WolfmanOz at the Movies #14

The Woke Oscars

Next Monday (Australian time) the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will “honour” the “best films” released between March 1st and December 31st, 2021.

Not that long ago, say 10-15 years ago, there was a time where you could actually enjoy watching the Oscars as the films being honoured were generally well acted, excellently crafted, told an interesting story and were invariable popular or at the very least, had an audience that actually saw them.

Not anymore . . .

With rare exceptions, actors and celebrities have always been self-involved narcissists. If you think about it, in a way, the profession demands it. But what’s changed over the last 10-15 or so years, and this has coincided directly with the death of the movie star, in that celebrities now dine out on their self-involved narcissism.

What creates a long career is holding on to the public’s goodwill. And you earn that goodwill by being likeable. In real life, you might be a bastard. Plenty of movie stars during the Golden Age were bastards. But in public, they were humble, grateful, and self-deprecating.

Not anymore . . .

So the broadcasting of the Academy Awards (Oscars) has produced a rapidly declining audience every year now. An audience who no longer care about award shows that feature movies that they have not seen or even wish to see. They simply don’t give a damn anymore.

Hollywood award shows have gone from fun showcases of talented actors and movie technicians with real star power to network televised lectures, in which the most privileged and pompous people on the planet talk down to and insult the audience who helped make them rich.

If you can bear it, catch Joaquin Phoenix’s absurdly ridiculous acceptance speech back in 2020.

The way it is going, I doubt very much if we will see Oscar celebrating 100 years. Or if we do there will be no-one left to care.

For the last few years I have no longer bothered watching the Oscars as invariably the films are often of poor quality, compared to years past, the presenters are insufferably woke and humourless and the whole show is interminable in it’s self-congratulatory tone.

In Jean Cocteau’s marvellous 1950 film Orphée the poet asks what he should do. ‘Astonish me’, he is told. Today’s movies never do that, certainly not in the sense that a great work of cinema can make you wonder how its creation was ever accomplished.

But, to end on a more positive note, here are a few clips of some of my favourite Best Picture Oscar winners when outstanding quality films were made in a much better time, one which I regret to say I don’t think we’ll ever see ever again.

All Quiet On The Western Front (1930)


Casablanca (1943)


On The Waterfront (1954)


Lawrence Of Arabia (1962)


Amadeus (1984)




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March 24, 2022 8:21 am

Can these posts have just the first paragraph and then a continue link. Too much scrolling to get to the next post.

March 24, 2022 8:31 am

celebrities now dine out on their self-involved narcissism.

They were always like this, but it was kept in check by social mores. It just didn’t do to parade it overtly.

With ubiquitous social media and everyone getting in on the act, where is the line of differentiation for the “movie star”? It no longer exists. Everyone can be a star on their Youtube channel.

The magic was pretty much spent in 1985.

Bruce of Newcastle
Bruce of Newcastle
March 24, 2022 8:48 am

This headline says it all.

Box Office: ‘The Batman’ #1 for Third Straight Week (21 Mar)

What are we up to? The fourth or fifth remake? At least it apparently has woke kept to a minimum.

Pretty big indictment of the industry that they no longer can do anything new. Or at least anything new that’s watchable. On the other hand it’s clear from those Batman numbers that people still like going to the movies, there’s just nothing on that’s worth watching these days.

Bar Beach Swimmer
March 24, 2022 8:51 am

We’re been watching films on YouTube over the last month. The other day I did a search for an Anne Bancroft film, which I could not find. However, we watched the 2 minute long Best Actress Award for the year 1962 – the year that Baxter won for The Miracle Worker.

I could not believe all the fine films, (and fine actresses) in that one year. Along with Bancroft, the nominees were:

Bette Davis for What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Katherine Hepburn for Long Day’s Journey into Night.
Geraldine Page for Sweet Bird of Youth.
Lee Remick for Days of Wine and Roses.

Wolfie, I won’t be watching either; vale, movies of substance.

another ian
another ian
March 24, 2022 8:56 am

“Who can forget “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli”?

On this date 50 years ago, the movie “The Godfather” opened in cinemas nationwide. It was a smash hit, and today it’s shown on TV or in cinemas almost every single day, somewhere in the world. Its popularity is astronomical.”


Bar Beach Swimmer
March 24, 2022 9:12 am

(To name a few of the films) so far we’ve watched these gems:
James Stewart in No Highway in the Sky and Call Northside 777
Rod Steiger in Across the Bridge
Gary Cooper in Sergeant York
Cary Grant & Katherine Hepburn in Bringing up Baby
Carole Lombard & William Powell in My Man Godfrey
Richard Dreyfus & Marsha Mason in The Goodbye Girl
Goldie Hawn & Chevy Chase in Foul Play

March 24, 2022 9:13 am


may not be down your alley, but “No Country for Old Men”, “The English Patient”, and “American Beauty” are more recent Oscar winners worthy of a look-see.

.. but really – the Oscars are doing the woke/broke thing. Many fine movies are being made outside their narrow viewport.

March 24, 2022 10:52 am

Casablanca, a great movie? Phooey. Stupid, improbable plot — as if the Huns would respect exit permits when a bullet behind the ear was their usual prescription. Plus, Dooley’s piano was a scaled-down toy and, had he been alive today, the Paul Henreid character would have been exhorting kiddies to block more traffic on Climate Strike Day and, being a gentleman, making sure to walk on the gutter side of his trans protege.

Fact is, movies just can’t satisfy anymore. In part, it’s because Hollywood’s wankerati can’t make more than the odd decent one. But the good stuff is streamed these days, meaning the visual arts can replicate the great novels, especially Victorian ones with all their layering of plots and casts of characters. Something like Breaking Bad can do that, Better Call Saul too

The cineplex is dead, Hoorah!

March 24, 2022 11:01 am

If they remade The Apartment, it would probably bag best picture,
but it wouldn’t be in anyone’s favourite movies list.

Shy Ted
Shy Ted
March 24, 2022 11:26 am
Bruce of Newcastle
Bruce of Newcastle
March 24, 2022 11:49 am

Haha, you could say the same about Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep also.
The snappy laconic dialogue is a big part of the charm of those movies.
I can happily suspend disbelief so long as I am being entertained!

Bruce of Newcastle
Bruce of Newcastle
March 24, 2022 11:51 am

Oops, that was @areff, forgot to include quote.

Tony Taylor
Tony Taylor
March 24, 2022 12:27 pm

In my 60 years I’ve hardly seen more than an hour of The Oscars, total. Awards shows are almost universally rubbish and or massively tedious, and I include events like the Brownlow, which ought to be right in my wheelhouse. And anyway, the film that wins the Best Picture Oscar is hardly ever the best picture, and I don’t care in the slightest who might win a best actor/actress award, or whether another Aussie won for Best Script-editor’s Knife-sharpener. Have an award for Best Obscure Character Actor, and I might buy in.

March 24, 2022 12:30 pm

may not be down your alley, but “No Country for Old Men”, “The English Patient”, and “American Beauty” are more recent Oscar winners worthy of a look-see.

I don’t know about the film – never seen it – but a year or two before it was released a friend more or less forcibly loaned me his copy of the book, The English Patient (because he knew I was into military history).
I was very sceptical, but being the polite chap I am I graciously accepted the loan and even read it right through.
It was quite possibly the most boring, pretentious book I have ever completed.
But to each his own.

Elaine (of Seinfeld) on The English Patient:

March 24, 2022 12:32 pm

I’m with Tony — does anyone watch award shows?

Its like wanting to watch re-runs of your local school annual prizegiving. Tedious beyond belief, but what’s worse, is they let the recipients talk.

March 24, 2022 12:37 pm

I enjoyed “Atonement”. And, for something different, the LOTR blockbusters.

Upon the death throes of the franchise, the galaxy turned up something good – Rogue One.

There’s always something good among the dross.

March 24, 2022 1:59 pm

BBS those women you mentioned were fantastic. Another I enjoyed in every movie I’ve seen her in was Joanne Woodward, Paul Newmans wife. I love Helen Mirren these days. Have a look at Woman in Gold, a beautiful story. These days I watch series on SBS on demand. They’re all mostly subtitled, the quality of the acting is sublime. Never seen Godfather series, Rocky or Rambo.

Bar Beach Swimmer
March 24, 2022 2:40 pm

I forgot to mention that we watched Joanne Woodward in The Three Faces of Eve. Another great performance.

& +1 for Woman in Gold!

Bar Beach Swimmer
March 24, 2022 3:51 pm

the year that Baxter Bancroft won for The Miracle Worker.

March 24, 2022 3:59 pm

These days everyone to be constantly “entertained”, something always has to be happening and everythingoverblown. No time for characters to develop. All these superheroes, enough to turn my stomach.

March 24, 2022 4:12 pm

The Oscars have been dodgy in terms of who won the big awards forever, but at least the top half a dozen contenders were generally good quality and popular. Looking at the nominees in recent years, many are films nobody went to see with actors nobody cares about, if indeed they have heard of them.

As others have said, best to mine the thousands of old movies if you want quality.

And not just the famous ones – I did a spree on B movies a couple of years ago, and found some surprisingly good ones, especially from the 1940s and 50s.

As for favourite actrines of yesteryear, I miss Eve Arden!

March 24, 2022 8:11 pm

A more recent movie which Rosie reminded of on the OT was A Beautiful Mind with Russel Crowe ( his best movie). About John Nash, Nobel Laureate who went mad.

March 24, 2022 8:22 pm

May have mentioned Jamaica Inn recently, Patrick McGoohan so menacing, the lovely Jane Seymour and Peter Vaughn

Bruce in WA
March 25, 2022 12:35 am

Nice piece Wolfman. Keep ’em coming!!

vlad redux
vlad redux
March 25, 2022 9:59 pm

The rot started when they gave Best Picture to CRASH in 2005, but 2009 was when the rot took hold, when they gave Best Picture to THE HURT LOCKER (the lowest-grossing “Best Picture” ever – and with good reason: it stinks) in the year of AVATAR.

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