Even though we counted more than 10 separate references to Donald Trump (cutting out the very vague ones and counting Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue as “one”), Sunday’s Oscar ceremony was much less politically-charged than we expected. Could it be that after only a little more than a month, Hollywood is already bored with their favorite monster? Maybe it’s not so surprising. After all, these people are accustomed to storylines that play themselves out over the course of two hours. How long must these multimillionaires keep pretending that they actually care about any of this stuff?
We’re like everyone else, always telling these actors to sit down and shut up. Pointing out that the America they live in bears little or no resemblance to the one the rest of us inhabit. Ripping into them when they start deluding themselves into believing that, because they happen to be talented in front of a camera, they are therefore experts on political policy.
But we have to admit, we were a little disappointed. Jeez, give us a show, Hollywood. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to be good at? We tuned in wanting to see some drama go down, and we had to wait until ten minutes after midnight to finally get what we came for – and that didn’t even have anything to do with Trump!
Well, damn it, we won’t be robbed of our chance to be righteously indignant, so let’s at least discuss the few moments where Hollywood remembered that they had to warn America about President Doom.
We could probably start with the monologue, where Kimmel made some jokes about the “highly overrated” Meryl Streep, who then stood while the audience gave her a standing ovation. Kimmel’s jokes were amusing, but really, what else can you call Streep other than overrated? She could be the most talented actress who ever lived and she would STILL be overrated, because her peers treat her like she’s a living goddess. And now that she’s “martyred” herself before Trump, the deification has reached the point of absurdity.
The Academy president said something about art “having no borders,” actor Dev Patel made some reference to journalists under attack, and Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal said, “As a Mexican, as a Latin American, as a migrant worker, and as a human being, I’m against any form of wall that wants to separate us.”
The only moment where Hollywood’s A-List appeared even slightly interested in protesting Trump came when Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s “The Salesman” won Best Foreign Language Film. Farhadi boycotted the Oscars and a statement was read to the audience on his behalf.
“I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight,” Farhadi said in the statement. “My absence is out of respect for the people of my country. Dividing the world into the ‘us’ and ‘our enemies’ category creates fear, a deceitful justification for aggression and war. These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which have themselves been victims of aggression.”
Finally, some juice! An Iranian preaching to America about democracy and human rights! The crowd goes wild!
Meh, it’s too little, too late. You lost us, ye brave soldiers of Tinseltown.
Oh, and whether you give Best Picture to Moonlight or La La Land, we maintain that Hell or High Water was totally robbed. “Sad.”