This should be the wake-up call Hollywood needs now more than ever.
So why do we get the sense that the industry’s pampered denizens are snoozing right through it?
We recently learned what’s been obvious for a while. The 91st Oscars ceremony will go on sans host.
Oh, the stars will align for Hollywood’s big night. We’re hearing the show’s producers are scrambling to reassemble the Avengers, last seen disappearing into dust, to gin up interest in the show.
Yes, millions will tune in to see Chris Evans announce the winner for Best Sound Design. Talk about anticipation.
Beyond that, we won’t have an Oscar host to drag down the morning after. BuzzFeed won’t slice and dice his joke about the #MeToo movement. The Daily Beast’s plan to freeze frame the monologue to spot white supremacy hand gestures is scrapped.
The host-free Oscars is a perfect metaphor for the show itself. Hollywood’s signature showcase can’t find a date, and it’s all the industry’s fault.
Hollywood, drowning in so-called privilege, embraced the Woke Movement so thoroughly few major stands-ups could survive the “vetting” required to recite the monologue.
Sen. Ted Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick distraction didn’t stop him from becoming the Lion of the Senate.
Kevin Hart’s homophobic quip from 2010? Deal breaker.
It’s enough to make Joe or Jane Studio Executive to wake up one night and ask, after ripping off sweat-stained sheets, what have we created?
Or will it?
Self-awareness isn’t Hollywood’s strong suit. Neither is bravery, nor the stomach to stand up to PC bullies.
The industry stayed mum as transgender activists, and their woke enablers, chased Scarlett Johansson out of a gig last year to star in “Rub and Tug.”
The latter crew demanded Bryan Cranston explain himself for playing a quadraplegeic in “The Upside” when the gig should have gone to a disabled performer.
Silence on both fronts.
Over and again, Team Hollywood, like a marionette with its strings snipped, didn’t move as the Woke Police pulled over their fellow actors.
Now, Hollywood’s biggest annual showcase is missing a key ingredient, one present at every show since 1990.
The show will still go on, of course. We’re already promised some “Trump zingers” as part of the 91st ceremonies.
Phew, thought we’d go another five minutes without a star telling us what they think of the current commander in chief.
Chances are the telecast will run long. Producers have vowed to shorten the running time, but even a three-hour show is a chore. The assembled winners will get political with their speeches. Actors can’t help themselves when given a bully pulpit where no one can respond, let alone fact check their rants.
Why would any Red State type even watch? It doesn’t have to be this way.
The producers could throw caution to the wind and beg Ricky Gervais to host the show. Give the caustic comic a single note: “Go for it. We have your back.”
Then, sit back and wait.
He would likely torch the stars, Hollywood and everything in between. Promote it as “anything goes on Oscar night. Really.”
The next step would be crucial. Team Academy would have to truly have Gervais’ back both pre- and post-Oscars telecast.
If he told a joke deemed too nasty or inappropriate? Tough. Stand by him. And, by extension, tell the world that comedy is back.
Sure, the subsequent teeth gnashing would be considerable. Various groups would demand apologies. Gervais would be attacked on Twitter by some peers. He might even lose a gig or two.
If he refuses to apologize, though, the furor will die down within days. His peers may even breathe a sigh of relief. Suddenly, the 2020 Oscars hosting gig would look more intriguing to comedians across the globe.
That’s how it should be. And, alas, precisely what we won’t see come Feb. 24.
What a lost opportunity.
Christian Toto is a veteran film critic, entertainment reporter and radio show co-host. He’s been covering Hollywood for nearly 20 years and currently oversees HollywoodInToto.com, the ‘Right Take on Entertainment.’ He previously contributed to the entertainment verticals at Breitbart News and LifeZette.com. He also hosts the weekly Hollywood in Toto Podcast, heard on iTunes, Spreaker, iHeartRadio and more audio platforms.
The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.
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