Oscars 2018: Eating Cake

This was one messy award show, and I mean it in a good way. The Academy finally deciphered the writing on the social media wall, and promptly took their high-heeled shoes off (a few of them literally), the entire spectacle meandering into something of an after-party at your agent’s house – half mercenary opportunism, half boozy honesty.

Host Jimmy Kimmel is an anarchist at heart. Last year he presided over opening of the floodgates, i.e. envelope-gate, a fantastic blunder that deflated humongous egos, and made all the pomp blantently ridiculous as only incompetency can do. This year he mixed it up, thanking the audience, not as a after-thought, or a gimmick, but as a sly, subversive massive hint to the most obvious marginalisation in the industry: the second-class status of the spectator.

Another anarchist (self-proclaimed) was Frances McDormand, calling for inclusiveness and equality, encouraging all ladies nominated in the auditorium to stand up and make themselves known and available to be contacted during regular office hours, so all that boozy honesty can be left to drool under the canapé table. Indefinitely.

Then there was the Time’s Up segment, introduced by a scintillating trio of visibly shaken movie stars, confirming that trauma always cuts to the surface, no matter the setting, or training – a spot-on show reel of every single way people can be, and are, marginalised in the industry, peppered with Kumail Nanjiani‘s excellent comic-relief, but leaving no dirty deed behind. And then came the In Memoriam section, with the always embarrassing star-o-meter applause finally hushed, leaving all to be equal, at least in the afterlife. At least for a moment.

Get Out (2017) didn’t win Best Picture, though. And it was the best of the lot, no matter how much I privately loved The Shape Of Water (2017) and its utopian message of love that knows no prejudice or bounds. It’s a beautiful, yet too cosy a win. Get Out set its sights at something truly radical – exposing the cosiness. As it’s often used as cover for the most devious of deceptions – faking sincerity.

At least Gary Oldman was sincere. His speech was all OBE, and working class boy’s respect for authority that recognises him. Sid Vicious has left the building. The British class system seems to work in the least expected ways. That’s why it lasts.

What I reckon the aftermath of Oscars 2018 will be is what I see every day – the sheer hypocrisy of an industry built on appearances will soak in all the good intentions, appropriate the sentiments, and pretty much do the same thing as always – profit, pander and exclude.  But it will have a dent in its side, a vulnerability in its veneer – a slightly less relaxed attitude about being called out for what it does every day. Precisely.

Author: ©Milana Vujkov

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