The Hollywood Horror Show Reaches A Timely End


The 2022 Academy Awards mark the close of an era – not because of slappable Will Smith’s career imploding but for an entirely different reason. It’s the first time a streaming service has won Best Picture, erasing the line between TV and film for good. The passable ‘Coda’ ticked the indie/disability boxes this year while failing to point out to the viewers at home that it was cut and pasted from its French original, ‘La Famille Bélier’.

Netflix threw money at the Oscars that didn’t stick, probably because of the streaming giant’s random, clueless way of throwing money at anything. But judging by the coming lineup of Hollywood remakes, sequels, prequels and IP spinoffs we can only be further pushed in TV’s direction.

The Oscars has always been a curious affair, playing out more like a below-the-line industry dinner (the Annual Shoe Salesperson of America Awards, say) than a professional festival-topper like Cannes or Venice, its films veering madly between high commerce and low budget issue-driven tokenism.

The annual trash-parade of bathetic self-congratulation has been tiresome for years and is now quite mad, with Chris Rock making the kind of off-colour joke Ricky Gervais built his career on and Will Smith massively damaging the show’s remaining shreds of dignity. Still, we got a laugh out of the horrible fashions, in which Chalamet forgot to put on his shirt, Eilish got to do her Resting Bitch Face a lot and Gyllenhaal came as a front door.

But then there was the deeply uninteresting film line-up to contend with, from ‘Power of the Dog’, the first Home Counties radio play western, to Branagh’s desperate-to-please ‘Belfast’, there was nothing relevant here. Better by far were TV series like ‘The Tourist’, ‘Landscapers’ or any number of Korean dramas.

But at least the Oscars always reveals its true colours. This time it did so by cutting off the world cinema winner ‘Drive My Car’ and dumping all the craft credits to make more room for lame jokes and dance numbers.

Me, I enjoyed ‘No Time To Die’, ‘Spiderman: No Way Home’ and about 30 superb European and SE Asian dramas, not a single one of which made the cut. Still, frocks and slapping will give us something to chat about as the world burns.





20 comments on “The Hollywood Horror Show Reaches A Timely End”

  1. SteveB says:

    Ha ha excellent!!!

  2. Frances says:

    I used to watch it years ago to check out films worth seeing. Now I watch it to laugh at the dresses. It did not disappoint this year. I keep the sound just above “off” so I don’t have to listen to any acceptance speeches. As part of the international audience, I was able to witness the Will Smith nonsense in full – complete with f-bombs. At least we were spared a video link with President Zelensky. Sean Penn promised to “smelt” his Oscar statue in public if that link did not happen. At least he didn’t punch anyone.

  3. Stu-I-Am says:

    Ah CF — painful for the ‘Film Freak’ to be sure. But then you always knew the Oscars was really the annual rite of Hollywood drinking it’s own bathwater. Very little to do, in fact, with the actual films or people who made them. It was about Hollywood celebrating itself as myth and retelling it over and over again. At least they were ‘films’ or ‘motion pictures’ at one time. Now they’re ‘product.’ And to that point, as you mention, why bother giving public attention to such grudgingly tolerated crafts like film editing, sound and production design. You wouldn’t celebrate the people who were important to producing your bog roll now, would you ? And about Billie Eilish — you clearly missed the fact that she kicked off her role as the representative for Gucci’s new line of Queen Victoria-inspired mourning dress.

  4. Joel says:

    i did enjoy “Dos Oruguitas”…a sweet song, song by a beautiful man in a great outfit…having just watched encanto this past saturday, it was a touching song at the end of the movie…makes me thankful that i have never lost a loved one while fleeing danger, or in a war situation…i also totally enjoyed all the clothes and fashion…from crazy to boring…love it all…i will also admit, that i listen to the songs, look at pics of the red carpet and read the winners list the day after, for a variety of reasons…this year, i didn’t know it was on until last night…after the slap…lolol…not sure where the “of course the retards got a pity oscar” attitude comes from, but it is as distasteful as the “lets make fun of a woman with a medical condition”…just like kids, you always have the one who runs his mouth until it gets popped…and you ask that kid “was it worth, running your mouth, and being mean and embarrasing someone?”…guess we will see…maybe if she had lost her hair because of cancer treatmens, making fun of her would have been off limits?…the oscars are what they have become…and it does make me laugh that i saw some comics saying, essentially “oh great, now are we going to have to be afraid of offended people coming onstage and attacking us?”…i would posit that that has always been a possibility…and usually, people who go to see a specific comic, know what they are in for…not like trump will ever go see kathy griffin…lololol

  5. Paul C says:

    Brilliant post again – although I really enjoyed The Power of the Dog. Perhaps I’m in the minority on that one.

    Re the Will Biff incident, it’s curious that the Academy ‘does not condone violence in any from’ apart form, of course, extreme violence in films which they are perfectly happy with.

  6. David+Ronaldson says:

    I thought The Power of the Dog was okay, but not Oscar material.

    Will Smith should have either thrown a proper punch or said something cutting; he was neither violent enough nor witty enough.

  7. Alan R says:

    The end of an era, that’s for certain. And who really cares if Chris Rock got slapped. As Paul C noted, Hollywood has made a stack of money exploiting extreme violence. They are the last people to not condone violence. I personally “do not condone violence of any kind” mmmmmm….. but trying to stay awake during the awards, I determined there were lots of people on the stage who deserved a hard slap. Not least of all Will Smith for playing himself as the lacklustre King Richard.

    Sportspeople rising above all odds is a common film theme but I preferred Cool Runnings and The Karate Kid over the emotionless and sanitised King Richard. At least I cared. Wipe on – wipe off, brought tears to my eyes.

    The only highlight for me was the line from a violent gang boss to Richard “Don’t worry, we got your back”. That made me smile.

    IMHO Benedict Cumberbatch (not my favourite actor) deserved an award for The Power Of The Dog. A super performance.

  8. chazza says:

    I can proudly – yes proudly – state that I have no intention in watching any of the films making up the major award winners… Why bother when there are so many excellent films to visit/revisit from cinema’s illustrious past?

  9. Stu-I-Am says:

    Along with Billie Eilish’s questionable choice, there were a great many Oscar outfits that obviously came from the same collection for People Who Have to Get Dressed, But Would Rather Not.

  10. Cornelia Appleyard says:

    Perhaps Will Smith and his wife should have got up and left if offended….but maybe the Oscar seemed more important.

  11. Joan says:

    Will Smith is a smug over rated Hollywood Icon. If he choses to give interviews about his very personal life and sex addiction and his awful wife constantly talks about their open marriage, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that they become the target of jokes. The said joke was very lame and tame (think Ricky Gervaise) and most people didn’t get until it was explained. I thought Chris Rock behaved admirably in the circumstances. At the very least Smith should have been escorted out, the Academy failed miserably to do anything. And to him give a standing ovation after his acceptance speech (boo hoo) was appalling!
    That said it put a new life into the show and wakened people up! Some of the fashions were over the top to be sure but some of the dresses were gorgeous if a little sparse. I had issues with rolling Liza Minnelli out at the end, it was quite shocking to see her like that.

  12. Gary Locke says:

    It was nearly midnight here on the east coast before the ceremony ended (which was still early by Oscar standards), and so I was quick to bed with the slap still fresh in my mind. Rare for me, I had a nightmare. I remembered being alone in my family’s living room, the rest of the clan making Sunday supper in the kitchen. I was seven, and I watched Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald live on television. Shaken and traumatized, I went into the kitchen to tell everyone what had happened. Unfortunately, they didn’t understand what I was telling them. “Yes, sweetie, he’s dead. But they got the man who shot him.” Finally, after all my pleading for them to see for themselves, they went to the TV. I don’t think they ever understood that I had just seen a man get killed.

    All of that came roaring back late Sunday night. Granted, this was just a smack across the face, a stupid display of macho bravado by a very entitled individual. And, to his immense credit, Chris Rock took the hit and kept the show moving. He was even funny. But, man, I am sick of a lifetime spent witnessing self-appointed vigilantism.

  13. Peter T says:

    It’s not Hollywood. It can’t be Hollywood. If it were, the slap would have been a full blown, near decapitating haymaker. (Excuse Chris and Will while they dash off stage to be replaced by stuntmen.) And it would have esacalated into a massive, old style wester saloon brawl. The stage would have been smashed, dresses shredded. Ah, dresses ripped … the fashion houses wouldn’t like that.

  14. Stu-I-Am says:

    @Peter T Peter, actually you may be on to something. ‘The Slap’ brought so much notoriety to, and livened up, the otherwise (and usual…) lackluster proceeding, I suggest that the Academy may want to strongly consider adding a couple of categories with live public voting. Add a touch of the Colosseum, I say, with ‘Hollywood’s Most Slappable Face’ and ‘The Actor Whose Arse You Most Want to Kick.’ Stunt doubles suggested, but not required.

  15. Joan says:

    Stu, you always make me laugh! I like the suggestion of Hollywood’s Most Slappable Face, let’s start with Will next year.

  16. Richard says:

    Thank you, Chris, for a thoughtful and funny review of ‘the annual trash-parade of bathetic self-congratulation.’ For me, the moronic evening was almost salvaged at the end by the gentle decency of Lady Gaga as she whispered to Liza Minnelli, ‘I got you.’

  17. Button says:

    I think Mark Simone is right – these award shows have finished their run. I don’t watch them anymore. But I did see the video clip of the slap moment. Chris Rock handled it like a seasoned pro handles a heckler. They should have put a couple of bouncers waiting on standby in the wings in case of trouble. And the two bouncers should have escorted Smith back to his seat hand-cuffing him to his chair. The incident made me nostalgic for Billy Chrystal and Broadway Danny Rose – I was never a fan of Billy Chrystal. Clearly, the awards shows need to be re-imagined.

  18. Peter T says:

    Since Hollywood likes remakes, why not re-run old Oscars? Honour old films, actors, directors and the rest that were so much better. In the year of my birth, Greer Carson didn’t wear a ridiculous dress, Danny Kaye didn’t make a joke about Lauren Bacall and the combative Humphrey Bogart didn’t whack him. They all deserve posthumous lifetime achievement awards just for that.

  19. Helen+Martin says:

    Peter T, I haven’t usually seen the films and these days half of the actors are unknown as well so naturally I don’t watch the presentation. I used to watch a bit of the pre event so I could see the dresses but when things began to be consistently weird I stopped bothering and the two samples shown explain why. The “door” does have a mildly interesting architectural vibe, though.
    I think people need to look at definitions for joke before giving Mr. Rock a pass on the remark about Mr. Smith’s wife. I agree that walking out would have been a better choice of action for Smith but the world has lost all sense of personal dignity. Not knowing any background on Mr & Mrs Smith my husband reacted as an offended husband and was willing to hold Will’s coat. What part of the Oscar event is performance and what part is audience?

  20. Sarah Griffin says:

    Ooo I did enjoy reading this!

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