By TIM BARTO
It’s taken me a week to do so publicly, but I must confess that I watched the Academy Awards show last Sunday night. The nominated movies were a mystery to me as I’d only seen a handful of them, but my wife and I started a tradition back when we were still dating during the late 1980s and we wanted to keep it going. It consists of ordering the entire entrée section of a Chinese restaurant menu to go, then gorging ourselves for a few hours while watching the Oscars. This became a family tradition we’ve maintained with our children, and it’s evolved into more of a reason to get together for a meal and some conversation.
When I was growing up, the family got together to watch most of the big award shows and competitions – the Emmys, the Grammys, and the Miss America Pageant. We used to guess the winners and keep score. The Oscars is the only one of those to survive family traditions. (The Miss America Pageant – with apologies to Emma Broyles, the recently crowned, and first, winner from Alaska – wasn’t even televised this past year.)
Years ago, our Oscar night conversations revolved around the movies, the movie stars, and (for the gals) who was best and worst dressed. Most of those interests have worn off over the years, especially the last five years or so, as the premiere awards show in the world devolved into a wokefest for Hollywood elite, and the movies being considered for accolades were nominated more for matters of sexual and racial diversity than cinematic excellence.
Still, spending a Sunday evening chowing down on sodium-enriched Asian cuisine has been a good enough excuse to continue getting together and putting up with it all. A plate full of mushroom chicken is usually enough to distract one from the incessant attacks on conservatives and signaling of leftist virtues.
But after this past weekend’s show, it may just be Mongolian beef and conversation that keeps future gatherings going.
The big event, of course, was Will Smith walking on stage and slapping Chris Rock across the face over a joke about Smith’s wife, one at which Smith had originally laughed. The network censors pushed the mute button, resulting in 20 seconds of silence, leaving the television audience to wonder what was going on.
After slapping the comedian, Smith went back to his seat and yelled obscenities (the “F dash dash dash word,” as Ralphie Parker described it in “A Christmas Story”). Rock did his best to maintain his composure and introduce the next award, while Smith was allowed to remain in the auditorium . . . and then received heaps of applause when awarded a Best Actor statuette 40 minutes later and then cried through a rambling acceptance speech.
The resultant memes have been pretty funny, albeit exhaustive. But the slapdown was only part of the bizarre story on display in Hollywood that night.
Three female co-hosts, all of whom are considered comedians, provided squirm-worthy jokes, many of them directed towards evil conservatives instead of laughs. Audience members were encouraged to shout “gay” to let Floridians know that their proposed legislation to keep sexual indoctrination out of public schools in favor of topics like reading – what the Left has ridiculously-tagged as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill – was not to their liking. In another squirm-worthy bit, Wanda Sykes produced a partially shredded piece of paper and referred to it as voter registration form from the State of Texas.
We’ve come to expect that type of drivel from Hollywood, but there was another skit that exposed an amazing level of hypocrisy as well as squirminess. Co-hostess (I fully accept that using the suffix “ess” to denote a female fully reflects my complete lack of wokeness and makes me sexist) Regina Hall called a handful of handsome and, of course, ethnically diverse, actors onto the stage because they had failed their Covid tests. Hall let everyone know the men were to go backstage, take off their clothes, and have their throats swabbed by her tongue.
Then, just when we thought the bit was at its merciful end, Hall physically frisked presenters Josh Brolin and Jason Momoa, patting down and grabbing at them from the waist down. Woke women in the audience – most of whom, we can assume, have spent all kinds of energy decrying unwelcomed touching of females by males – laughed and applauded.
Would any of Hall’s antics have been allowed if she were a man and the people she called onto stage or and frisked were women? Not a chance. Absolutely no way. The PC police would have gone into hyperdrive. But when you’re woke, non-male, and non-white, you can get away with it.
Just two out of three of those criteria apparently allows a person to walk on stage and slap another person across the face, a display of “toxic masculinity” that would normally have the liberal elite crying for cancellation while gnashing their electronically-whitened teeth.
I miss the movies and the Hollywood of old. Men were men, women were women, and the Academy Awards honored the best of the art form.
Tim Barto is Vice President at Alaska Policy Forum, where team building consists of going bowling instead of the movie theater.