I’ve written a fair amount about my lack of interest in movies. To rehash, I rarely watch movies today and I don’t care about any of them. Earlier in my life, I did care about them. I don’t know why I cared about movies so much in the past. I don’t know why so many people care about them today.
Yet it’s fairly obvious that many people do care about movies, including adults of at least moderate intelligence. Today the nominations for the Academy Awards were announced, and big headlines arrived declaring the fact at virtually every publication in the country. Apparently the movies with the most nominees are Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel. I don’t know when the Academy Awards actually will take place, but I do know that they will be a typical celebration of hubris and empty nonsense. Vast amounts of money will be spent on preparations. Vast amounts of talking will focus on how women at the ceremony are dressed, and somewhat smaller amounts will focus on the movies and the awards. Most paid commentators will be content to pour out streams of utterly predictable pablum, which could probably be produced by a computer at much lower cost. Others will bend over backwards to put their own personal spin on why the Oscars matter a lot.
As an example of the later, try reading this article: Why It Matters that Wild Wasn’t Nominated for Best Picture. Slate’s Dan Kois laments, at considerable length, the fact that while Reese Witherspoon was nominated for her role in the movie Wild, the movie itself wasn’t nominated for best picture. And he asserts, without even a sliver of evidence, that this is because the Oscars snub movies focused on women: “there among the Best Actress nominees is Reese Witherspoon, one of this year’s crop of great actresses giving performances good enough to be nominated for Best Actress, but not telling stories important enough, as far as the academy is concerned, to be nominated for Best Picture”.
Now some people might have thought that the Academy gives out nominations based on artistic merit, rather than the importance of the stories. Indeed, some might think that that’s the whole point of the spiel. Mr. Kois obviously doesn’t think so. To him, it goes without saying that if the Academy doesn’t give his preferred movie a best picture nomination, it must be because of sexism.
This sort of thing has happened before. In 2006, for instance, Brokeback Mountain was nominated for Best Picture but narrowly lost out to Crash. Brokeback was about gay cowboys, while the main selling point for Crash was that it contained the word “f*ck” 99 times. Many people believed that Brokeback was the favorite going into the ceremony. When Crash crashed the party, some proclaimed directly that only homophobia could explain why anyone would fail to vote for Brokeback. Roger Ebert wrote this excellent article on the topic.
Such explosions of hatred are perfect demonstrations of how many in the liberal media think. The claims are flatly untrue; there is no reason to believe that anyone voted against Wild because of sexism or Brokeback because of homophobia. They are nasty, imputing bad motives to people who have done nothing wrong. They are narcissistic, assuming that just because the writer views everything through a lens of gender and sex, everything else must do. They toss out any consideration of artistic merit. They are, in short, Hollywood at its most normal.