Just as the Catholic Church committed slow-motion suicide by trying to please everyone, so too have the Academy Awards.
In 1965, and for some 2,000 years, the Catholic Church was a flourishing enterprise. The pews were full, there were plenty of men and women who wished to become priests and nuns, and the number of students in Catholic schools were exploding right along with the Baby Boom.
And then the Second Vatican Council came along, or what some call Vatican II, and what was not even close to being broken was “fixed” and modernized; the results have been disastrous.
Without boring you with too many details, what happened was essentially this: the very institution that had been successful and respected for 2,000 years was now going to try and be liked. The very institution that had been an unwavering shelter from the stress of uncertainty that emanates from fad and ever-changing mores and the latest pop-psychology, splintered into a mess — a simpering goop.
Christ’s “rock,” which had remained a rock through dogma and a single, unifying language (the Latin Mass), which offered sanctuary to those looking for something pure, something that reached all the way back to Christ Himself, something that remained steadfast and consistent with its focus on the eternal rather than the good opinion of The World, opened its doors to modernity, to “personal opinion,” to non-judgment, to self-actualization, and this is when the bottom fell out.
The Catholic Church is in serious trouble today, and this has nothing to do with demographics. The Baby Boomers are at the perfect age to be filling pews as mortality looms, but membership declines, priest and nun shortages, and unforgivable sex scandals (the toleration of sin within the Church), have devastated the Church — and why not?
The Catholic Church is now nothing special (and I say this as a practicing Catholic), is no longer Christ’s rock, is no longer a place to escape from popular culture and moral relativism. By trading in soul-saving dogma for anything goes tolerance, by trading in 2,000 years of moral certainty for a Pope who is just another CNN pundit, the Church has so diluted and polluted its brand, you can now find its generic spirituality anywhere … or nowhere.
In other words, why go to Church when it offers what everyone else offers?
Which brings me to the Academy Awards…
The Academy Awards used to be the Catholic Church of the Hollywood awards season, the institution unfazed by fad and social pressure, a league all of its own with rigorous standards that revolved around excellence.
No, I am not saying — and this is important — that the Catholic Church was perfect prior to Vatican II, nor am I saying the Oscars were perfect prior to this Woke Era (which I will get to in a bit). When movies like The Artist win the Best Picture Oscar over, uhm, okay, 2011 sucked — and Around the World In 80 Days win Best Picture over The Searchers (which was not even nominated), no one is arguing everything was fine.
But that is not the point. The point is the event itself, the television broadcast of that event, and why that event has become a punch-line, a national joke, and collapsed in the ratings.
All of these problems are due to the Academy having gone the Vatican II route, and with Tuesday’s announcement of a Popular Film Oscar, this act of ritual suicide is now complete.
This ritual suicide began a few years ago with the crybaby #OscarSoWhite backlash (which arrived just two freakin’ years after 12 Years a Slave won Best Picture) and the Academy panicked by diluting the excellence of its membership with a cynical push for a racially diverse and younger group of Academy voters.
While there is no question oh-so progressive Hollywood had remained stubbornly white long after everyday Americans had become colorblind, this hysterical membership drive was not a correction, it was a patronizing band-aid to appease a mob; a mindless surrender as opposed to a thoughtful solution.
The goal was no longer performance and accomplishment, but to fill an identity quota. On top of that, the Oscars further diluted its standards of excellence by allowing up to ten Best Picture nominees, as opposed to the usual five.
Ratings and quality-wise the results are already in and have been disastrous. Viewership hit an all-time low last year, and with the last four Best Picture winners being The Shape of Water, Moonlight, Spotlight, and Birdman, despite this cynical push for a voting Academy the looks like America, the Oscars are more out of touch with America than ever.
And now, as Oscar circles the drain, the Academy has come up with the bright idea of a Popular Film Oscar, which should be called the Best Panther Oscar, because Marvel’s Black Panther, which just crossed $700 million mark at the domestic box office, is sure to be the first winner/loser of this reactionary award.
And I say “reactionary” because the Academy is obviously terrified of the Twitter hashtag campaign if Black Panther fails to earn a Best Picture nomination, even though it does not deserve one.
Black Panther is a good-not-great movie, but most of the phony hype around it involves the now-debunked hoax that it is some kind of first when it is not (not even close).
My personal opinion aside, though, the Best Panther Oscar is horribly unfair to Black Panther, which deserves the opportunity to earn an actual Best Picture Oscar, as opposed to the Everybody Gets a Trophy Oscar.
In other words, the Popular Film Oscar relegates Black Panther to its own ghetto, and almost assures it will not be nominated for the actual achievement of Best Picture, as opposed to this patronizing consolation prize.
Hovering over all of this, though, is the Vatican II problem. By going the People’s Choice route, by diluting the excellence of its own membership, the Oscars undermines its own special brand — which has always been PRESTIGE.
And this is where the reactionary Academy is getting everything horribly wrong.
America did not tune into the Oscars by the tens-of-millions because it was just like the Golden Globes, or the MTV Movie Awards, or the People’s Choice Awards. We tuned into because the Oscars used to be unique and special, used to be a second-to-none presentation of prestige, class, star power, and merit.
Even if you did not agree with that year’s Best Picture choice, there was at least a purity in that choice. You never felt patronized by the choice because you respected the fact it was not your choice. Rather, it was the choice of those who had worked hard and achieved and had earned the right to make that choice.
Sadly, until these last few years when Woke took precedent over excellence, this purity had been the final thing appealing about the Oscars, and now that is all gone with the arrival of this condescending Popular Film Oscar.
When I say “the final” thing appealing about Oscar, that is because the other appeals — the aforementioned class and the star power — have been slowly destroyed over the last two decades as movie star “class” has devolved into divisive, partisan insults; into snobbery and mean-spirited prejudice aimed at Middle America.
The magic of movie star class is simply a thing of the past.
What’s more, the “movie star” itself, that exotic creature, is also a thing of the past. What had been the rare opportunity to gawk at Tinseltown gods outside their natural habitat on the silver screen, is now nothing less than a parade of generic-looking, social media brats who would be nothing special without a green screen.
In its misguided desperation to appease its own Woke Generation, to appease those who only want to destroy the Church, Vatican II lost countless millions who loved the Church as it was; and by dropping its moral standards, the Church allowed the destroyers inside, where they are now doing even more damage by rendering the Church into something meaningless. The destroyers are winning.
The same is true of the Academy. In order to appease the present-day Woke Generation, those who will never be appeased, they are rendering the Oscars into something totally meaningless, into the MTV Movie Awards, which also hit record low ratings last year.
Both of these institutions have been gaslighted into surrendering what made them unique, important, and successful.
As for me, I will stick with the Church, because that is something worth fighting for, because I have a duty to engage in that fight, a fight that matters.
Well, not so much. Because I am different from them, the bigoted and provincial Motion Picture Academy hates me, which allows me the luxury to point and laugh at their self-inflicted demise, to hate them right back.