It’s a volatile mix, politics and Hollywood. And I don’t think the jury is in with a verdict that when the two do get together, it’s a barrel of laughs for everyone, or even necessary. I’m remembering the McCarthy era, a period that stifled, or outright killed the careers of some noted names in the arts. Maybe that’s why I’m thinking of Goodfella’s, or more so a line from the movie.
It comes from Ray Liotta after his character and Jimmy (Robert DeNiro) find out Tommy (Joe Pesci) was killed. Henry remarks, “It was between the Italians, it was real greaseball shit.” We substitute actors for Italians and Hollywood for greaseball and we’re right on target with the number one reason why we as consumers should stay the hell out of the whole thing. In other words leave Hollywood to itself.
It comes down to perspectives of art and work. On the one hand, actors are artists and they want recognition for their craft; the depth of their understanding of the part they’re playing and the technique they use to bring it forth. On the other, they want to be paid. In fact, they’re paid handsomely and the additional reward is the adulation of peers in the form of that renowned and coveted 8.5 pound, 13.5 inch 24-karat gold-plated statue.
So for me, it’s self-serving for an actor to feel anything other than suitably diplomatic in the event of an Academy snub. Now once they’re home and the curtains are drawn, they can, and probably do, vent about how so-and-so sucked in the role and how they could’ve done a much better job had they been given the part but I’m of a mind the cardinal sin is, or should be, never to air dirty linen-aka bitch-in conjunction with the public. They should be saying; this is our thing. (Why am I on a gangster tip here?)
The call for boycott itself is peculiar. It seems to me a better, more tactical approach would be an embargo of the film rather than the award ceremony. Of course, doing so means you’re attempting to take money that you worked hard to earn and smacking it right out of your own mouth. Still, a successful protest of that like would surely have gotten the Academy’s attention.
And then there’s us, we the people, the consumer. If we allow politics to shade our love of film, we stand the risk of fomenting points of view that eventually deny us the ability to enjoy movies. It’s hard to sit through a film if you don’t like the star. And nothing will make you dislike somebody quicker than if you begin to disagree with and then despise their politics.
It’s why I can’t watch much Woody Allen today. I used to love him, love his movies then I got caught up in his drama with Mia and Soon-Yi, started feeling a certain way about the whole thing, rather than keeping it at bay in my mind and BAM! Now I can’t enjoy Sleeper anymore.
As a lover of classic films, I don’t dwell on why major stars didn’t get together to promote more black actors back in the early days of film. I don’t ask myself if they had black friends or if they invited black acquaintances to dinner. I love the film. I’m happy that the industry recognized the accomplishments of those that they did and has made the strides that it has. Of course, there’s always room for improvement.
It seems that every few years the Academy has to be reminded of its awards unevenness. They’ll look within themselves and address the issue but unfortunately in the years to come, it might require another recap. But you know what? That’s Hollywood; and there’s nothing we can do about it. (There I go again.)
As diversity goes, the African-American community has bigger fish to fry than whether or not Spike Lee or Will Smith is either getting the glamour of an Oscar. I mean, do such considerations help inner city kids get a better public school education? Does it stave off childhood hunger in America? I got another one: You think if we get it so they can more readily achieve Oscar that it’ll stop the types of abuses that has Flint Michigan literally high and very dry and possibly brain-damaged? Let me know what you think on that one.
There is one final thing; a personal thing. Maybe they just didn’t like your film, Spike, did you think of that? Sorry Jada but maybe, the Academy didn’t appreciate the nuances of your husband’s dialect and thought he should’ve done his homework a little better. I don’t know; I’m just saying. It is, after all, about what they like, isn’t it? Besides, you get snubbed this year, there’s always the next one or the next one. But in the case of those that butt heads with the Academy, I remember their memory being pretty damn long.
What do we care. We’re the consumers and that’s real Hollywood…you get the picture.