So congratulations to Leonardo DiCaprio for winning the Oscar. I discovered the news the next day in the supermarket. For the people in my local supermarket, even the experience of buying bread appears to be a painful reminder of the sustenance that only maintains their ongoing misery. But on the morning after the Oscar’s everyone was happy. I asked the woman at the till why this was and she just picked up the front page of my paper and shook it at me. There on the cover was Hollywood’s dream boat finally getting the recognition he deserved.
As usual some spiteful people couldn’t help themselves. The urge to churn out the usual cynical hate piece about Di Caprio and the Oscars proved too much. The collective rant was never-ending as they banged on about rewarding someone for a tedious three-hour slog through the snow, let alone at a sham ceremony whose only function is a sadomasichistic orgy of self-congratulation which poses as a moral substitute for actually doing anything useful, whose participants then have the nerve to use it as a platform to preach the need to defer the impossible task of solving the world’s problems to people less fortunate than themselves. These bitter people are the type that can’t even go to the cinema and enjoy The Angry Birds Movie without letting their nihilistic vitriol flood the isles. Even those who work at the world’s premiere dream factory need a night off now and again.
But inside that popcorn box of nastiness there was a valid point, even though it did question the perfectly viable system of awarding an actor for a forgotten performance you were previously criticised for not recognising. One of these nasty unnameable people said that giving the Oscar to the bear in The Revenant would have been a potent symbol for the hypocrisy of the ceremony’s moralising. After all, if you really want to make a point about climate change, rewarding a fake computer generated animal would have caused all the people in my local supermarket to think more seriously about the carbon footprint of something that has nothing to live for.
Animals don’t pop up in era defining films often, but when they do they are almost always better than humans in conveying some profound message. Jaws, Babe, Free Willy, the great animal metaphors of the Big Screen. But not Lassie, that dog couldn’t act, and more or less ruined the promising careers of its child co-stars.
The Oscars aren’t ‘so white’, they’re so anthropocentric.