The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on March 18:
In all the years that U.S. Armed Forces were fighting in Vietnam, and when hundreds of soldiers were dying every week, the Academy never curtailed any part of its annual Oscar ceremonies because of it. Now we have a war in that the U.S. will almost certainly prevail, and in which there will probably be only a small number of U.S. casualties. Yet the Academy gets all somber on us.
In Hollywood, if you can fake sincerity, you’ve got it made!
Is this the beginning of a “major war”? I didn’t get that memo. I think, in times of minor war, people should be able to distract themselves by watching movie stars wearing bizarre designer clothes be accosted by Joan Rivers. It’s amusing and diverting in such troubled times, no?
But seriously, I really do enjoy the Oscars for its voyeuristic escapism. I’m a big movie buff and I’ve seen almost everything that’s nominated this year, so I was looking forward to the Oscars. I’m kinda bummed that it’s going to be curtailed b/c Hollywood needs to feel it’s being properly sober and faintly disapproving of our police action in Iraq.
My theory, and others with which I’ve discussed this subject agree, is that the Academy is mostly afraid that the red carpet could be turned into a huge anti-war protest either by the performers themselves, or by the crowds who gather around the red carpet. The Academy does not want the pre-show turned into a giant ugly scene of screaming activists battling police, or an endless series of interviews in which celebrities tell Joan Rivers why they dislike the President and his actions.
Of course the Academy wants to put the most positive and patriotic spin on its actions, hence the rhetoric about the world situation.
Yeah, that would turn the Oscars from a four-hour show into an eight-hour show. Or maybe even longer. I can see it now…
“We’re here on our coverage of day three of Conflict: Oscars. In a few minutes the 50th has-been celebrity will condemn the US action in Iraq. No word yet as to when we’ll get to the Best Picture award and this’ll all be over.”
I think the fact that we have minute-by-minute coverage of this war makes a difference. In Vietnam, there was some coverage directly from the front lines, but it was generally restricted to the newshour. Now, one could channel surf between the Oscars and bombs dropping live on the heads of all those Iraqi movie fans. Not a very tasteful image, and certainly not a way to get advertisers to sign on for big bucks.
They’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t. If they have a Red Carpet they’d get accused of being frivolous. If they cut out the Red Carpet they get accused of being pretentious.
If they beef up security they get accused of being worried about nothing. If they don’t, and something happens, there would be hell to pay.
If they speak out (pro or con) about the war, people ask who cares what they think? If they say nothing, they get accused of not caring and living their own trivial little lives without a thought about what’s happening in the world.
If they go they’re accused of this, if they stay home they’re accused of that.
There’s no correct way to handle this, though to some people (have you read the Yahoo Message Boards?) a nuke on Hollywood on Sunday would be about right.
My take is that they should postpone the Oscars, if only so I won’t have to miss any of it for “Updates” and “Breaking News” interrupting a show that will NOT be repeated.