Well, it’s finally happened. The vaunted Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – long accused of rewarding mediocrity – has officially given up any pretense of being a standard of quality in the film community. The Academy has hired douchebag hack director Brett Ratner, a man who normally wouldn’t be allowed within a mile of the Oscars ceremony, to produce next year’s telecast. What the hell is happening out there in Hollywood these days?
This comes hot on the heels of news that the Academy will also be awarding Oprah Winfrey with an honorary Oscar at the same ceremony, despite the fact that she has next to nothing to do with filmmaking or the film industry. Oprah has only ever acted in three movies (‘The Color Purple’ in 1985, ‘Native Son’ in 1986 and ‘Beloved’ in 1998), plus a couple of cameo voice-acting roles in animated films like ‘Bee Movie’ and ‘The Princess and the Frog’. True, she has produced two movies that were Oscar nominated (‘Beloved’ for costume design and ‘Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire and Produced by the All-Powerful Media Goddess Known as The Oprah’ for a bunch of stuff it didn’t deserve), but that hardly seems like sufficient qualifications for her own Oscar.
Even if it is just the Humanitarian Award, the criteria for the Jean Hersholt prize state that it’s intended for an “individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.” While Oprah may have done her share of laudable humanitarian work, she simply isn’t a part of the motion picture industry. She is, of course, a dominant force on television and one of the most beloved persons on the planet. This seems like a painfully transparent attempt to pander for TV ratings.
Obviously, ratings are exactly what the Oscar telecast desperately needs to shore up. The ceremony’s viewership has been declining in recent years, and wasn’t helped at all by this past spring’s broadcast hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway, which received some scathing notices from both TV critics and viewers.
For some reason, the Academy thinks that the solution is to let the director of such shitty movies as the ‘Rush Hour‘ franchise and ‘X-Men: The Last Stand‘ take over. In regard to taking on the job, Ratner said: “I think comedy is the key… That’s the most important thing I can accomplish. If people can sit in that theater and laugh, and people can watch at home around the world and laugh, then I’ve accomplished what I want to do.” That’s not necessarily untrue. Unfortunately, Ratner’s idea of comedy is to let Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan exchange racial stereotypes while loud stuff goes boom behind them. And how, exactly, does directing garbage action movies make Ratner qualified to produce a live television event?
The Los Angeles Times has a fun list of “Six Ways Brett Ratner’s Resume Could Shape the Oscars.”
I see two ways that this can play out. Either Rather will have absolutely no influence on the direction of the ceremony whatsoever, and the telecast will be exactly as dull and over-long as it usually is, or he’ll make this into a stunning train wreck that people will scoff about for decades to come.
[via E! Online]