Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Why Hollywood Activism Failed at the Oscars

1:11 PM PST 3/7/2018 by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Based on all the outraged rhetoric and impassioned chest-thumping from women and men in the film industry leading up to the Oscars, this year’s Academy Awards broadcast promised to be the most politically controversial and socially outspoken show in history. A moral reckoning was at hand. No more water but the fire this time. There was so much to talk about #MeToo, Time’s Up, the NRA and the apologist politicians in their deep pockets, Trump’s kneecapping the Constitution, DACA and more. However, the Oscars went out not with a bang, but a nearly four-hour whimper.

When it comes to activism, Hollywood is not ready for its close-up.

Oh, it had its moments. The most impressive came from best actress winner Frances McDormand, who, channeling Elmer Gantry, whooped and cackled and prompted all the women nominees to stand and deliver their message of gender unity. This was not the even-tempered and artful speech we’d heard from Oprah that had stirred us all at the Golden Globes. This was theatrical and blunt and spontaneous, but no less subversive and inspiring. She was the fully charged defibrillator jump-starting the placid audience’s hearts. If only, after all the talk about the marginalized finding their voices, more people would have used theirs to articulate and empower.

First, a disclaimer: I enjoyed the show. Jimmy Kimmel was charming and funny, Maya Rudolph and Tiffany Haddish were goofy and delightful, the songs were entertaining and lively, the presenters and winners were gracious and humble. I had seen all the best picture nominees and had a lot of opinions about what should win what.

Complete article at HollywoodReporter.com

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