Hooray for Hollywood and Sunday’s Oscars

The Oscars had all eyes on Hollywood - sort of.

Jack Engelhard

OpEds Jack Engelhard
Jack Engelhard
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I’ll say this about the Oscars. Imagine, four hours of television and not a single beheading, none that we saw unless we changed channels to hear that America’s shopping malls were on high alert against a new threat from Islamic terrorists. Nobody cared. America and the rest of the world took a breather.

Even my relatives in Israel gave politics a rest.

Only by morning would The New York Times reveal that overnight Jewish victims had won a landmark case against Arab terrorists in a New York courtroom.

All eyes were on Hollywood. 

Another relief was that there was no award for some short film or documentary made in Israel by Israelis featuring Israelis as villains.
Apparently everybody watched the Oscars program -- something like two billion people around the globe.

First the host, what’s his name. Well, already a problem. Who are these people? Remember Norma Desmond from “Sunset Boulevard?”

“People had faces,” she said about silent-film Hollywood.

Well, back in the Hollywood that I knew, people had names. You want names? Gable, Cooper, Grant, Stewart, Holden, Bogart, Peck, Brando, Newman, Redford.

These were men. They also had faces. I can hardly name you a single face or a name from Sunday night.

Today’s actors not named Clint Eastwood, do they shave yet? Directors were grizzly men. They wore eye patches. Men like John Ford. John Huston.

We knew these people, year after year.

Remember Bacall, Monroe, Hayworth, Hayward, Gardner, Taylor, Hepburn, Crawford? Eva Marie Saint, for crying out loud!

Real women – where were they last night?

Remember fat people? There were no fat people in the audience.

“No fat people, no smoking, no potholes in Hollywood” to quote from this book where today’s sins of politics and journalism are dramatically exposed through a time-honored Biblical plot. Yes, now it can be told that my novel “The Bathsheba Deadline” has caught the attention of Hollywood producers who promise to make it big (like my earlier “Indecent Proposal”) so I persist with my cynicism at my peril.

I may never do lunch in that town again. Oh well.

David Lean (“Lawrence of Arabia”…”Dr. Zhivago”) lamented: “There’s nothing big anymore, is there.”

Now for the winners. Usually I forget who won for Best Picture the following week. Can you name last year’s Best Picture? Thought so.

Well I have already forgotten this year’s, even though it was announced only an hour ago. The movie about some hotel in Budapest did not win. That is a relief.

Another relief was that there was no award for some short film or documentary made in Israel by Israelis featuring Israelis as villains.

I waited for that as an Oscar show without some form of Israel-bashing is simply incomplete. Vanessa Redgrave. Now there’s a name to forget.

A few minutes ago one of the presenters announced that Hollywood stands for freedom of expression. Every point of view is welcome.

Really? Could “Exodus” be filmed today? Don’t kid me.

I did catch some mention for “Selma,” the movie about the Civil Rights movement that forgot Rabbi Heschel and all the other Jews who made it happen. Oh well.

On the whole, please spare us your causes. We pay you to act. So shut up and act.

I am totally in favor of women’s rights. But not from someone expressing her hardships while posing in her gown from Yves Saint Laurent.

The million women and girls being raped and sold into slavery throughout the Muslim world are not worried about equal pay.

As for best actor, somebody won. The name escapes me. But you know who I mean. If you do know, I challenge you to remember it again next week,

Same goes for best picture and best actress and best everything. Nothing sticks.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the movies. I admire talent. I know what it takes to create a work of art.

Back to Norma Desmond who also said, “I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.”

Which somewhat voices my complaint – “It’s the people that got small.”

So here’s to the winners and to the entire Academy if only for these few hours of diversion. The real world is not The Sound of Music

Wait a minute. I have since been informed that Julianne Moore received a well-deserved Best Actress award for her role in “Still Alice.” Ditto JK Simmons for Best Supporting Actor in “Whiplash.” Best Movie went to “Birdman” because nobody saw the movie.

Now this: London’s Eddie Redmayne won for Best Actor. In “The Theory of Everything,” he portrayed the world’s most famous physicist Stephen Hawking who suffers from Lou Gehrig’s disease and thus can only communicate by means of a technological miracle developed mostly in Israel. Hawking belongs to a group that boycotts Israel.

See what I mean?

Jack Engelhard writes a regular column for Arutz Sheva. The new thriller from the New York-based novelist, The Bathsheba Deadline, a heroic editor’s singlehanded war on terror and against media bias. Engelhard wrote the int’l bestseller Indecent Proposal that was translated into more than 22 languages and turned into a Paramount motion picture starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. Website: www.jackengelhard.com