Once upon a time Hollywood used to make films all of America wanted to see. Customers eagerly stood in long lines that reached for city blocks with their hard-earned cash in hand. They were hoping to spend their afternoon or evening in a realm of escapism where they could forget about life’s troubles for a few hours in the dark. This was something that only the cinema could provide.

Hollywood used to be known as such optimistic terms as the Dream Factory and the Magic Store whereas today it’s become synonymous with being a cesspool and a sewer. Like everything else that social justice warriors have touched, so too has the film industry become contaminated with the stain of their unhinged ideology. The films that Hollywood produced once reflected American culture and values, now it lectures Americans on what Hollywood believes our culture and values need to be. Awards season is the prime example where such elitist attitudes come out in full bloom. The Oscars might be the most egregious example. Have you even heard of the movies nominated for Best Picture this year? None of them were even in the top 10 grossing films of last year, which is by design because Oscars are now about social justice rather than exceptional film. In fact, I’d wager most Americans never heard of them until they were nominated which has been the case for many years.

America’s film studios were largely founded by European immigrants who kept a careful pulse on where America’s interests lay in order to maximize their profits and remain in business. This must be recognized to understand where the film industry currently stands. Films were produced not to represent any one particular group, but to appeal to a mass audience — and not just an American audience but a global audience as well. Of the top ten highest domestic grossing films from each year between 1950-1970 a dozen of them were best picture winners or nominees. From 2000-2018 the number is only two with one of them being Toy Story 3. Once overseas revenues are included the numbers become even more skewed. Whereas profits were once the engine that fueled filmmakers, now it’s all about sending a message and representation.

Studios today wear a box office failure as a badge of honor if these box office bombs hold the “right” values that progressives support. It used to be that awards were handed out that reflected the tastes of audiences. These were all films people wanted to see and went out to see in droves. They were films most people had heard of, even as recently as the early 2000’s. Then around the middle of the previous decade a shift began to gradually happen where awards were no longer about exceptional projects, but became a place to reward projects that pushed the “right” social justice message yet no one went to see. (Personally I think the catalyst was Hollywood’s collective outrage that the Passion of the Christ proved to be such a popular film on a global scale and this was their pushback against that.) Awards shows no longer exist to reward projects of merit, but to justify the continuation of producing projects that audiences reject. Award recognition makes a film marked for history so that when they write the history books they will be certain to point out how these financial fiascos were only so because most Americans were “too backward” and “bigoted” to fathom their sheer brilliance at the time of their initial release. By becoming an award nominee or winner the film becomes prestigious and innovative and is said to be “ahead of its time” thereby justifying why a studio can take such a multimillion dollar loss on a project that bombs at the box office and risk even more money on the further work of the people behind these films. In turn, the award winning talent is able to charge even more for their services having “earned” awards for their previous work. Thus the cycle continues.

How often have you became aware of a film’s title for the first time at nomination time? Nearly all Best Picture films nominated in recent years have been rather obscure titles few people have heard of let alone seen before they were nominated. If they pushed the “right agenda” they found themselves nominated for or taking home Oscar gold. Films that glorified suicide, euthanasia, abortion, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, teen pregnancy, race, gender, and class warfare, and other such social justice causes that the majority of Americans do not support have become the greatest Oscar contenders. In the most recent years I’ve also begun to notice the trend that the merits of the project no longer get discussed in the media but the gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation of the people nominated. I guess when few people have seen the films nominated that’s all they can discuss about them. It makes one wonder what the point of an award is if it has only become about the recognition of someone with a particular background working in a field versus someone working in a particular field achieving something exceptional. This amounts to nothing more than virtue signaling participation trophies that makes the voters feel good about themselves for rallying behind the first (fill in the blank) to be nominated for or win a specific award. They’re not a racist because they voted for the black guy. They’re not sexist because they voted for the woman. They’re not a homophobe because they voted for the gay guy. Such voting by demographics alone dehumanizes the individual and causes us to be separated into being members of a particular tribe where we might look alike but share very different ideals. This is pushed as being a celebration of diversity, but it’s anything but.

Throughout Hollywood history the films that swept the Oscars were all films that were embraced by the American culture and the viewing public at large. We all know titles like Gone With the Wind, Casablanca, Ben-Hur, Lawrence of Arabia, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest that, even if you haven’t seen them, you’ve still at least heard of them even decades after their initial release. But have you ever heard of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri? How about Phantom Threat or Lady Bird? Yet these are just three of the nine Best Picture nominees this year. In fact, the best picture nominees for 2018 feature the lowest grossing best picture nominees in nearly a decade.

It used to be that most if not all of the nominees were mainstream films that most of America was at least somewhat aware of but the Oscars have become the ultimate playing field for doling out social justice. A more artsy film like Citizen Kane and Dr. Strangelove were still among the mainstream American films of their day. To the Hollywood elite it’s become unfair that the top grossing films should dictate which films get nominated for awards and accolades so awards season is when they try to even the playing field and justify why they should continue to be allowed to invest a studio’s money into films no one wants to see. On top of this, many of the “experts” in film look down upon the tastes of America’s film going public. This superiority attitude is a rather recent phenomenon. It may sound strange today but even popular films like the original Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Babe, and Mary Poppins were all nominated for Best Picture and considered serious contenders. Would a film like any of these be taken seriously for such awards today??

Let’s take a look at just a sampling of the films that have won best picture over the 90 year history of the Oscars to further explore this premise.

You Can’t Take It With You

This 1938 Frank Capra film tells the story of the Vanderhoff family; a group of eccentrics who put happiness above money. However, complications ensue when the Vanderhoff daughter becomes engaged to the son of the richest man in town; a banker who‘s trying to buy up the city block to build a new factory and he needs the Vanderhoof house to complete the project. It’s a film that resonated deeply with Great Depression audiences and was nominated for seven Oscars, taking home two. In that regard it’s probably the quintessential Best Picture winner from that era.

Going My Way

In 1944 this upbeat film about a Catholic priest swept the Oscars with ten nominations. It won seven. It was also the top grossing film of that year. It spawned a sequel, The Bells of Saint Mary’s, which was also nominated for eight Oscars the following year and marked the only time an actor was ever nominated for Best Actor for playing the same character in two different films. By 1947 there was a “reimagining” in Welcome Stranger. There was also a 1960’s Going My Way TV series. Going My Way is also the only time an actor was nominated for both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor for the same performance. The rules were changed because of this so it will never happen again. This was an immensely popular film and probably most people today have never heard of it but for the audiences of the time it would have been just as recognizable as the titles of Casablanca or the Wizard of Oz are to most of us today. It’s also worth pointing out that now when Hollywood makes a film about a Catholic priest they’re a deviate of some kind, but it used to be they made films that portrayed priests and nuns in a positive light.

Around the World in 80 Days

This 1956 Road Show film was nominated for eight Oscars and won five. It beat out The King & I as well as The Ten Commandments in the Best Picture category proving what a stand out production this was. It was, of course, based on the classic Jules Verne novel as several Best Picture nominees and winners have been based on classic novels. It was, again, a property that most Americans were familiar with. This was an epic production on a scale never seen before in its day and still would be in any time as it was filmed on location throughout the world. It also utilized the technique of the celebrity cameo in minor roles in a way not used by any major films before this.

In the 1960’s some of the Best Picture winners included West Side Story, My Fair Lady, Oliver!, and The Sound of Music. The 1970’s saw such films as Patton, The Godfather Part I and Part II, The Sting, and Rocky take away Oscar gold. Best Picture winners in the 1980’s included Chariots of Fire, Driving Miss Daisy, Platoon, and Rain Man. These were all films most Americans had heard of and made respectable box office returns.

The 1990s

Now let’s take a look at the Best Picture winners of the 1990’s. Dances with Wolves, The Silence of the Lambs, Unforgiven, Schindler’s List, Forrest Gump, Braveheart, The English Patient, Titanic, Shakespeare in Love, and American Beauty all won. How many of those films do you recognize? While some of these films did push the beginnings of a social justice warrior agenda they were still entertaining and in the 1990’s they were all mainstream films most Americans were familiar with just as had been the case in all previous decades of the Oscars ceremony. However, it is worth noting that only four films nominated for or winning Best Picture from 1990-2000 were the top grossing film of their year. Now let’s compare this list with the Best Picture winners of the early 2000’s.

The 2000s

Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, Chicago, Return of the King, Million Dollar Baby, Crash, The Departed, No Country for Old Men, Slumdog Millionaire, The Hurt Locker. Do you detect a pattern? As the decade wore on the winners became more and more obscure and most of the nominees were not in the mainstream of American culture, and in many cases protested American culture. In fact, the only films among the nominees and winners to be the top grosser of their year were Return of the King and Avatar. Now let’s take a look at the Best Picture winners of our current decade.

The 2010s

The King’s Speech, The Artist, Argo, 12 Years A Slave, Birdman, Spotlight, Moonlight all won Oscar gold. How many of these films have you heard of even a few years after their Oscar accolades? None of these films were popular when they were initially released and this is true of most of the nominees from these years too. Of the sixty-two Best Picture nominees since 2010 only a handful that had any impact on American culture. Among them are Lincoln, Life of Pi, Les Miserables, Toy Story 3, Black Swan, True Grit, and Inception. None of them won Best Picture though. This trend to get even with profit making films by nominating almost exclusively obscure films many of which push a social justice warrior agenda not only turns audiences off to going to the movies but to tune out the Oscar telecast. When there’s zero emotional investment in the films why are people going to participate in a 4-5 hour awards show celebrating these films?

Here are three of this year’s Best Picture frontrunners and why they’ve been chosen.

The Post

As many critics have noted, The Post is a film that was rushed into production and is meant to tie parallels between Richard Nixon and Donald Trump. What’s interesting about this is that for The Post to have been released when it was it would have needed to have been in production during the first year of Trump’s presidency when the man couldn’t have had much impact on anything at all. That’s not long enough of a track record to tie Trump to Nixon, but this is how Hollywood views him and why this film has been held in such high regard by the establishment at large. In fact, Steven Spielberg, a prominent Barack Obama donor, ceased production on a film he had already begun in order to direct The Post because he felt so strongly that this film needed to be released now and not after Trump had left office.

Spielberg explained, “The level of urgency to make the movie was because of the current climate of this administration, bombarding the press and labelling the truth as fake if it suited them.” He added, “I deeply resented the hashtag ‘alternative facts’, because I’m a believer in only one truth, which is the objective truth.”

I wonder if Hillary had been elected if The Post would have even been made at all.

Darkest Hour

Another Best Picture nominee this year inspired by history yet tied to President Trump at the last minute is Darkest Hour. What on the surface appears to be a film about Winston Churchill is actually a rebuke of President Trump, claims the director. ”

Churchill resisted when it mattered most, and as I travel around America I am really impressed and optimistic at the level of resistance happening in the US at the moment. After George W Bush was elected, it wasn’t the same level; there was more apathy then. Now people are very vocal and that’s really positive.”

He added:

“He kicked and he screamed and got a lot of things wrong in his career, and in his personal life, but one thing he got right was he resisted the tide of fascism, bigotry and hate. And that seems to speaking to America now, and Britain, too.”

Once again we see a filmmaker asserting their politics and attempting to juxtapose two figures in way where they don’t blend. If anything Trump is a Churchill like figure in our time, as anyone who knows anything about Churchill in history would know.

The Shape of Water

This year’s Oscar front runner is The Shape of Water. It has thirteen nominations and perhaps the most blatant with a social justice warrior message. It’s a film where a mute cleaning lady falls in love with a fish creature in what’s clearly a bestiality relationship and something the media has been openly joked about. There’s no way around this. They could have chosen to make the fish creature a human the military experimented on or the cleaning lady become a fish creature too but, no. They chose this interspecies romance. Some may argue it’s a Beauty & the Beast story but even in that classic fairy tale the lovers ended the story as the same species. The Shape of Water is also packed with the social justice warrior themes that leftists go gaga over. .Here we have a tight laced 1950’s world dominated by white Christian males in power who are racists, homophobic, and sexual predators. Oh, and they’re in the military too. The black woman is a hardworking cleaning woman with a lazy husband. The other cleaning lady is a wise latina. There’s a gay friend who’s creative and artistic. All are oppressed in 1950’s America. There’s even a communist scientist who is just misunderstood. If a conservative were to echo even one of these stereotypes in a conversation they would be deemed a bigot, but when liberals return to these tropes again and again it’s always celebrated.

It’s also worth noting that many of these films are celebrated world wide in other award ceremonies howing that this rebuke of American traditionalism is global. Besides its heavy handed Oscar roster, The Shape of Water boasted twelve British Academy Award nominations and seven Golden Globe nominations.

The Oscars Telecast

 

Not only have the Oscars become meaningless themselves, but so have the award show telecasts. In fact, they’ve become a complete sham. Today we’ve seen years of award shows across the spectrum from music to TV to film where the awards not only reward projects people don’t want to see, but the presenters and host also lecture the rest of America on how “backward” and “misguided” we are as they rub our noses in what they perceive to be our collective ignorance. Like many progressives, they flaunt how they’re superior in every way to the “flyover” country on morality, politics, and religion. How many award shows have we seen in recent memory where it’s been nothing but a bash fest against Donald Trump; a figure who was once treated as one of their own before he dared to run against Hillary Clinton as a Republican.

In the last few months we’ve seen the latest wave in television, film, and music is about the sexual abuse of women; abuse that apparently a lot of these exact same celebrities knew about for decades and said nothing. Award shows should only be about the work being presented and not a springboard for political causes. I believe this occurs because these celebrities want to be taken seriously so they use their platform to advocate for an issue they deem to be important and in the process they typically succeed in making fools of themselves. When we witness such extreme behavior it becomes blatantly clear what total contempt they hold the rest of America in — you know, the very audience they should be catering to rather than reprimanding. Is it any wonder that award shows across the board have been seeing audience decline for years as this political venom has skyrocketed?

It cannot be denied that the social justice messages in films have become a big turn off to audiences.  But, fear not because here come the social justice wielding progressives riding in on their white horse to tell us which films are important via showering them with their awards. Our choice is to accept the turds they give us that they don’t even bother to polish and claim are gold or do we vote with our wallets and seek out the films that do reflect our values as new competitive film companies spring up. The film industry is transforming but without question the social justice causes are helping to push it off a cliff and awards season is when all of America gets to witness that train wreck first hand. As it stands now, The Oscars are nothing more than virtue signalling participant trophies.

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About The Author

Chief Elf

Ed McCray is the award-winning creator of Jill Chill. He has an animation degree and has worked on a variety of projects in film, radio, and print media. Some of his works include The Sword & the Gauntlet, The Monsters’ Revue, The Adventures of Captain Watercloset & Friends, Noel, and Folked Up America! He has an extensive library on holiday, film, comic strip, and American history with an interest in exploring the untold stories from our eclectic past. When he’s not out saving the world from itself he can be found in his fortress of solitude playing with his electric trains and stringing up Christmas lights.

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