This year’s Oscar telecast was a slow, meandering affair filled with surprise-free categories and awards for films 90-plus percent of the viewing public will never watch. But for the third year in a row politics didn’t dominate the proceedings.
Yes, host Billy Crystal did unleash a crack against the GOP presidential field, and he called the Occupy Wall Street movement “cool” when smelly or law-breaking would be better descriptors.
Yet overall the focus was on the movie industry, not a series of calculated swipes against conservatives. Crystal even got in a dig at over-privileged Hollywood elites, while Chris Rock mined laughter out of how animated film voice actors have the easiest gig in the country.
So what gives? For starters, new media outlets were armed, ready and willing to fire back had a succession of actors using the Oscar stage as their personal bully pulpit. Not too long ago, an actor who took a left-of-center stand on Oscar night would either be praised by the mainstream media or find their views unchallenged the next morning.
Citizen journalists are ready to battle back against quasi-pundits eager to insult large swathes of the voting public.
It can be argued the election of Barack Obama helped silence the Hollywood Left, a group which couldn't stop talking about the evils of the last Bush administration. That might have been true over the last two awards ceremonies, but 2012 is an election year and hot-button issues like contraception and same sex marriage are constantly on the nation's front burner.
Yet ... nothing.
Perhaps the collective film industry is still reeling over how their preferred presidential candidate has accomplished little of the promised hope and change they celebrated back in 2008? Is it a coincidence that an industry which rallied around an eloquent Senator three years ago chose a silent film as its Best Picture?