There were so many good movies this year that it made one wonder if Hollywood had returned to practicing its trade and would rein in political rhetoric at the Oscars. Silly hope.
Looks like Julia Reichert, who won an Oscar for “American Factory,” a documentary produced by former President Barack Obama’s new film company, Higher Ground, quoted Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in her acceptance speach.
Reichert said, “Working people have it harder and harder these days — and we believe that things will get better when workers of the world unite.” This seems to have been a mangled version of the end of the Communist Manifesto: “Workers of the world, unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains!”
Marx and Engels wrote these words in 1848.
Workers of the Midwest in 2016 united to elect a president who would undo a million miles of red tape give them a better shot at prosperity.
Does Ms. Reichert not know about record low unemployment in the U.S.?
Karl Marx is a hard sell in the wake of a recent Gallup survey showing that more Americans are satisfied with their lives than any time in the last decade and a half. No doubt Ms. Reichert believes such normal, happy people have chains on their minds.
While regular folks might have been turned off by Reichert’s rhetoric, she did get praise from former President Obama, who tweeted, “Congrats to Julia and Steven [Bognar], the filmmakers behind American Factory for telling such a complex, moving story about the very human consequences of wrenching economic change. Glad to see two talented and downright good people take home the Oscar for Higher Ground’s first release.”
Perhaps the highlight (low light?) of the evening was Joaquin Phoenix, who won as Oscar for his performance in “The Joker,” the most thoroughly decadent and seriously deranged movie I’ve ever seen (talk about American carnage!), lecturing us on a large number of issues. Phoenix, who has doubted the value of awards in the past, said that this win obligated him to speak for the voiceless. And who are Phoenix’s voiceless?
“I think at times we feel or are made to feel that we champion different causes,” Phoenix said, when “whether we’re talking about gender inequality or racism or queer rights or indigenous rights or animal rights, we’re talking about the fight against injustice.” I hadn’t noticed any of the groups as being particularly voiceless. The orchestra had to start playing to get Phoenix off the stage.
But you had to love his soliloquy on cow insemination:
“We go into the natural world and we plunder it for its resources,” Phoenix continued. “We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and when she gives birth, we steal her baby. Even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable. And then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal.”
To which New York Post movie critic Kyle Smith replies, “Cows would be putting our milk on their cereal if they could figure out how.” Smith has a good take on the unfunny jokes of a reality-challenged evening.
Brad Pitt talked about impeachment, which, I would have thought, people would have been only too eager eager to forget. But no. “They told me I only have 45 seconds up here, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week,” Pitt said. Not exactly side-splitting. He added, “I’m thinking maybe Quentin [Tarantino] does a movie about it. In the end, the adults do the right thing.” Huh?
Here is a complete list of winners (I was delighted to see Laura Dern win for her brilliant performance as a relentlessly awful divorce lawyer). The big loser last night was the public, which once again ended up being lectured by people who live in a bubble.