The nominations for the Academy Awards were released and, once again, Hollywood proved that it is nothing like the legacy it left in the rear view mirror. I can make my point with one, pertinent fact… In 1939, a majority of the top grossing motion pictures (Gone with the Wind, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Mr. Smith goes to Washington, Of Mice and Men, Stagecoach) were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. This year, ZERO of the top grossing films were nominated.
In a year where women’s issues are at the forefront in Hollywood, the only movie with a woman as the director, producer and star (WONDER WOMAN, hint hint) didn’t receive a single nomination. Why? Why? Why?
This is why I don’t watch the Academy Awards anymore. I don’t recognize half the movies, actors or actresses nominated. Some of these movies are independent releases with no showtimes in theaters around the country except in big cities. At one time, you would hear the songs nominated for best song on the radio. Now, I recognize one song on this list and its only because of the movie trailer (“This is Me” from The Greatest Showman).
Although they added a Best Animated Feature category, the top animated film in 2017 (Despicable Me 3) wasn’t nominated. I don’t even recognize two of the films nominated and one of the films (Ferdinand) wasn’t released until the very end of 2017. I just don’t get it.
I think this is one of the reasons I watch a lot of Turner Classic Movies. You can’t compare Hollywood of today to the Golden Age of Hollywood. There are a lot of the usual comparisons (womanizing, to make a point) but there is also a lot of class from that era you don’t see today. It’s a bygone era where Hollywood heroes enlisted to serve their country at war, entertained the troops not protested against them, and stood for something besides their own self worth.
Here’s a great example. In the old days of Hollywood, actors and actresses wouldn’t wear a bag over their head on the red carpet to make a political statement or wear a t-shirt emblazoned with the words “Poverty is Sexist” on it. Using award shows for politics is everyday today. Expect this year to be no exception, especially with President Trump in the White House. I think the best example of this is in 1973, when Vanessa Redgrave won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for Julia. She used her acceptance speech to get back at the “Zionist Hoodlums” who spoke out against her documentary, The Palestinian, which portrayed the Palestinian Liberation Organization in a sympathetic light.
She was followed by iconic author, playwright, and screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky. He said, “I would like to say — personal opinion, of course — that I am sick and tired of people exploiting the occasion of the Academy Awards for the propagation of their own personal political propaganda.” In 24 years, Hollywood still hasn’t learned anything. They’re only doing it louder via social media now.
So, as we follow the yellow brick road to “tinsel town” one more time, I hope that Hollywood had learned its lesson and go back to making the Academy Awards about the movies and us, the fans, not about themselves.
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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a book/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a book/ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon.