Why we should cancel the Oscars
HOLLYWOOD is in a tizzy about what to do about next year's Oscars.
If the ceremony goes on as planned, everything about it is going to remind us of the Pervnado that has left Tinseltown reeling.
Any appearances by former child stars are going to make us think about the allegations of widespread paedophilia made by Corey Feldman. Quentin Tarantino, Matt Damon, George Clooney and many others have been tarnished by not speaking out about sexual predator and alleged rapist Harvey Weinstein, with whom all of them have worked.
Any woman making a speech will feel pressured to denounce the industry for its injustices, while those who don't will appear complicit in them.
Can Casey Affleck, last year's Best Actor winner, possibly present Best Actress this year when everyone is thinking about the sexual-harassment lawsuits he settled with two colleagues, one of whom alleged that he crept into bed with her while she was asleep?
As the Twitter user "Neontaster" put it recently, in lieu of the usual In Memoriam segment, the Oscars will have to go with an "In Molestiam" montage instead.
Various proposed alternatives for how to deal with the herd of rampaging elephants in the room aren't going to work.
Ignoring the scandal, as host Jimmy Kimmel announced he intends to do in his act, is no longer an option. Joking about the various sickening revelations is also not going to cut it: That would only remind people how many times, at previous shindigs, comics from Seth MacFarlane to Tina Fey referred to vile behaviour without actually sharing the details of what they knew. How about changing the subject by taking on the NRA or going, "Yay, women" as Weinstein suggested in his statement after the first batch of allegations against him arrived? No dice.
The next Academy Awards needs a big, bold statement. A true Hollywood ending to rescue them all. And one obvious solution presents itself: It's time to cancel the Oscars.
True, not every man in Hollywood has so far been shown to be implicated - only most of them. But since when does La La Land grant any other industry such fine distinctions? Painting people - or entire industries or political parties or even economic systems - as heroes or villains has been moviedom's go-to move since its earliest days. Lumping large groups together is essential in creating a mass enemy.
There's a film in theatres right now called Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri that is likely to receive a slew of Oscar nominations.
Its defining moment arrives when a grieving mother (Frances McDormand) of a woman who has been raped and murdered berates a Catholic priest because, she says, if you apply the logic of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations law against it, everyone in the Church should be considered individually guilty for being part of an organisation involved in a paedophile scandal.
This is the stand-up-and-cheer moment of Three Billboards, so why shouldn't such thinking be applied to Hollywood? Especially since this week an anonymous complaint filed in California federal court alleged that Weinstein's acts constitute actual RICO violations and dubbed his habits the "Weinstein Sexual Enterprise."
Yet for decades, the movie industry has tried to persuade us that, as Weinstein put it in 2009, "Hollywood has the best moral compass, because it has compassion."
Surely the only gesture Hollywood could make this year to begin to rebuild trust in its compass would be to reverse its usual custom of telling us how racist, homophobic, xenophobic, hypocritical and materialistic we are and start admitting how bad they are. What better way to sincerely express remorse than to give up what it loves most - the Oscar ceremony itself?
Instead of holding the Oscars, Hollywood should declare March 4, 2018, a day of atonement and announce that every guilty person in the industry, including every perverted male filmmaker preying on women and potted plants, and every member of the industry who remained silent because they didn't want to jeopardise their chances of being cast in the next X-Men movie, will be spending the weekend in quiet contemplation.
Instead of swathing themselves in Armani and Bulgari, they can stay home and take a knee. Instead of lining up to get into the Governor's Ball and the Vanity Fair party, they can think about how to be better people and start turning their minds to the big follow-up Oscar ceremony in 2019.
And how will that one be produced?
It should be just like the usual Academy Awards night: glitz, glamour, gladhanding. Except with one difference: This time, and forever after, sanctimonious preaching at the Oscars should be banned. Hollywood has been lecturing us from on high for long enough.
Now that we know how shabbily they behave toward one another, they should stop criticising the rest of us.
This story originally appeared in the NY Post and is republished here with permission.