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This year’s Oscars was the biggest gathering of smug, self-important asses in living memory

29 February 2016

3:26 PM

29 February 2016

3:26 PM

The American comic Toby Muresianu put it best: last night’s Oscars felt like ‘three hours of being told to eat your vegetables’. If there has ever been a more grating gathering of smug, self-important asses keen to educate the TV-watching blob about Serious Stuff, then I’m struggling to remember it. Hollywood has clearly forgotten what its job is: to make us squeal and swoon, not raise our awareness about rape and paedophilia and the heat death of the planet and all the other misanthropic bilge the beautiful people spouted last night.

Black people must have been counting their blessings. Sure, being shunned by the 2016 Oscars might have seemed a bit iffy at first, but what a stroke of luck it turned out to be to be left out of a political freakshow in which Lady Gaga sang a ditty about campus rape and Leonardo DiCaprio did his best impression of an earnest but dim sixth-former in his infantile speech about evil polluters plotting against poor Mother Earth. That he did this while accepting the Best Actor gong for a film that is literally all about how mental Mother Nature is — The Revenant — confirmed that he really is just a pretty face.

‘Climate change is real, it is happening right now’, said Leo, to vigorous applause, of course, since believing in climate change is to the 21st century what believing in God was to the 14th: do it or you’re screwed. If an actor had taken to the stage and said, ‘Meh, I’m not convinced by this climate-change lark’, he’d have been elbowed out of Hollywood polite society faster than you could say ‘Joseph McCarthy’.

We shouldn’t ‘take this planet for granted’, decreed DiCaprio. Mate, your award is for a film in which a bear nearly kills you, the cold almost consumes you, and you have to sleep inside a horse just to keep warm. If you had any sense your speech would have been: ‘Nature is a bitch. Seriously. The more mankind can do to tame her, the better. Industrialise everywhere.’


Amazingly, DiCaprio’s dimness was outdone by Lady Gaga’s self-importance. Lady Gaga is self-importance made flesh. Her facial features seem permanently moulded into a look of know-all pomposity. Last night, she thankfully spared us her dress made of meat (the entertainment industry reduces people to flesh, yeah?) and those selfies she took that time she was a bit fat (fat is a feminist issue, right?), and instead treated us to the song ‘Till It Happens To You’. Which is about rape. Crikey. Bring back the meat dress.

‘Till It Happens To You’ is the song Gaga wrote for the documentary The Hunting Ground, which is about the alleged epidemic of rape on American campuses. Gaga spread the movie’s message on the red carpet, when she looked down TV lenses at the blissfully ignorant masses and said with her pompous face: ‘One in five women will be raped before they [finish] college.’

Does it matter that this isn’t true? Or even close to being true? As serious number-crunchers in the US have pointed out, The Hunting Ground’s one-in-five college rape-victim stat is a product of researchers cynically lumping together everything from a drunken grope to actual rape in their questionnaires. Official figures suggest that actually around 6.1 per thousand women at college will be raped or sexually assaulted. So Gaga lied. Her face might say ‘I know everything’, but her words say ‘I haven’t the foggiest what I’m talking about’.

Not content with bashing us with overblown tales of planetary doom and rape epidemics, the Oscar worthies also gave us a generous dollop of identity politics. Everyone tried to outdo each other in the race and gender stakes. ‘I care about black people!’ was the undertone of petty much every statement of the night. Madly wealthy actresses, dripping in diamonds, complained about their pay. Sam Smith dedicated his award to the ‘LGBT community around the world’ and suggested he was the first openly gay man to get a gong. Not true. Sir John Gielgud got one in 1981, 11 years before Sam was born. Facts were the biggest loser last night.

I know what you’re thinking: ‘Blimey, sounds like a heavy night! Still, at least they didn’t talk about paedophilia.’ They did. The producer of Spotlight, a film about priestly child abuse in Boston, a flat, tension-free, washed-out drama that mystifyingly won Best Film, thanked the Oscars for ‘ampli[fying] the voice’ of survivors of clerical sex abuse, and said the voice might now become ‘a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican’. Yep, it’s Oscars vs Vatican now. Saving the planet, rescuing women from harm, overhauling one of the oldest religious institutions on earth — is there anything the luvvies can’t do?

What a nasty night. It was like a bad week on Comment is Free made flesh. Every right-on box was ticked, every hollow PC platitude uttered and re-uttered. Guys, you’re meant to entertain us, not hector us about how awful the world and its inhabitants are. Next year, zip the lip, look good, and accept your awards with old-style Hollywood grace rather than with a tinny PC screech.

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Show comments
  • Callipygian

    Excellent, Brendan.

  • RLStevenson

    Who is this creep Brendan O’Neill and why does he waste time on a bunch of celebrities? What does he want us to suck on? Sulphuric acid?

    • Callipygian

      That would be nice. Why don’t you try it?

  • mars

    No sir, God in the 14th Century was based on faith. Climate change in the 21st on a little bit more than that. It’s called evidence. There’s nothing wrong with actors choosing a international forum to signal awareness on an issue of particular importance to them. It takes no more than a few seconds of your precious time. You can call these award recipients any curse name you want under the book, but by this article you actually seem to be the twit. A whiner and an envious privileged baby.

    • cd

      climate change in the 21st on a little bit more than that. It’s called evidence.

      Climate change is certainly based on evidence. The idea that we are facing rapid climate change is based on climate models. Models are hypotheses they are not evidence.

  • thomasaikenhead

    The real question not addressed at the Oscars is very simple – Are Jews ‘white’?


    I blame Marlon Brando who started the rot in 1973, who boycotted the Oscars, sending in ‘Sacheen Littlefeather’ to publicize Native American rights and to pick up his well-deserved award instead.

    Ever since, hypocritical actors etc, have used this platform to spout their left leaning views to a huge TV audience.

    Good article, but what about the shoe in of Joe Biden for some unaccountable reason and the clunky anti Trump snoorfest ‘jokes’ which keep on coming…

    Oscars will soon become a North Korean Parliament with all the nodding donkeys congratulating themselves on their right-on credentials.

  • Donald McGovern

    Little smelly farty Leo DiCraprio … blah blah blah.

  • gmcurrie

    – ’20 minutes entertainment compressed into 3 hours’

  • Daidragon

    So a ‘drunken grope’ is nothing to worry about. Unless it’s being done by a muslim outside Cologne train station. The right wing are so screwed up about these things.

    • Whichlips

      Ah, the heartless left. Keep showing the world what you’re like.

    • 9sqn

      Except the muslim would very likely have been sober. Its their culture you see. Never mind, you’ll pick it up at some point dear.

  • Border Guy Scot

    I happen to disagree with the sentiment of this document for the simple fact is we’re talking about actors. The principal job is to make us believe stories and situations and I’m not a great adherent to the belief that the should all be Ronald Reagan’s. I think it was Danielle Brooks, on the television at weekend who summed up the issue quite succinctly in that it has nothing to do with the actors and the performances they gave, but the producers and the studios who weren’t giving the storylines are investments to films which would allow actors of all ethnicities to flourish.

    • Callipygian

      Why should we listen to you when you don’t know grammar and can’t even punctuate? Also, your argument is crap.

  • Samuel Hooper

    Chris Rock’s opening monologue was great, but the next four hours were just one virtuoso virtue signalling performance after another:

  • Sviashchenyk

    What a brilliant assessment of this year’s shameful display of arrogance and obligatory human worship that rivalled the regime of Kim Jong-il.

    Ladies and gentlemen, you are actors. People who fake emotion, perform scenes envisioned by directors and utter lines written by others. You are famous not because of a great contribution to mankind that alleviated hunger, hatred or war. You are famous because after two hours of staring at your face in a movie theatre, we remember it. You are paid exorbitant salaries not because you earned them any more than the lady who served my coffee this morning. You are paid ridiculous amounts because others in your industry make ten times more and it seems excessively greedy if some doesn’t trickle down. This money comes from the masses of people who come to be entertained and perhaps inspired by a movie for a day.

    Having said that, it should be said that we like you for the most part. Until you start making declamations about politics, morals and even religion with the conviction that the world should value your opinion any more than that of anyone lined up at the local pub. Hone your acting skills and give us great performances. That’s what we expect and want. The rest is just embarrassing.

    • Sanctimony

      As well as sickening…. Leo the Goat lecturing us on the environment… just before he jumps on his private jet…

  • Dennis Latham

    There is no global warming. It’s a slight shift in the poles to balance the earth during ice build up. That’s why some of the northern ice melts. The East coast of America has shifted slightly north, creating more winter, while the Midwest and west get more tropical. It’s a no-brainer and has been happening since the beginning of time. One volcano pollutes more than we ever could. I had a mile high glacier over my house in 15000 years ago before any industry or cars. Where did it go? Ask a global warmer…they will change the subject real quick. Rich people with jets and houses all over need not talk about global warming…except they are too important to show restraint. Only the peasants need to obey their word. It’s all self-righteous crap so they can act like they know something.

    • Nick

      Good post Dennis.My sentiments exactly.

  • MikePage

    The Oscars only continue what Nobel started.

    No-one takes awards 100% seriously but this really is a loss.

    Poor Leo. What a terrible year to finally get his gong – and for basically 2 hours of gurning.

  • Nick

    This excellent article says what many of us are thinking and I applaud Brendan O’Neill.

    The opening comments made by the host Chris Rock were total anti-white racism.

    Absolute anti-white racism and he knew he could and would get away with saying those things because he’s black and famous.

    You know what I’m going to say don’t you? If he was a white person saying those things about black people blah blah blah.

    I never watch the Oscars because I can’t stand the self adulation and hypocritical rubbish spewed out by these self appointed demi-Gods.

    Good actors who make some great films but dumb luvvies as well who don’t speak for me.

  • Peter Stroud

    The Oscars: a night of diamonds, long dresses, much back slapping, third rate tearful speeches and buckets of insincerity.

  • DellerboyNZ

    Yep and at Rio the medal podium is also going to be racially balanced.
    ‘Sure Ivan, you lifted the equivalent of a V-dub, but that scrawny kid from Kenya is owed a gong, so tuff’

    • anka

      But nobody will protest the lack of diversity in 100 m final, I guess.

      • DellerboyNZ

        He he!

    • Sanctimony

      I think you have confused it with the Paralympics….

  • Suzy61

    Thank Heaven for small mercies….

    The board could have been swept by a film described as a ‘lesbian love story’ or the one described as a ‘transgender love story’.

    I suppose they’ll have to wait their turn – unless they have already had it.

    But why, may I ask, is there never a film made (never mind Oscar nominated) in which the entire cast have boss-eyes?

    Lord, this is 2016!


  • Bernard Slobodnik

    As ben Shapiro says, the Oscars is a night where rich celebrities get together to make each other feel good by telling each other how much each other means to the world.

  • Indra Blade

    Brilliant article, hit the nail on the head.

  • Anthorny

    My favourite quote from Team America sums it up perfectly:

    Janeane Garofolo: As actors, it is our responsibility to read the newspapers, and then say what we read on television like it’s our own opinion.

  • Freddythreepwood

    My parrot, an African Grey, is indignant. He wants to know when was the last time a grey parrot won an Oscar. Or was even nominated. He thinks the Oscars are parrotist and has gone off his seeds. I think he is a bit gay, so I have advised him to write a song for the next Bond movie. He’s a good talker, so his winning speech about the sexual exploitation of bird life should go down a treat. After he has thanked his mother, of course.

    • Sanctimony

      No right-thinking Parrot would have anything to do with the Oscars… they are far too intelligent, especially the African Greys… nor with the airhead Luvvies who demand our approval and applause… they are the dregs of a sub-species….

  • Billiamo

    Gaga’s ballyhooed meat dress wasn’t even original. A protester wore a meat dress outside a Miss America competition at least 30 years ago.

  • FrankieThompson

    Here’s the speech which would end a career.

    “This is an ice age we are living in. There have been millions of years in the earth’s history, long before our sub species arrived, when there was no ice , at all, at the poles. We are living in an interglacial period which started a few thousand years ago, and more or less, coincides with the appearance of human civilisation. The clearest scientific evidence we have, is that shortly( in terms of the age of the earth) the ice will return. Meanwhile, 99.99% of the species which have ever existed on earth, are extinct. I’d like to thank my mother and father, and my agent.”

    • JabbaPapa

      The clearest scientific evidence we have, is that shortly( in terms of the age of the earth) the ice will return

      Like the projections of AGW, there’s no “evidence” of that, only theory — because evidence of future events is by definition non-existent.

      • Whichlips

        Clearly he meant likely projection based on the available evidence

        • JabbaPapa

          Did he ?

          In my experience, only a small minority of contributors to these comboxes even understand what “evidence” even means in the first place, whether in the scientific sense of the word, its legal sense, or really in any particular manner where it is actually used in a precise and meaningful manner.

  • BobSmith101

    PC hog wash from the self anointed.

    When will they have the courage to take on Islam.

    Was Theo Van Gogh the last film maker with courage?

  • Skip Van Lenten

    The period goes inside the quotation mark.

  • Henning_Koch

    Oh dear, Mr. O’Neil, neither very clever remarks, nor funny, only a lot of grumbling, inconsequential moaning, like someone hunched over their Corn Flakes after drinking too much last night. I expect you did, you journalists, ooh, you naughty boring journalists…

  • Sue Smith

    (Breathlessly) …”I want to thank the Academy, my mother and father, my brothers and sisters, my teacher, the woman next door, the Producers, the wonderful Marty Scorsese, my kindergarten teacher who knew I had talent in the first grade. And let’s not forget the beautiful refugees and their plight. We need to open our hearts to these gentle and loving souls and share with them our beautiful country and show them we are a generous, wonderful people. We don’t do racism here; we accept them for the genuine, suffering and grateful human beings we know they are. I think I’m going to cry; God bless you. Open your hearts, light a candle, crochet a quilt”. (Speech made by actor who has won an award as Best Supporting Actor in a gratuitously violent film where human beings show the very worst side of what it is to be precisely that.)

    • The Patriarchy

      Sue, Dahling,
      you forgot the environment, and are you so transphobic that you forgot to thank Bruce Jenner, an inspiration to us all?

      All the same you are a beautiful person and thoroughly deserve your Oscar for best Sue Smith.

      • Sanctimony

        The courage and honesty of Bruce Jenner are not to be underestimated…

        It needs real balls for a chap to have his JT chopped off… some mistake surely… the former would also have to face the axeman… and then be pumped full of oestrogen to
        swell the mammaries and get the squeaky voice etc…

        Bravo, Bruce !!

      • Sue Smith

        I’m so sincere and I’m sure you’re also so sincere that we can outdo each other on really deep and meaningful sincerity. After that, we can look for the unicorn together!!

    • JJD

      Best Supporting Rant… Sue Smith!
      Take a bow!

      • Sue Smith

        Not “supporting”, please, leading RANT.

        • JJD

          The article was the leading rant, and you offered stellar support 🙂

          • Sue Smith

            (Looks glowingly at phone during selfie.) Why, thank you.

    • Frank Marker

      Did you apply the Lee Strasberg ‘Method’ for this one?

      • Sue Smith

        No, but I’m reminded of “Arsenic and Old Lace” and the terrified objections of Peter Lorre….”Oh, Johnny, not the Melbourne method!!”

  • Doctor Mick

    Tom Wolfe nailed the type in a speech he gave 16 years ago.

    One of the things that I find really makes it worth watching all the Academy Awards, all the Emmys, all those awards ceremonies, is to see how today’s actors and television performers have discovered the formula. If you become indignant, this elevates you to the plane of “intellectual.” No mental activity is required. It is a rule, to which there has never been an exception, that when an actor or a television performer rises up to the microphone at one of these awards ceremonies and expresses moral indignation over something, he illustrates Marshall McLuhan’s dictum that “moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity.”

    • Sanctimony

      Bravo Tom Wolfe…. and the Luvvies are truly, truly self-parodying …

    • Frank Marker

      Always up the mark is Mr Wolfe. It’s always a delight to know he can cut through the bulls*** with insightful comments about almost anything. Radical chic indeed!

  • Sue Smith

    Oh when are these narcissistic and shallow ‘progressives’ going to stop lecturing us all? Listen up you Hollywood ‘stars’ – you make entertainment, mostly for the lumpen proletariat, and you think this gives you the right to tell the few intelligent people who tune in for 5 minutes that you know what’s best for the world!!?? Seriously? Leo: you’ve made money dressed us as a neanderthal crawling through the slime and making grunting noises. It’s not a Nobel Prize in Physics, man!! They’re not going to put you in charge of the NASA Space Program. It’s all make believe.

    Reality check: your ‘technicians’ make noise with all the crashing, banging, whirring, fizzing, exploding, screeching, whining and clattering that the modern computer is capable of. And for this you think an “Oscar” category is warranted? Give me a break!!

    Just get out there in your frocks and suits and speak nicely to the people who keep you in a job and try to reduce your pontificating to a minimum. You are a product bought and sold so please don’t pretend to be otherwise. The fact that you earn more than the managing directors of most corporations with capitalizations in the billions means that you were born lucky, not brilliant.

  • Maureen Fisher

    I recall when Romano Prodi the Italian politician was summoned by La Jolie to discuss “world politics” and said he didn’t have the time, afterwards wryly commenting that it’s the first time a politician gets criticised for not having a rendezvous with an actress. Well done that man!

    • Sanctimony

      La Jolie is the worst of the worst… publicity-seeking virago who goes into battle, or bed, with the blood of her trashed ex’s blood hanging in phials round her neck… next stunt; very publicly has her t@ts chopped off and then develops a crush on the Mekon, aka William Hague who sacrifices a morning of wrestling with his ‘pal’ Lord Coe, to accommodate this ludicrous Valkyrie… what’s going to be her next attention-seeking move… self flagellation, naked of course, in the Sistine Chapel….

  • HJ777

    John Gielgud on showbiz awards and presentation ceremonies:

    “”I really detest all the mutual congratulation baloney and the invidious comparisons which they evoke.”

  • Maureen Fisher

    These are the sort of people who fly into a rage with their underlings if their whims aren’t instantly met.

  • Ben Morse

    This article serves to point out that even the Spectator isn’t above poorly thought out, trashy clickbait. I expected better – this reads like a Daily Mash piece hammered out by a sixth form library prefect.

    • Whichlips

      The influence celebrity culture has had on the public mind, and what it represents of the public mind, aren’t such a trivial topic, and I’m happy to see any attempt to neutralise, or neuter, it.

  • Paul

    Too cynical

  • dukestreet

    There has been a study I heard about yesterday, that says that there has been no climate change for 18 years. There have been many scientists who’ve been saying this for quite a while. Why are we listening to entertainers, who have no background in this science, rather than the people who actually know the facts? I just remembered, most people watched the opening monologue and then turn the show off. I guess not as many are listening to these preachy people as they think we do.

    Come to think of it I often hear much better preaching from real preachers who actually know what they’re talking about.

    • JabbaPapa

      There has been a study I heard about yesterday, that says that there has been no climate change for 18 years

      Quite apart from the fact that those claims are robustly disputed, do you understand the difference between “the environment” and “the climate” ?