Academy Award Actors, We Need to Talk
Vladimir Putin, according to our intelligence agencies, suffers the dilemma of the autocrat. He has surrounded himself with advisors who won’t tell him the truth. They tell him only what he wants to hear, which leads him to blunder.
While the stakes are much lower, I fear the same is true for members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. I suspect you surround yourselves with people whom, upon entering the toilet you just vacated, smell only cinnamon and roses.
It is time for us to have a heart to heart. I am someone you don’t know, and who wants nothing from you. And I am here to tell you that many of you have forgotten what you are.
You are not princes of Bel-Air. You are not royalty. You may have a star on the sidewalk that we walk on, but you are not actually stars. You are entertainers. You make your living by entertaining us. The moment you cease to entertain us, is the moment your career is over.
In a different age, you would be called clowns, jesters, and players. And some of you are poor players indeed, whose hour upon the stage, where you strut and fret, has grown long and dull.
So, allow me to offer you a piece of free advice. If you are fortunate enough to attend the Oscars and someone on stage makes a joke about you – laugh.
If a host or presenter, who is working to make the Academy Awards relevant, to keep the audience engaged, while you sit in a cushioned seat, brings you into a joke, you have just become part of the performance. Laugh.
Appear to be someone we would like to be around for some reason other than to get a selfie to show our friends.
Go back to your beginnings. Remember your training. If someone throws you the ball, you do not drop it. You do not make it about you. You catch it and pass it back. Demonstrate you comprehend this event is supposed to be fun.
Yes, this includes you, Jake Gyllenhaal. And you, Samuel L. Jackson. And even you, Jada Pinkett Smith.
What do you do if the joke is about your personal appearance? You laugh.
You are a big girl, not a twelve-year-old. Model a woman who is comfortable in her own skin.
If any of you cannot bring yourselves to do this, then don’t come. I mean it. We won’t miss you. Nobody turned to their couch partner, last week, and said, “I wonder where Tom Cruise is.” No one, next year, will say “I wonder where Will Smith is.” We all know why he won’t be there. And part of the reason is because so many of you have forgotten how to laugh at yourselves.
If you need to show off your outfit on the red carpet beforehand, then do so, and go straight to the bar. Give your tickets to someone who actually wants to be there, as opposed to someone who just wants to be seen there. You have staff, publicists, consultants, who would love to attend in your place. There are people who work on your films, who would be ecstatic to be in that theater. Want to help bring the Academy Awards out of its ratings doldrums? Fill the audience with people who want to be there.
Enthusiasm is infectious. And so is its opposite.
But what should I do, you might ask, if I don’t think the joke is funny? I will tell you, and it is a novel concept indeed.