SCENE: Executive offices at a Hollywood production company. Three people sit around a shadowy conference table, expressions of anxiety on their faces.
NETWORK EXEC: We’ve got fifteen awards shows coming up in prime time over the next six weeks, and hardly anyone’s watching these things any more. What’s the problem?
INDUSTRY ANALYST: Our data shows that viewers feel as though Hollywood has lost touch with them. These shows obsess over movies and shows hardly anyone cares about, and people aren’t interested in four hours of political haranguing. Heck, even Trump knows to keep it under an hour and to make it a little entertaining.
NETWORK EXEC: [turns to producer] We need to connect to the people! What do you plan to do about it?
BIG-TIME AWARDS SHOW PRODUCER: I know! We’ll find a way to talk about religion! The people looooooove religion!
Hollywood is welcoming the new year with the start of the awards season. The 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards aired January 6 on NBC. Though the show was mostly tame in political rhetoric from the award winners, presenters, and hosts, that streak was broken when Christian Bale won the Best Actor Award for his role as former Vice President Dick Cheney in the movie Vice. Along with thanking Satan for inspiration, he also mused about playing Senator Mitch McConnell as the next in a series of “charisma-free a******s.”
BALE: Thank you to that geeser, Adam. He said I’ve got to find somebody who can be absolutely charisma-free and reviled by everybody, so he went, oh, it’s gotta be Bale in it. Thank you. And for all the competition I will be cornering the market on charisma-free [assholes]. What do you think, Mitch McConnell next, that could be good, couldn’t it? Thank you to Satan for giving me inspiration on how to play this role.
Aaaaaaaand …. scene.
Does anyone think Bale was really giving thanks to Satan? Naaaah. But Bale was epitomizing, in perhaps the most reductio of all reductio ad absurdums, precisely why most people despise these awards shows and despise Hollywood in general. The smugness of his declarations, as well as the audience’s embrace of them, show just how insular this crowd has become. Bale’s speech also pointed out another truth: Hollywood has no interest in producing films about political history with any sense of truth or honesty, but only as vehicles for derision and the progressive-Left didactic. Giving a shout-out to Satan is just the feculent icing on an excrement cake.
It’s worth noting, disconnect-wise, that Vice is currently drowning at the box office despite its six Golden Globe nominations and all-star cast. It came in seventh at the box office in its second weekend after coming in sixth in its first weekend, despite the fact that only one major release opened on Friday (the thriller Escape Room). The Mule took in almost twice as much and did almost $600 better per screen despite being in its fourth week. Vice lost 25% of its previous-week momentum despite adding 92 theaters. It’s getting middling reviews on Rotten Tomatoes (63% fresh), but this review from The Daily Beast is devastating — and from a liberal perspective. After watching Bale’s chortling over the person he portrays, I suspect it comes much closer to the truth.
That’s what Hollywood awards shows have become, however — celebrations of Hollywood’s politics rather than artistic achievement. That’s also why people don’t watch them any more, and why people stay away from pictures like Vice, Lions for Lambs, and Rendition even when they fill the frame with as many A-listers as possible. It’s not that these subjects aren’t worthy of discussion and debate through art … it’s just that no one trusts Hollywood to do it competently or honestly.
Addendum: Here’s another classy moment from the show, captured by Rolling Stone:
As hosts, Oh and Samberg had real comic chemistry, like when she introduced the cast of the NBC weeper This Is Us: “Break out the tissues! Because you’re going to want to masturbate to all of them!”
As soon as everyone’s done masturbating over Vice, presumably.