Monday, February 28, 2005

Rock's Hard Place

Tom Shales really trashes Chris Rock's performance as Oscar host, which I don't agree with. The 77th Academy Awards will go down in history as the meanest Oscars ever, the one where Hollywood finally admitted that the artists who don't appear on the cover of Us Weekly don't actually matter. When I first saw that all of the nominees save the actors where pushed onto the stage together to cut their time and dignity, I had trouble believing that even Hollywood could be that cruel.

So I thought Rock's incredibly mean jokes about the stars were a good antidote. Make no mistake: Chris Rock wasn't being a towel-snapper like Steve Martin. He was being rough, like Cintra Wilson on a bad drunk.

But Shales does offer one very keen insight:
This year's Oscar show was certainly more ethnically diverse than ever, but so much attention was called to this that it made the program seem lopsided, a celebration only of films that qualify as politically correct. Actor Jamie Foxx, who won for playing the great singer Ray Charles in the film "Ray," seemed to be exploiting the racial angle by implying his victory was a victory for African Americans. He gave essentially the same speech he gave at the Golden Globes, replete with threats to break up in tears when he got to the part about his dear old grandma and her influence on little Jamie when he was a child. . . .

The Oscars are losing their status as a big national party and turning instead into de facto political conventions--and if there's anything TV and the nation don't need, it's more of those.

A new poll by John Zogby confirms this: 4 in 10 Democrats watch the Oscars while only 1 in 8 Republicans do. There's something to these numbers.

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