Flat White

It’s almost as if the Academy focus-grouped how to make the public hate the Oscars more

10 September 2020

1:00 PM

10 September 2020

1:00 PM

I will continue to not watch the Academy Awards after it was announced this week that inclusion, rather than artistic merit, would determine whether a movie could be considered for Best Picture. 

A movie that does not use the requisite number of women, LGBT or non-white people –- no matter how brilliant –- will be ruled ineligible for Best Picture under new rules to apply from 2024.

So the Oscar for Best Picture will not go to the best film but to the best woke.

Expect a headline in 2024 along the lines of: “Tarantino film hailed as ‘instant classic’ by critics is ruled ineligible for Oscars due to inexplicable lack of transgender double amputee Pacific Islanders in cast.”Preview (opens in a new tab)

Under new rules for Best Picture eligibility, films must meet at least two of four benchmarks. They include featuring actors from minority groups in significant roles or accounting for at least 30% of the cast. Similar criteria exist for those working behind the scenes. 

It’s not yet clear whether the rules will be applied to Hollywood’s sexual predators, requiring them to make sexual advances to people of all races and with all kinds of disabilities. 

Nor is it clear whether the criteria will be expanded to include other categories such as Best Actor which could be replaced with Best Nonbinary in a Diversity Hire Film.

The new rules signal a move away from entertaining audiences toward collecting people based on their skin colour and/or genitalia.

We can only imagine the 2024 awards ceremony : “The Academy Award for Best Picture – a film starring three lesbians, a bi-sexual and a couple of gays and featuring a production team comprising three Asians, a black South African in a wheelchair and a half Italian/half Indonesian who identifies as a unicorn – goes to …”

The name of the film will not be heard for the sound of Hollywood millionaires cheering at the outstanding level of inclusion.

But that won’t matter because few people ever remember which film won Best Picture as it is, and even fewer people actually bother to see it.

Critics will enthuse: “It cost $100m to make, tanked at the box office and scored just 18% on Rotten Tomatoes – but it had the highest number of victim group members of any film this year! Eight Oscars!”

The Academy announced Tuesday that, prior to the 2024 Oscars, movie makers will have to submit a confidential “inclusion standard” form detailing which minority groups were employed in the making of their film.

So a remake of the 1994 Best Picture, Schindler’s List, would need to be accompanied by a Schindler’s Intersectional List to even be considered in 2024.

This is not the first time people have dictated what must be included in art. A particularly uptight German tried it in the 1940s, as did a murderous Russian. Movies were not improved. 

Who knows — maybe Hollywood could use a yellow star to mark a certain ethnicity, or a pink triangle to indicate sexual orientation.

Hollywood studios will be patrolled by inclusion and equity inspectors checking who is on set to ensure representation compliance.

“Show us your papers. Schnell!”

You can bet that filmmakers who fail to meet the inclusion standards will be made to attend the Academy Awards ceremony and confess their bigotry.

Inclusion is nice but mandatory genetic check-ins before rewarding art is creepy as hell. And rewarding chromosomes over merit is just wrong.

Excluding someone on the basis of skin colour is, of course, racist. But considering someone on the basis of skin colour is also racist. So Best Supporting Racist Award goes to … the Academy.

Fighting racism and gender inequality by choosing employees based on their skin colour and gender makes as much sense as cancelling cinematic excellence in favour of feelings.

People do not want to be preached at by adult pretenders, they want to be entertained.

The Oscars was already a night when a mostly useless group of people gather together in a room to tell each other how absolutely fabulous they are and how absolutely awful the people they think are watching them are.

The live television audience for the Academy Awards was at an all-time low last year. Rebranding the event the Affirmative Action Awards — where a diversity check is prioritised over character development and story – will surely continue that downward trend.

Imagine losing a ton of money because of Covid-19 and then saying: “How can we devour ourselves even more? I know, let’s enforce strict identity-based quotas for film making because telling great stories and delivering astounding performances just isn’t enough.”

It’s almost as if they focus-grouped how to make the public hate the Oscars more. 

The Academy are happy to be rid of us, and we are increasingly happy to be rid of them.

We now await news that, as of 2024, songs will only be Grammy-eligible if at least 73.5% of the instruments used to record them were made by left-handed gender-fluid Pacific Islanders with club feet and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Art is no longer about art. It’s about feelings.

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