a discussion about politics is everything we need to know about how you feel. You're pretending the other side is so upset about Vince when nobody here mentioned him. You're just looking for an enemy even if it's an empty chair.

Mike Doran said...

If I have any of this wrong, someone correct me:

The Oscar nominations are the result of a vote count.
Any film or performer that meets eligibility requirements is in the pool.
In any category, the top five vote-getters - numerically - win the nomination slots.
This being the case - where exactly does snubbing come in?
Is there collusion within the various academy divisions to hold certain films and performers down, that they may be denied "deserved" nominations and/or awards?

When I was a lad here in Chicago, I remember Mayor Daley The First's daily press conferences.
On the day following an election, somebody would ask Da Mare why Alderman McNuthin didn't win reelection in the Umpteenth Ward.
Daley's invariable answer:
"He didn't get enough votes."
Sometimes it really is that simple.

William Goldman, of blessed memory, wrote that the Academy ought to release the vote totals of the Oscar races.
This would of course do nothing to stop the sore losing outcries, but at least it would be out there.

Just for fun, see if you can make a Friday Question out of any or all of the above.

Stephen Marks said...


"Beaver didn't open wide enough" that's a good joke, you should have used a fake real name.

Ron Rettig said...

Bravo Ken.

UnWoke said...

I referred to the people online unpersoning Vaughn, I did not say anybody commenting here had mentioned him. I brought it up in the context of this post's subject of outrage.

As for implying that there's something inherently wrong with citing Clint Eastwood, I'll assume you don't like him because he's a conservative, which is a crime now apparently. If being a fan of the director of Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River and A Perfect World is supposed to be a bad thing, I'll take it.

Stephen Marks said...

Patrick Duvet:

Excellent point by you, as well as the person above you. So why aren't the diversity people championing this as a success, along with Brokeback, And The Band..., rather than forgetting about these wonderful movies just to continually hammer a point across? Thanks for those of you who looked up the box office numbers for Hidden.

D McEwan said...

My two cats are OUTRAGED that CATS was snubbed by the academy. They've been meowing piteously all day. "This is Cat Litter!" they were thinking as the noms were read.

OK, they're yowling right beside the cupboard where I keep their cat food, and stopped the moment I refilled their food bowls, but still, it's about the Oscars.

iamr4man said...

Actually Ken, I'm way more interested in your take on the Astros cheating scandal.

powers said...

Totally agree with you,Ken. Let's forget this Academy Awards nonsense and get back to the real & challenging issues that are affecting our country.

Like what's next for Harry & Meagan?

Anonymous said...

Clint Eastwood, a man of such high moral standards we should care what he has to say? Do I dare mention Sandra Locke and how he had her blackballed in Hollywood or his many children born to many women NOT his wife at the time?

Anonymous said...

Your last paragraph answers your "SO WHAT???": People are up in arms about the Oscars because it seems that in all aspects of U.S. society, from the serious to the frivolous, the WRONG white men continue to win. Your anger and despair over the current state and possible future of this country because "the wrong white men won" have been reality for others for far longer than the past three years. It's why "woke" culture exists and the uproar over the stinking Oscars' lack of diversity rightfully persists.


McAlvie said...

Ignoring the smaller issues won't fix the bigger issues. And while I agree that something like the Oscars looks like so much kibble compared to a lot of what is going on, that doesn't make the problem less noteworthy.

I look at it this way - what if it was my own profession instead of Hollywood? Is a woman getting passed over for a promotion, or her achievements ignored suddenly okay because we have a sociopath in the White House and a gutless Senate? Is the degradation and abuse minorities have suffered through for generations now acceptable because the warnings about global warming are now coming true?

There's always going to be bigger issues. What, I shouldn't complain about moldy bread from the grocery store because someone on the other side of the planet is starving? Will my eating moldy bread fix their problems? No. Will accepting snubs at the Oscars fix global warming? No.

Does that mean I should stop complaining? No.

Really, I think its at times like these when speaking out on the little stuff is all the more important. If we don't, we will lose what we've been fighting for for decades. Why did we fight at all if we're going to give it up so easily? They want you to give up … don't make it so easy for them.

JPM2017 said...

Selective outrage all around in this post.

scottmc said...

The firestorm regarding Oscar nominations reminds me of when All-Star teams are announced in the various leagues. Usually there is a player or two who 'everyone' thinks should have made the team. It isn't enough to say so-and-so should have been named or nominated. You have to say who you would remove in order for that person to be included. In this case, which nominee would you remove to make room for Greta Gerwig?
A few years ago I would have been excited about whether Tom Hanks, Anthony Hopkins or Al Pacino would win for Best Supporting Actor. The winner would join the short list of actors with a Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor Oscar. But I am completely indifferent to the outcome.
Maybe the Academy should just increase the number of nominees in every category. They have almost doubled the number of Best Picture nominees, why not just have ten actors in each category. Have up to ten directors nominated. Screenwriters, editors, composers and costumers too.

Justin Russo said...

I'm not over the other Greta G. (yes, GARBO) losing to Luise Reiner in THAT is something to be in a tizzy over!

Anonymous said...

Once again, the older people of Hollywood are under the bus.

No discussion in this about them. Black, white, male, female, LGBGTQVWXYZ, nothing.

Remember when the Academy did their best to exclude them from voting eligibility so the "younger, more enlightened" members could right their wrongs? More likely it's because the older members couldn't "do" anything for the younger members career agendas.

That was the generation that fought for civil rights and started feminism. Those were the people who really suffered under the injustices, before they could wail to human resources and social media. They paved the way. You're welcome.

See the difference tossing those people aside did? Stench of hypocrasy.

As for the comment about Clint Eastwood's personal life and the way he treated women, you have GOT to be kidding.

I'm no big fan, nor a supporter of his politics, but if you are going to drag the treatment of women into the discussion, let's watch the Oscars for shots of actors, directors and superstars who have ducked the charges so far, and the front row where we can see multiple Oscar winners (and current nominees) who owe their careers to the relentless (and often shady) machinations of the ultimate pig, Harvey Weinstein.

But it's a good thing those old people are gone -- except for selected ones with connections -- because we can't have their outmoded behaviors (blacklisting, civil rights arrests, animal rights, suffering in the closet, pioneering feminists causes) to dirty our pristine, ceremony. Have another shrimp puff.

They aren;t worthy of the expensive gift bags, either.

Mike Doran said...

A few observations at random:

- My father was a lifelong union man: he always said that under no circumstances would he ever vote for a Republican for anything.
At the same time, Dad was what you might call a "social conservative", or Blue-Dog Democrat: my brother and I learned most of the prevailing ethnic slurs directly from him, as well as many of the less flattering racial stereotypes (this was years before the creation of Archie Bunker).
At the other same time, Dad was also a fan of all kinds of entertainment, in all forms:
It was Dad who introduced us kids to W. C. Fields, Zero Mostel, Monty Python, and any number of other comics who were not of his political beliefs,
Though not a fan of '60s youth movements, he still looked at more than a few of their films and TV - he'd comment, sometimes scathingly, but he'd still watch.
He didn't go to many movies in theaters (TV made that unnecessary), but he did take Mom out to see Jane Fonda in Klute, so make what you will of that (one example to serve for many).
Oh, and when All In The Family came on, Dad was a fan from the get-go (and if he felt he might have been the target, he never let on).
End of reminiscence - draw your own conclusions.

- As to "unfriending" this performer or that for supporting That Man In The White House:
For me, this is comparatively new.
I find Jon Voight's adoration of Mr. Trump inexplicable (and something that he will ultimately come to regret, but that's another story) - but that in no way changes that he is one of the best actors that this country has ever produced (again, one example to serve for many).
Often, I'll have read something about this or that performer, showing that person to have led a less than salutary private life - but should I cut off the work on that basis?
I do this on a case-by-case basis, and will continue to do so; all the rest of you - do what you will.

- I'm sensing the emergence of a new Golden Age of Blacklisting - which won't be limited to politics (on either side), religion (or lack thereof), sexuality (or lack thereof), or anything else you can name.
I have no answer to this, other than to go my own way as I always have, and let others do the same.
I don't have to like it, though …

Anthony Hoffman said...

Friday question: I was watching a YouTube video from a Supernatural convention panel where actress Jewel Staite talked about how you can tell if the main actor(s) are assholes based on how the crew acts. She mentioned how happy the crew on Supernatural is after years on the air but said she’s been on sets where the crew couldn’t wait to go home. Is their truth to this?

Thurston Montgomery said...

The same way Oscar's have an inherent bias to seldomly recognize Comedy or Horror only on rare occasions,rather then them being nefarious might they also have a blindspot or bias against films with Female Protaganists. I am pushing 40 and only 2 films(Chicago/Terms Of Endearment)in my lifetime have won BP without a male lead.It doesn't make the median Oscar voter sexist,it just mean's all things being equal when 75% of your voting body is men and in general as A society we deem many things more "important" male lead films have a subconscious advantage. Art after all is subjective,but when you have multiple well written,acted films in a year all things being equal your median Oscar voter will defer to the more "relatable" material which surprise is usually something with a middle aged man as lead.

Roger Owen Green said...

February 9/ I liked it when the Oscars were later, sometimes even in March some years. I make a point to TRY to see the best Pics nominees. I have seen five, and 1917 is currently playing, but sometimes local theaters will ring back films. (IN fact Jojo Rabbit is back in ALB; I saw that one.)

My broader point is that the academy Awards nominations should be used to encourage films to see, and when the window is so small, it's far more difficult. Our "art" theater would normally be showing the Shorts in mid-February, before a late Feb or March Oscars.