The Oscars and Other Travesties

It is once again that time of year when we are told that a billion people around the world will be tuned in to see which of the over-hyped movies and actors get to take home Academy Awards. My wife will be tuned in because she likes to see what everyone is wearing and I’ll be watching because I enjoy seeing the winners trying to act humble and I get a kick out of watching the losers pretend to be good sports.

The fact of the matter is that as with most elections, the winners have to spend a king’s ransom advertising. For months, the same people who will go on stage and pretend they are unworthy have been waging war in the Hollywood trade papers.

This year, there’s been a lot of static over the fact that Kathryn Bigelow, who directed Zero Dark Thirty, wasn’t nominated for an Academy Award, even though the movie was. As a result, as happens whenever a woman appears to have been slighted, we have been hearing from the usual suspects that sexism reigns in Hollywood.

The dopes ignore a few salient points. For one thing, although they are now nominating 10 movies for Best Picture, they continue to only nominate five directors. Therefore, if one were to say that if it was an injustice in her case, it was equally so for Ben Affleck, whose Argo was nominated, while he wasn’t. For another thing, how is it that if the Academy is now riddled with sexists, it wasn’t two short years ago when they actually gave Bigelow the Oscar for the mediocre Hurt Locker. Is it possible that the Academy been over-run with right-wingers? And if so, why wasn’t I invited to join the coup?

We had the same scenario when Barbra Streisand wasn’t nominated as Best Director for The Prince of Tides, and outraged feminists –there being no other kind! – ignored the fact that she had been given an Oscar for the very forgettable song, “Evergreen.”

Back in 1958, David Niven won the Best Actor Oscar, Wendy Hiller won as Best Supporting Actress and Deborah Kerr was nominated as Best Actress. What’s more, the movie they all appeared in, Separate Tables, was nominated as one of the five Best Pictures. In spite of all that, its director, my friend, Delbert Mann, was not nominated. To his credit, he didn’t whine about it. He was disappointed, but he didn’t complain that the Academy members had it in for guys born in Kansas.

It seems to be a constant complaint that when women don’t win any award they might have a shot at, it’s because of blatant sexism. And when they do win, it’s based on recognition of their sheer genius, even when there might be more women than men casting ballots on both occasions.

It reminds me of the black college basketball coach who, after several losing seasons, was let go a few years back, and accused the university of racism, ignoring the obvious fact that it was the very same institution that had hired him in the first place.

Only the folks who hand out the Nobel Peace Prize make as many bad decisions as the members of the Motion Picture Academy. These are the folks, let us never forget, who decided that “Sweet Leilani” was a better song than “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and that “Three Coins in the Fountain” was better than “The Man That Got Away.”

They gave Oscars to the likes of The Greatest Show on Earth, The English Patient, The Deer Hunter, Driving Miss Daisy and Platoon, but never even nominated Roxanne, My Cousin Vinny, Hail the Conquering Hero, Singin’ in the Rain or Groundhog Day.

These are the very same goofballs who have given not one, but two Oscars, to Sean Penn, Tom Hanks and Jane Fonda, but none to Irene Dunne, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, William Powell, Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter or Preston Sturges, and never even got around to nominating Joseph Cotton, Steve Martin or Edward G. Robinson.

This year, the biggest blemish on the Oscars had nothing to do with Kathryn Bigelow. It’s the fact that they, who saw fit to bestow Oscars on Michael Moore and Al Gore, for such left-wing crapola as Bowling for Columbine and An Inconvenient Truth, respectively, never even had 2016 on their short list of 15 documentaries worthy of consideration.

One thing for certain is that on Oscar night, when one recipient after another rushes on stage, and with the sort of cloying humility that made Charles Dickens’ Uriah Heep so singularly obnoxious, insists that they are undeserving of such an honor, I’ll be sitting home, echoing their sentiments.

©2013 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write BurtPrelutsky@aol.com.

Author Bio:

Burt Prelutsky, a very nice person once you get to know him, has been a humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine. As a freelancer, he has written for the New York Times, Washington Times, TV Guide, Modern Maturity, Emmy, Holiday, American Film, and Sports Illustrated. For television, he has written for Dragnet, McMillan & Wife, MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, Bob Newhart, Family Ties, Dr. Quinn and Diagnosis Murder. In addition, he has written a batch of terrific TV movies. View Burt’s IMDB profile. Talk about being well-rounded, he plays tennis and poker... and rarely cheats at either. He lives in the San Fernando Valley, where he takes his marching orders from a wife named Yvonne and a dog named Angel.
Author website: http://www.burtprelutsky.com/
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1097080802 Dan Griffin

    My favorite part was the appearance of William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk. And I loved the “We saw your boobs”song :-)

  • NebraskaTPP

    Just thinking about the liberal ding dongs getting attention like the Oscars are the most important thing in the world, actually turns my stomach. When you see these celebrities on the game show Jeopardy, you realize just how dumb they are about the real world. Finally Jeopardy had to change its celebrity guest trend and include half of the questions being from the entertainment world. I guess the celebrities agents realized how exposed their clients were on the show. Like claiming the Earth is 25 million miles around. Funny how the majority of them are that DUMB.

    • Burt Prelutsky

      TPP: But how smart do you think anyone has to be in order to dress up in other people’s clothes, read other people’s lines and be told how to walk and talk by a director? Still, I am willing to bet that the people who will win Oscars tonight are at least as intelligent as Patty Murray, Barbara Boxer, Charley Rangel and Sheila Jackson Lee. And let us not forget Rep. William Jefferson who was worried that Guam would tip over if too many sailors and their families were sent there.

      Burt

  • Trappedincalifornia

    2016 was the first movie my husband and I saw in a movie theater in over a decade. We used to enjoy going to the movies, but there is not anything we want to see anymore and we won’t be watching the Oscars. Wish they would make more films like 2016 and if it were up for Best Documentary we would even watch the Oscars despite the all the anti-American jerks attending the awards show.

    • Burt Prelutsky

      Trapped: There are usually a few good movies every year. So you’ve probably missed 30-35 decent movies since you last went. But perhaps you caught them on TV.

      Burt

  • http://www.facebook.com/todd.zaino Todd Zaino

    Obama has won a Nobel Peace prize he certainly didn’t deserve…why not a Best Actress for the Oscars this weekend?

  • West Virginia Matt

    Mr. Prelutsky, with all due disrespect, I’m surprised that someone of your intellect would be willing to waste time witnessing the over-glorified getting further over-glorified via America’s greatest popularity contest. By and large the Hollywood elites represent the most shallow set of values imaginable. By their actions they are teaching our children that ignorance, self-indulgence, laziness, and narcissism should be embraced, while it’s perfectly acceptable to jettison honesty, pursuit of education, personal responsibility, and integrity. Image is everything; being internally hollow is OK as long as you look good on the outside. They make a complete mockery of marriage. In their Bible, the love of money is the root of all that is good and pure.

    Someone recently wrote an article about the current “dumbing down” of America. I disagree with the author; I view that phenomena in past tense. Hollywood has cranked out entertainment for the moron masses for decades, and the morons have multiplied. Swarms of idiots who have no understanding of history or civics came out en masse to vote for Joe Cool in November because that’s what their favorite celeb told them to do.

    My wife and I rarely see movies, not because we don’t like them but because we’re anti-celebrity. We choose not to spend our dollars to support an industry that sacrifices traditional beliefs on the altar of political correctness. Maybe I’m just old-school. But as an adult I find myself rooting against the favorite team of my childhood – the Los Angeles Lakers – just to see Jack Nicholson and the other Hollywood losers cringe at their dismal 25-29 record.

    • Burt Prelutsky

      Matt: I get my laughs where I can find them. And I find a lot to laugh at during the Oscars.

      Burt

  • sheila0405

    The whole Kathryn Bigelow issue has more to do with the subject of waterboarding than sexism. Apparently the liberals in Hollywood are grateful that OBL is dead, but still upset that conservatives credit waterboarding as a contributing factor in the location of OBL. So, they nominate the film but take a swipe at the director. May I say that I don’t care? Hollywood has become so enamored of itself that I don’t pay much attention to the whole Oscar thing anymore. It’s who you know, or how much money you spend, or your personal politics, which determines the outcome, not real talent.

    • Burt Prelutsky

      Sheila: Every so often there’s a surprise. Last year, my personal choices (“The Artist” and its star, a Frenchman named DuGardin) won as Best Picture and Best Actor, putting the partial lie to your last sentence.

      Burt

      • sheila0405

        So, should I watch the Oscars? Which is your pick for Best Picture? I haven’t seen any of the nominated films. I’m waiting for “Lincoln” to come out on DVD.

        • Burt Prelutsky

          Sheila: There were no great movies in 2012. My favorites were “Bernie,” “Thin Ice,” “Trouble with the Curve,” “2016” and “Silver Linings Playbook.” As only the last named was nominated, I would pull for it, but I know “Lincoln,” which I didn’t care for, will win.

          Burt

          • Burt Prelutsky

            Sheila: I keep hearing that “Argo” is the favorite, but that seems very unlikely to me. It has happened that the Best Director Oscar goes to someone who didn’t direct the Best Picture Oscar winner, but I don’t think the Best Picture Oscar has won when its director wasn’t even nominated. And as Ben Affleck wasn’t nominated, my money remains on “Lincoln,” a second-rate movie at best.

            Burt

  • http://www.facebook.com/todd.zaino Todd Zaino

    Can’t stand this liberal-lovefest of a so-called awards show. Like being caught in a Toyota Prius, or a Smartcar…this show screams…I am clueless, I am a flamming liberal, and I will never grow up. I used to love how the liberals who gave speeches all tried to out-liberal one another…blood coming out of my ears kind of pain! Burt, I love your essays-keep up the excellent work.

    • Burt Prelutsky

      Todd: I will watch the Oscars for the same reasons I sat through the State of the Union address. One, I feel it’s my responsibility to keep an eye on these people; two, I always get a few laughs out of their attempts to appear humble.

      Burt

      • Wheels55

        I enjoy the music that plays louder and louder when the winner runs over in time. The best acceptance speeches are the ones that only say “Thank you to all that supported me. Good Night.”

        • Burt Prelutsky

          I like it when they make me laugh, as Sally Field did when she insisted that the Academy members liked her, really liked her.

          Burt

      • http://www.facebook.com/todd.zaino Todd Zaino

        Burt, the humble part I find funny too…I love the split screen when they show the people who didn’t win…great acting at times if you ask me. As an educator I know that I should perhaps watch all SOTU addresses…this year considering the Nov sixth election results…I couldn’t stand to see Barry and smugness, this year I watched college basketball and some NHL while Obama took his bows, and told his lies.

        • Burt Prelutsky

          Todd: You didn’t miss anything. Besides, I was there for you.

          Burt

        • http://1389blog.com/ 1389AD

          Speaking of the nasty Hollywood left: Notice how many of them appear on THIS hall of shame!

    • http://1389blog.com/ 1389AD

      @facebook-100003537128254:disqus , you’ve got that right. I don’t watch award shows for the reasons you stated, and for many other reasons as well: Because these shows are a slow-motion bore-fest, because I’m not that big of a movie-goer to begin with, because the elections for such awards are nearly as corrupt as the “real” elections that happen in the body politic here in the USA, and because I have other uses for my time.

  • jmiky

    Personally Burt, I won’t be watching the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys. To me they are nothing more than popularity contests, which go to whomever has an in with the particular voters. Not to mention that I haven’t seen their movies or really care to. If that makes me a simpleton so be it.

    • Burt Prelutsky

      Hardly a simpleton, jmiky. But how do our political elections differ in any way from those other contests you mentioned?

      Burt

      • http://1389blog.com/ 1389AD

        They don’t.

        • Burt Prelutsky

          Exactly.

          Burt