The annual Academy Awards ceremony went off with its usual grotesque and terrifying combination of pomp and blather last night. The main impression a visitor from Mars would get was, as always, equal parts egomania and self-satisfaction. The lectures from the award winners were as fatuous and arrogant as usual, most notably Best Supporting Actress award winner Patricia Arquette’s (Boyhood) adventure in economics and Best Picture, Director, and Original Screenplay winner Alejandro G. Inarritu’s (Birdman) diatribe on immigration.
Arquette regaled the gathered luminaries with her high moral dudgeon about the difference between male and female incomes, proclaiming, “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.” This brought a thunderous ovation from the audience of pampered movie “talents,” with particularly noticeable enthusiasm from Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez, both widely known for being woefully underpaid (note, sarcasm alert).
A logical person who is not entirely ignorant of economic statistics would know that the difference between male and female incomes disappears entirely when hours worked and years of experience are corrected for, as they must be if any sensible causal analysis is to be conducted, but apparently Arquette and the rest of the Hollywood luminaries in attendance skipped economics class during their college years and registered instead for Arrogant Political Elitism 101. It is evident that they all passed that course of study with highest honors.
At the end of the show—the blessed, blessed end—Inarittu informed the audience that he was an immigrant from Mexico, dedicated his Best Picture win to his fellow Mexicans, and said of the latter, “I just pray they can be treated with the same dignity and respect of the ones that came before and built this incredible, immigrant nation.”
Inarittu also called on Mexicans to “find and build a government that we deserve,” which would be a good thing indeed, and would be quite possilbe if the current corrupt government of that benighted nation were not so firmly entrenched in power thanks to its ruthless methods of control and rampant political corruption.
The notion that the very lawlessness that the Mexican government exudes might have something to do with there being millions of Mexicans illegally in this country was implicit in Inarittu’s wish for Mexico, but the irony of him calling upon the United States to endorse the lawlessness of millions of people who have fled their nation’s notorious lawlessness was perhaps too arch for even an extraordinarily perceptive film director to understand.
It was certainly too subtle for the theater audience to understand, and the punch-drunk TV audience can surely be forgiven for having nodded off by that time. I would be impressed by anyone who could stay awake during host Neil Patrick Harris final segment, in which he read a series of astoundingly unfunny and uninteresting predictions about the show which he had made and put into safekeeping last week.
Like the show as a whole, it was a perfectly Hollywood expression of narcissism, in its presumption that anyone cares about Harris’s opinions while awaiting the announcement of the Best Picture winner.
Speaking of which, Boyhood and Sniper should have won more awards, including Best Picture for one or both of them. How perfectly representative of today’s Hollywood that two such mature and intelligent films were also-rans throughout the night.