The Oscars

February 23, 2017

Most Republicans expect that Sunday’s Oscars will be wall-to-wall Trump bashing, because why wouldn’t a celebration of movies be a perfectly appropriate place to harangue viewers with your leftwing political opinions? (When you’re done with that, why not also list all the foods you hate before saying thanks to your agent? Because we all care just as much.) But as with the Grammy Awards, I have to wonder if anyone in show business understands the damage they’re doing to their own industries.

Both music and movies are facing falling revenues and stiff competition due to file sharing, video games, and a thousand other cuts bleeding their traditional business models dry. Yet when they’re presented with an annual three-hours of prime commercial time to sell their wares, they take it as an opportunity to make divisive, insulting political comments that insure at least half their potential audience will change the channel. Or else turn off the TV entirely and spend the rest of the evening making out their celebrity boycott lists.

If they do, chances are they won’t miss much that they care about, anyway. A Hollywood Reporter poll found that even with NINE “Best Picture” nominees to choose from (were there really that many good movies this year?), only about a third of Americans could name even one. If Hollywood studios don’t want to go the way of the prehistoric fossils in the LaBrea Tar Pits, they should take the advice of someone they seem to respect, Woody Allen. In his movie “Stardust Memories,” he plays a successful comic who now makes pretentious art films that nobody wants to see. In a dream, he meets space aliens and starts asking them about God and human suffering. They reply, “If you want to do mankind a real service, tell funnier jokes.”

All the Oscar participants should take the advice of Woody Allen’s aliens. Instead of rending your garments over your political angst (those are expensive duds, and the designers want them back), stick to the point and open with a joke. That might keep millions of Republicans from turning off the Oscars. Unless they’re nothing but Trump jokes, which I fully expect them to be.

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