Why It’s Okay for the Oscars to Get Political

Meryl Streep Takes Down Trump at
Paul Drinkwater/NBC

“Speaking truth to power” is not a phrase I’ve ever much cared for. It descends from the most doctrinaire currents of the ’60s, and there’s a braver-than-thou, David-and-Goliath sanctimony to it — as if the speaker possessed all the truth and the power had none of it. Yet on February 26, the night of this year’s Academy Awards telecast, the movie industry has the rare opportunity to speak truth to the real power in America. I don’t mean Donald Trump and his insular man-cave boardroom of “Gee, what liberal sacred cow can we wreck next?” White House avengers. I mean the American people — the source of the power, and the ones who ultimately still control it.

Let’s state right up front that the history of Oscar-night political showboating is not an especially proud or meaningful one. At the 1973 ceremony, when Marlon Brando declined his Best Actor award for “The Godfather” by sending Sacheen Littlefeather up to the podium to make a speech protesting the treatment of Native Americans by the film industry (and, by implication, America at large), the cause couldn’t have been more just, and the gesture shined a global spotlight on it. It’s clearer now that Brando, in his mischievous off-center way, cared deeply about the issue.

Yet the Sacheen Littlefeather incident will always live on as a quintessential moment of ’70s flakiness, one to place right alongside the streaker who dashed behind David Niven (just after Niven uttered the words “a very important contributor to world entertainment…”) at the Oscar ceremony one year later. Few took from Brando’s stunt anything of value about the Native American cause. The moment just played as a convoluted act of celebrity narcissism. (Coming off “The Godfather,” Brando could have sealed the greatest movie comeback of all time with a memorable speech; instead, he orchestrated what was basically a raised middle finger to Hollywood.)

In the years since, Oscar-night advocacy has become, more often than not, a breed of self-abrogating kitsch, with the general sway of it conforming to what I’m tempted to call the Susan Sarandon Principle: The bigger the star, the more off-putting — and therefore ineffective — the display of high-minded compassion. When a winning documentary filmmaker uses his 45 seconds in the sun to make a plea for the social-political cause his movie was about, that seems appropriate and unassailable (though many of the folks at home, let’s be honest, will miss that speech because they’re already capitalizing on the chance to scurry to the fridge for another beer).

But when someone has just won a major acting award for his performance in a movie that had nothing to do with climate change, and he uses his acceptance speech as an opportunity to offer fans around the world a righteous didactic tidbit about climate change…well, let’s be clear that this sort of thing is one of the reasons why Donald Trump was elected. The perception — right or wrong — that people in the entertainment industry are standing on a pedestal telling the rest of us what to think has become part of the problem, not the solution.

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So given that track record, why am I suggesting that four weeks from now, it would be a great thing, and maybe even an important thing, if Oscar night became a finely orchestrated pageant of political passion? Well, clearly, the stakes are higher now. Given the presidential actions of the last week alone, we suddenly seem to be living in an America where every dimension of our political process, our freedom, our very perception of reality is up for grabs. My point, though, isn’t simply about the urgency of the moment, as transcendent as that is. My point is about the role that members of the entertainment industry now have the rightful place to play in America, and about the opportunity they have to create a paradigm shift in that role — to upend the mythology of it.

For years, the right wing has tried to marginalize — if not demonize — the way those in Hollywood are viewed by “the real America.” We all know the drill: The people who make movies (or television shows) are ritually portrayed, by conservative voices, as wealthy pampered hypocritical out-of-touch elites living in their West Coast (or East Coast) bubble, preaching their liberal baloney to the hardscrabble “real Americans” in flyover country. (I always loved the fact that Rush Limbaugh lived for years on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, but that’s another story.) The forces of Donald Trump’s America — the president himself, his smug demagogic spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway, and the people who voted for him — have now kicked that narrative up a few angry notches. You can argue that the era of Trump-as-public-bully began when he first launched his feud with Rosie O’Donnell back in 2006, but the point is that within the fake-news, talk-radio semiotics of 21st-century America, the people in Hollywood are viewed as the living quintessence of the liberal “enemy.”

So what has now changed? Three words: Meryl Streep’s speech. At the Golden Globes, the eloquence of her outcry wasn’t just stirring, it was profound. And that’s because it wasn’t so much a speech of protest — a debate about political ideas — as it was a declaration of empathy. It located the sin of Trump’s agenda not in any particular policy but in his public mockery, during the campaign, of a New York Times reporter with a physical disability. (Amazingly, dehumanizing people with disabilities is something that the Nazis were famous for.) What made Streep’s speech powerful — and the reason the whole world took it seriously, in a way that the usual awards-show cause-hawking is not taken seriously — is that here, at last, was an actress talking not about “politics” but about the place where politics and acting intersect.

Roger Ebert, in one of my favorite quotes about movies, called the cinema “a machine that generates empathy,” and surely that’s the essence of it. To watch a good movie is to feel connected to the souls of the characters it’s about. That’s why a movie doesn’t need to be “political” to be a moral experience. That act of connection — of empathy — realigns how we feel about the world. The people who work in Hollywood may be wealthy and lucky, but to suggest that they’re simply a colony of “narcissists” is to radically bypass what they do. Empathy is their art, their business, their mission. That’s why, at their best, the movies they make show us a higher way of being.

What Meryl Streep was suggesting is that Trump World isn’t just about a bunch of ideas she disagrees with; it’s about the destruction of empathy. Just watch the clip of Trump mocking that reporter. It’s hideous. It transcends red-state/blue-state animosity. It says, “If you disagree with me, I’ll stomp you. With no mercy.” It’s a declaration of hate.

An artist is no more important than any other human being, but in some disquieting way it feels appropriate that Trump’s ugly and illegal Muslim immigration ban wound up applying to Asghar Farhadi, the Oscar-nominated Iranian director of “The Salesman.” Farhadi has stated that he will not attend this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, even if an “exception” is made for him. And he’s right. He’s making an essential statement: Why should he be the one excepted? If anything, his presence at the Oscars will prove far more powerful in its absence.

Yet Asghar Farhadi’s being cut out of the Academy Awards is a telling thing. He’s a film artist of supreme empathy, like Jean Renoir with a touch of Hitchcock. To watch his movies, like “A Separation” or “The Past” or “The Salesman,” is an experience akin to discovering secrets about yourself. More than just a master filmmaker, he’s as good a representative as we’ll see all night of what motion pictures are. The omission of Farhadi from the Oscars — though he’d be the first to say that he symbolizes many other non-famous citizens — suggests Trump’s underlying desire to destroy the impulses of art. There’s no place for art’s humanity in Trump World. As a movie watcher, he’d probably prefer “Suicide Squad” to “La La Land.”

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And yet…the ultimate measure of Trump’s hypocrisy is that he’s got more in common with the people who will be celebrated on Oscar night than just about any president we’ve ever had. For Donald Trump is a pure product of showbiz — the outrageous smoke and mirrors with which he ran his real-estate empire; the addictive self-promotion; the glowering, corporate-god-in-a-leather-chair theatrics of “The Apprentice.” He’s a man who hoisted himself into the presidency by being a performer first and a politician second. He’s the first president of the American Entertainment State, probably more of an actor — and I dare say, a more accomplished one — than several of the people nominated.

And that’s why the Academy Awards, after 45 years of scattershot liberal protest, are now the perfect bully pulpit from which to address the already glaring moral calamity of Donald Trump’s presidency. Certainly, a balance needs to be struck: The point of the evening is to celebrate the movies nominated, and politics shouldn’t overshadow that. But I do believe that politics can blend with that. America will be watching — in greater numbers, I suspect, than we’ve seen for a long time. And not just blue-state America. I mean Trump voters too (do you think that none of them went to see “La La Land”?), and also swing voters, who may already be feeling a touch of buyer’s remorse, and who may have begun to peel off from the Trump crusade.

What’s required is a way to speak truth — artfully and memorably, the way Meryl Streep did — to the Oscar-night viewers who are movie lovers who are citizens who have the power to change America. What’s required is a moment that can translate into a meme of protest. As a lot of liberals have already begun to realize, the only way to defeat Donald Trump is to fight fire with fire — and on Academy Awards night, that means fighting show business with show business.

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  1. Peter says:

    Liberals, please don’t stop whining and throwing tantrums like entitled children who’ve had their Xbox taken away. As a conservative activist you are making my job very easy. I don’t have to debate you. You hang yourselves. The smug, self indulgent political lecturing by Hollywood’s most annoying limousine liberals at awards ceremonies; the throwing of rocks and setting of fires by “tolerant” campus thugs whenever a speaker with a different viewpoint is scheduled to speak. All we have to do is capture it on video. You are your own worst enemy lol.

  2. So I am assuming that, when you say “it’s okay to be political,” what you really mean is, “it’s okay to be political so long as you agree with liberals.” Agree with Streep, who is so completely infatuated with herself that she actually believes it is Hollywood that is owed an apology for being so widely discriminated against. Hollywood. HOLLYWOOD.

    Yeah. Sure. Why not.

  3. Ndscotsmen92 says:

    I’m a movie buff… and I hope people will continue to have their opinions but state those opinions on the appropriate platform and venue. We come to concerts and movies to hear them act or saying or perform and do what they do best period we know Hollywood is left for the most part and has always been for all we know. It is a place where the politics has become unhinged and it’s inappropriate and condescending to the rest of America as they pass out little golden trophies to one another…. and boost their self-esteem in a room filled with people who have their views for the most part. It’s time for us to hear about how they developed as artists what made a certain part of this filmmaking unique and some point yet moment in their life which steered their Artistry to a greater platform. That’s what the Oscars should be about. This is not about Hillary or President Donald Trump. This is about artistry. Hollywood is losing its focus and their products are not as great as what they think they are.

  4. Joe Simiana says:

    Most people i know in the industry and those who don’t work in the industry…say it’s just going to be a political sideshow of B.S, and have no interest watching the 2017 Oscars….it ain’t like it used to be at all. nope….wont be watching this farce. neither will anyone i know, the rest of the world is pretty much sick to death of all the crap in the USA against Trump…will be watching a Movie instead with great actors such as McQueen, Newman, Hackman, Eastwood, Borgnine, People are sick of These Awards nights propaganda shit…especially after they put out those videos we all saw during the election…ha ha ha…yeah Enjoy ya rubbish night…we wont be.

  5. Lynn McNish says:

    I will watch until the first actor makes politics part of their acceptance. I have been watching for 60 yrs. to be entertained.

  6. Mark says:

    I anticipate the Oscars to be dominated with political bashing. Consequently, I won’t be watching. I have better things to do than spend 3 hrs watching rich stars whine about their being dis-satisfied with the outcome of the election rather than appreciative and positive of the gifted life that they have.

  7. Dan Olson says:

    Go right ahead and get political all you want, I won’t be watching.

  8. What a ridiculous crock. Gleiberman is impressed by Queen Streep’s “empathy,” but what I heard was a clueless, spoiled celebrity sneering down at lowly Americans who have the audacity to enjoy football and race cars. That’s speaking “truth to power”? No, that’s a woman — and an industry — completely out of touch.

    So go ahead and deliver your brain-dead political lectures at the Oscars. Maybe we’ll remind you of our power at the box office by not showing up.

  9. Ruby says:

    I’m not watching the Oscars. I turned off the Golden Globes the moment Meryl Streep used her opportunity to thank the millions of fans (half of them Republicans) who have supported her to make her political speech. It was despicable to me. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Shame on her and shame on Hollywood for biting the hands of those who feed you. I will never forget. I for one can live without Hollywood.

  10. Kate says:

    BOYCOTT THE ACADEMY AWARDS CEREMONY BECAUSE OF HOLLYWOOD’S LACK OF RESPECT FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP!

  11. Jay says:

    This is exactly why Trump got elected. Everyone I know despised the Meryl Streep speech as what it was…a condescending millionaire actress expressing her contempt for “flyover country”. Especially her statement about how football and Mixed Martial Arts are NOT art. Well Meryl, I can add another “artist”(useful idiot) whose art I will never pay money to see again. Why can’t you all just shut up and act?

  12. Gleiberman, of course; who else; the one “critic” who gets it wrong now ALL the time. So the reason why Richard Gere is banned from the Academy is the reason why it’s OK to get political at the Oscars. You do read from time to time, right, Gleiberman, from others who actually know what they’re talking about? Does Variety fact-check the things coming out of your mouth?!

  13. Political speeches and lectures at entertainment award shows proves that the actual award itself is trash. The only thing that a win means is that the winner was chosen to be the one to deliver the political message. If celebrities want to pop off on their political ideology on network TV, then they should buy time on Sunday afternoon. Networks should label them as op-eds before they air.

  14. I got no problem with entertainers having political takes. But awards shows are not the proper venue for broadcasting them. Unless like you said, it’s a Best Documentary winner. When Inside Job won, the director mentioned how no one on Wall Street had been prosecuted and imprisoned for the financial collapse. Nothing wrong with pointing that out as it was a very relevant(and depressingly accurate) point.

    But what will kill the Oscars(and other awards shows) is to turn it into a 3 or 4-hour lecture from a bunch of pampered millionaires who frankly don’t seem well informed on the issues they’re discussing(Trump is actually the most socially liberal Republican ever elected President), are hypocritical in how they speak vs how they live(witness their rants about climate change while they jet around the world in private jets), and insult people they disagree with(using pejoratives like racist, sexist, homophobic, bigoted, xenophobic) rather than appeal to them.

  15. Susan Murphy says:

    I know I am writing these comments in vain, but please avoid making political commentary. We need a break from politics. And really, the message does not translate, it just backfires because “here are these hollywood pampered actors lecturing us!” I am in the arts, I am liberal, I live in the midwest after living in NYC, I looooved Meryl Streep’s most eloquent and principled speech …but let me tell you, people will shut out what you say and just complain. No, you won’t reach anyone with your impassioned speech. You will only cause them to dig their heels in. I know this because I live amongst Trump voters. Save your political speeches…volunteer, protest, donate, etc. It’s important now more than ever. You are a very privileged and pampered group of people, arriving in your limos, wearing clothing that costs more than most of us can imagine, getting awards for your work when most Americans are lucky to a get a 3% raise and get no recognition for anything at work…really, you’ve got it good. Having worked on film sets, I know it is hard work, long days but let me tell you, people out in the ‘real world’ work hard too and do not have the many advantages that successful people in Hollywood. When you are sitting on the couch watching the Oscars, that difference is palpable.

  16. joyce c kaffel says:

    i am adding to the comment i just posted..i believe that the knowledge of what happened to many actors ,screenwriters, directors and American entertainment professionals who were blacklisted during the McCarthy era rightfully affects the Hollywood community. During that time, the Hollywood Ten protested …that forum was the right way to take action.

  17. joyce c kaffel says:

    I have never missed the Oscars. Unfortunately for the celebrities, most educated, informed people don’t care what they think..maybe the way an actor expresses himself is noted for it’s polish and passion, and their talents are respected, but in the end, people have their own thoughts. Hollywood is a bubble, for sure. Not that there’s anything wrong with that..everyone is a product of their own life experience. Hopefully, the Oscars will not be inundated with political sermons, and rather, a celebration of the arts with the artists comments about the importance of the themes of their films. It’s always fun to look at the pretty dresses, but not if the show turns into a march. Not sure I can take it this year..

  18. Evangeline Burkhardt says:

    Great content here. She spoke what I am feeling. Bravo Meryl.

  19. Phillipa says:

    Owen feels people will tune into this year’s telecast in record numbers. OK. Owen, I ask you to have a think about this:

    I have watched the Oscars since I was very young. To me, Oscar night was better than Christmas. When I was young, I would get my mother to ring up the TV network that I thought would be broadcasting it so I could get the right date of when it would be on (there was no Internet/Google back then). I would then circle the date on the family calender and my parents and brothers and sisters would know that was MY NIGHT for the television and we couldn’t watch anything else (yes, this was even before you could record TV on VCRs). I would be excited for weeks prior to the broadcast. It was the highlight of my year.

    During my teens, I read every book I could find on film, behind-the-scenes books, etc. I did work experience in film production houses. I started acting in co-ops and amateur companies and student films so I could get the actors’ experience and, yes, because I loved it.

    My career has been spent in the media in film marketing and distribution. I spent decades writing about, promoting and publicising films and, in turn, the actors/actresses in them and those that directed and produced them. I did a degree majoring in screen studies and film history. I LOVE FILM.

    2017 will be the first year I have deliberately chosen NOT to watch the Oscars. I will not be recording them to watch at a later date either. So, if the recent actions of Hollywood can convince even someone like me not to watch, what about countless other people who are just as upset with how they, as an audience member, are being treated?

    Freedom of speech is a privilege that should not be taken lightly. Many countries don’t afford their citizens that right. Members of the film industry have every right to voice their opinion, even if its one you might not necessarily agree with or want to hear. All I am saying is that perhaps the Oscars is not the venue to do it? As they have shown at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards this year, Hollywood seems to have one political view (or at least they only allow one view to be voiced without consequence). But by doing so, they turn off half their audience. And yes, people from all backgrounds and political persuasions go to the movies and read entertainment magazines and online sites and watch awards shows. Why not use other outlets to voice their political opinions? The Oscars are meant to celebrate film achievement. I wish they would remember that.

    So, even me, a die hard film lover, has had enough. I’m sure I won’t be the only one come Oscar night.

    • Becky says:

      I agree, very well written. I remember the Oscars of old where my family would watch it together and I used to love it. Now it’s almost with a sense of dread and I think that’s the worst part, that it’s just one more thing taken over by politics to the point I don’t want to watch. I’m glad I’m not the only one who wishes they would go back to just being funny and entertaining (with someone like Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, Billy Crystal and so on). Thank you.

    • Mark Helio says:

      Well said Phillipa! It’s hypocritical that Hollywood …one that preaches tolerance and empathy…does anything but that! You can’t have or voice a different view or opinion without persecution and very dogmatic backlash. I hate seeing that

  20. DiDi says:

    Of course not, the Oscars are an awards show. But trying to tell self-important Hollywood people to shut up and be gracious is a lost cause. They MUST be heard as they think with love brain and spout bs like “love trumps hate” while blackballing anyone who doesn’t think like them. Hollywood is now despised. Expect a sharp increase in piracy.

  21. Mary says:

    Owen Gleiberman, who are you? Because you have a computer and Variety pays you doesn’t mean you are right either. When you make a statement that the American people need to be told by Actors what to believe is as insane as thinking it’s ok for Actors to tell the American people what to think. Hopefully the Oscars should know that it is no longer a “Show” it’s a secret society club that has tons of money to go on National TV and spew their rhetoric. Ya, the left, the Democrats, the elite, whatever you want to call yourselves, you don’t own us like we don’t own you. Could you imagine if a bunch of “regular people” had a club and they were considered “The right, The Republicans” “The Deplorable’ s” and we had a TV show on National TV and we said we are happy to have the laws upheld for immigration. And we want people who are criminals to get arrested and go to jail, we want to be open and proud to be European. We would be chastised and sued for racism by you. Oh wait, that’s Fox. 1 channel. We get 1 channel. Boycott Oscars!!!!

  22. Becky says:

    Hollywood really didn’t learn a thing from the election did it? If I were a betting person I would make a bet with the author that the rating for the Oscars won’t be as stellar as he thinks. They will be lower than ever, much like the recent SAG awards. And I can’t wait for that to happen. I, for one, DON’T WANT TO BE PREACHED TO BY ACTORS. By the way, the author considers Trump the first president from the entertainment arena. Guess his memory is so short he forgot about Ronald Reagan.

  23. Dario O says:

    I am hoping the always funny Jimmy Kimmel will start the evening by puncturing the balloon of the pompous Hollywood left … and throw in a few funny Trump jokes in the process.

  24. Dom says:

    To be fair, the government have said specifically this is not a Muslim ban. By reporting this, falsely, you’re proliferating the very divisiveness you rail against. It’s a question of integrity, you should have it before accusing others of being lacking. Otherwise a very good article.

  25. Robert Kyle says:

    It is not ok for actors to become political….If they are asked for their opinion then yes, but if not then they should do what we all have to do…write or book an appointment to see a political representative….

  26. tommariner says:

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences used to award the best achievements. Since throwing a temper tantrum because your candidate is the new definition of pseudo-courage once the “winners” grab the microphone, I’ll watch something else. Worse, since the “awards” now go to political correctness, I (and much of the country) will consider the award nominations or Oscars as worthless guides to what we see.

    I hope someone launches an apolitical show that stays true to the best in Arts and Sciences. That I’ll watch.

  27. Jack Johnson says:

    You really don’t get it, do you? Americans don’t want to be lectured to. They want to enjoy a celebration of movies. Go look at how successful political films are. They aren’t.

  28. JOE S HILL says:

    Liberal Hollywood wants to get political,then it’ll pay dearly! i won’t waste a single minute watching either the Oscars or the Academy awards because the people in Hollywood today just lack the creativity and talent that better actors had! and with many of our iconic performers dying off these talented men and women will NEVER be replaced especially by the likes of people today who think they’re better,because they’re not! Hollywood needs to keep out of National politics and do what it does the best-make movies,NOT catering to the liberally political celebrities who sound and act so stupidly!

  29. Dward Fardbark says:

    “Why It’s Okay for the Oscars to Get Political??”

    Because no one will be watching anyway. The Oscars used to be entertaining .. have become less and less relevant to that end. It’s now become just a platform for actors to have their opinions and voices heard.

    Who cares?!!?

  30. TV Viewer says:

    Should you be complimented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and be presented with an Oscar, simply say Thank You and do it with grace and respect. You owe it to the Academy.

  31. Steve Barr says:

    One thing all you Trump kool-aid drinkers don’t seem to understand is that your Mango Mussolini is not a conservative , he is not a Republican he is an American fascist . I only wish we had someone like Marine General Smedley Darlington Butler who in 1934 exposed a plot to install a fascist as president of the United States . Trump and that religious fanatic Mike Pence need to be opposed at every opportunity by every American citizen and that I includes people in Hollywood .

  32. Bob says:

    I am starting to find it funny just how out of touch the liberal media and liberal Hollywood are on the issues in America. They assume everyone agrees with them and anyone who doesn’t is considered a racist and a bigot. Along with the fact that this is extremely hypocritical, it also isn’t true. A majority of Americans support Trump’s new actions. A recent poll found that 48% of Americans support the temporary immigration ban from countries considered terrorist hotbeds, while only 42% were against this. 57% of Americans support the Dakota access pipeline, while only 28% oppose it. 56% of Americans favored walking away from the TPP. Over half of Americans agree with Trump’s America first agenda. This just goes to show that when articles like this are written, or when celebrities give passionate anti-Trump speeches, they are extremely out of touch with the way America truly thinks. I’m not saying Trump is a perfect guy, but his policies are supported by most Americans, which is something the liberal left needs to realize and understand.

    • I am NOT a “Trump kook aid drinker,” and it insults me that you believe anyone who doesn’t want actors of all people pointing their self righteous finger at my direction is a mindless drone. Wake up, man. The world doesn’t fit into your tiny little boxes.

    • The Truth says:

      Ironic how Trump and his supporters are now citing polls, when they dismissed polls as bogus during the campaign — and the results of the election appear to have validated their negative opinion. Nevertheless, nearly three million more people voted for Clinton than Trump, a hard fact that Trump’s narcissistic ego can’t accept. If you believe that liberal Hollywood aligns with Hillary’s perspective, then it seems the entertainment community is in touch with three million more Americans than Trump is. Perhaps that’s something you need to realize and understand.

      • Julian Lean says:

        also a hard fact is if you take the vote tally from California out of the equation, Trump won the popular vote. California, a state where the two candidates to replace Sen Boxer were both democrats. Not just a blue state, but midnight blue lol.

  33. Movie lover says:

    Why is Variety constantly flooded with pro-Trump comments? Social-bot spam?

    Gee, I never thought that so many who don´t care about entertainment news would look at every article here that criticizes Trump and immediately come out in full force to pour more hate on every dissenting voice.

  34. Donna says:

    It is totally inappropriate to use the audience for t political reasons. If recipients want politics they should run for office instead of being Monday night quarterbacks.
    The public wants to be entertained in watching the Oscars. To see their favorites not to listen to angry messages. The Oscars should reflect the best not witch hunters.
    But perhaps the Oscars have become tainted and a new major award
    Show should emerge.

    • The Truth says:

      If Academy Award recipients should run for office in order to voice their political opinions, perhaps you should become an Academy member before you opine on what is or is not appropriate at the Academy Awards telecast. But here’s your problem: You have to be a successful member of the filmmaking community before you’re invited to join the Academy, and that’s never going to happen for you, Donna. So according to your own standards, keep your ignorant opinions to yourself.

  35. Jenny says:

    Those of us with living in the real world and not in the PC wealthy Hollywood bubble separate from everybody – they don’t even want the fans coming near them let alone refugees. They live behind walls, with their panic rooms. What do they care about safety, laws, and struggles. And, no, most of us out here don’t care what they say. Why telecast the show when they’re really only talking to those in the room?

    • The Truth says:

      If you or others don’t care what actors and other entertainment celebrities have to say, why are you reading Variety? And how are you qualified in any way to comment on what actors care about?

      The vast majority of actors and filmmakers struggle as hard as anybody in any field to achieve success. Many work for decades in obscurity and never make a decent living. Most come from modest backgrounds and are as familiar with life’s challenges as anyone else. When they choose to speak out, it’s because they care about the issues facing our country, just like you do. Their informed opinions are no more valuable than yours, unless you speak from an ignorant perspective, as you have here.

      Nobody’s forcing you to watch the Academy Awards or impute any importance to the event. It’s a movie industry celebration where colleagues honor what they feel is the best work of their fellow colleagues. If you don’t want to hear how the winners feel about issues that concern every American, tune out. No one will miss you.

  36. Sorry but Streep’s speech was clearly not real. She made a speech about the Foreign Press…while accepting an award from the Foreign Press!!! Explain that to me? What does that say about these people that they will only speak up if they are given something? And remember this is the woman who felt bad about Roman Polanski’s imprisonment. She is a supposed feminist, she speaks about equality but praises a guy (To the point of hoping on her chair to applaud him professionally) who raped a 13 year old. So no it’s not wrong to speak up…but hypocrisy sort of dilutes the message for me. At the same time the Oscars is about film, entertainment. The films nominated seem to be more and more politically-charged with the films almost picked to fit the political message they want to focus on. Call that what you will but 3 out of like the last 6 Best Picture films were ABOUT Hollywood and acting and “La La Land” looks to take it this year.

    There seems to be an absurd amount of self-absorbed ego here and that shows a sense of disconnected understanding of the world. I always felt the point of a filmmaker or an actor was to have an unbiased view of the people and world views, not to tell a half-truth. And, as showed last year with the third worst ratings in the show’s history, no one watches the Academy Awards for political opinion. They want entertainment which they should do! Because that unites people! Hollywood decided it was better to say 59 million people were bigots for voting for Trump and that’s not accounting for people who didn’t vote who might share similar opinions but wouldn’t because everyone was berating them. This is not me saying I’m a Trump supporter or Hillary (An impossible choice), but if you want to get people to listen to you…stop preaching to people and condemning whole groups of people who did nothing wrong but their base American right to vote…while defending whole groups of other people. EVERYONE matters and these guys don’t get that, they want to focus on pitying one group and expecting everyone else, who don’t make millions of dollars, to fall in line.

  37. Obama sets deportation records and the politicotainment crowd speaks truth to power? Crickets. You are just part of the propaganda arm of the Democrat Party. Fortunately, enough voters now ignore your bleats to allow your enemies to control all branches of the federal government and the vast majority of the state governments. Go on talking to each other between pill-popping and bed-hopping.

  38. greg marotta says:

    All bets are off. We are through the looking glass with this fraud. Artists have every right to express their beliefs just as teachers do and farmers and fireman and anyone else. Words are an effective weapon against this fiend as acceptance is his only want. Every time he responds he shows just a bit more of the fake behind the curtain. We can only hope that the wahoos who elected him get to someday see this.

  39. gnelson says:

    Mr. Gleiberman couldn’t be more wrong. The politicizing of the Oscar’s is fundamentally wrong. Yes, there are many problems in the country but this is the wrong venue. In my opinion the Oscar’s is about celebrating the great, artistic films of the year; a pleasurable event for all to witness. Not to mention that the politics espoused are almost entirely partisan. If the artists attending the Oscar’s are that compelled to make political speeches, then structure the event to allow 30 minutes of the event for equal speeches representing all points of view. Now wouldn’t that be daring,innovative and fair!

  40. T0rchwood says:

    When will Hollywood understand that no one outside of Hollywood GIVES A F**K about your political beliefs, which you are ONLY STATING PUBLICALLY to ensure your employability. The Oscars are nothing more than a self-congratulatory stroke-off for each others vanity projects. Why do they think nobody has even seen any of the nominated films???

  41. John Miller says:

    The Oscars have become more irrelevant each year. From the odd winners (“Crash” anyone?) to the political statements, I think a majority of people watch or pay attention to them out of routine, rather than attaching any validity to them.

  42. Rosita E. Asano says:

    Actors should stay out of politics. Shut the hell up about your political view or i shut you out of my list to view.

    • 44 Forever says:

      A lot of these actors are American citizens. They pay taxes, they have the right to dissent. Seems like you’re mad that they have a bully pit equal to a despot and they’re taking advantage of it.

    • cadavra says:

      Does that also apply to conservative actors, like Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Gibson, Willis, Eastwood, Sandler, Danza, Dennehy, et al, or just the “liberal” ones like Hanks, Clooney and Baldwin?

  43. Nanny Mo says:

    I applaud freedom of speech. It’s the low, mean, unclassy nature of some (like Madonna and the Woman’s March) that take us all to a new low. It is also the hypocritical nature that is annoying. You can dislike Trump but if it’s okay to say mean things about him and it’s not okay to say them about Obama, that the speaker is the hypocrite. Hypocrisy is not okay. Just like the F’oscars are now about racial fairness and not talent, it’s just not okay. No respect for hypocrites!

    • 44 Forever says:

      Don’t drag Obama into this. That ship has sailed. It’s all on Trump now. The majority don’t like him. The majority didn’t vote for him. The majority don’t like what he’s doing. People are not going to shut up and go away because you don’t like what they have to say about a bully who is doing everything in his power to become a dictator.

      • Jenny says:

        Sorry 44Forever. Try leaving the house sometime – a majority actually DID vote for him. And, boo hoo, support him. Look at a map, entirely red except for around the clueless teeny tiny blue specks in NY and LA. You’re in the minority. 😁

      • T0rchwood says:

        Only the left-leaning coasts supported HILLERY. The rest of the country voted more AGAINST her than voted for Trump.

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