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22 Feb, 2019 10:19

Woke and broke: Oscars resort to purging rather than risking going off script

Woke and broke: Oscars resort to purging rather than risking going off script

The Oscars is upon us, where people full of plastic will be rewarded for being good at pretending. The only real tension comes from waiting to find out which fake scandal will be cooked up at the ceremony this year.

The organizers now live in a such a state of fear of causing offence that it’s going ahead without a host this year. Comedian Kevin Hart was going to take on the low-reward, high-risk gig, but someone unearthed homophobic tweets he’d sent back in 2010, so that was the end of that, and he stepped down.

In some ways, I was impressed how ahead of his time Hart was. There can’t have been many people who had spotted Twitter’s potential for bigotry all the way back in 2010!

Personally, I’m waiting for a remake of ‘Back to the Future’ where, after being sacked over an inappropriate photograph taken decades earlier, Marty McFly takes his DeLorean back in time to burn all the copies of his high-school yearbook and assassinate the inventors of Twitter. Now THAT would be a film deserving of an Oscar.

Anyway, I digress. The response from the organizers of the Oscar committee over Hart’s decision to step down in the face of the now-familiar public outrage was not to replace him, but to have no host at all. That is a reaction in the best traditions of freedom of expression; if you can’t find someone to say the right thing just purge the position altogether. It’s an authoritarian tactic that has always worked so well in the past.

Instead we’ll be treated to a string of actors presenting individual awards in a way they do best, reading the words from a script. That’s the official script, not the unwritten one which everyone is expected to know off by heart so as not to offend.

As we know, making sure not to offend is much more important than freedom to think or speak, and much more prized than putting on something entertaining. However, the rules that must be followed are so byzantine, even the masters of ‘woke’ who put together the ceremony sometimes get carried away.

For example, probably having realized the Oscars was on course to be even more mind-numbingly inane than normal, they concluded that they could speed the whole thing along by not showing the awards for cinematography, film editing, makeup/hairstyling, and live-action short in the live broadcast. It was the right decision, because only about a dozen people care about them, the artists who win usually wear awful outfits and they’re not trained to deliver speeches.

However, the producers of the ceremony forgot that you can’t just leave people out! Making entertaining TV pales in comparison to the importance of being on message.

The Oscars ceremony is now a bizarre bellwether of whatever social justice debates are happening. The media pounces on anything off-message and runs with it, the winners treat the thing like a political rally, and Bruce Willis has still never won a golden statuette.

I’ve always thought that if you’re getting cues on behavior from a group of genetically fortunate millionaires in designer outfits who have been botoxed to oblivion in case they have to thank their pet Pomeranian for giving them the inspiration to play a mentally ill rocket scientist; well, then you may need to reevaluate your priorities.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.