Depending on who you ask, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is either a group of arrogant, money-grubbing elite liberal Jews and sodomites from the coast, or a group of majority old white, racist men clinging to the past and Hollywood “conservative” traditions, whatever that means. Many Southerners, Midwesterners and gun-toting Trumpers regard Hollywood and the Academy with the sort of disgust they only reserve for Democrats and assorted liberals. Woke Twitter and many assorted liberals regard Hollywood and the Academy with a sort of disgust that recalls the worst of Puritanism and Moral Majority Republicans of the 1990’s. In both cases, their concept of thousands of individuals is reductive and often times out of step with what we learned only a year ago. The Academy may not be a melting pot, but it’s more like America than we think.
In America, depending on which side of the fence you fall on, we’re cheering and decrying following every Presidential election. Every four years we’re reevaluating the country and its voting populace, despite the fact that for the most part nothing has changed in four years. More or less, the country is the same, with the same number of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. The only difference is how many of them voted. It’s all a numbers game, and the same applies to the Academy Awards. They are still the same body that awarded Best Picture to a film about a gay black teenager, or to a film about love between one woman and a fish-man. To say this is the same Academy that gave it all to Crash in 2006 speaks to an inability to remember history, very recent history in fact, and a lack of perspective. Green Book‘s win does not mean the Academy has reverted to its old ways overnight, that the “new Academy” never was and is only a delusion. Green Book‘s win is the result of more people liking it, plain and simple, and that probably includes more younger, non-white, non-male voters than you’d like to believe.
Red or blue, elephant or jack ass, high horses and hypocrisy prevent us from seeing the less controversial truth about not only the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, but our own country as well. Elections, for President or moving pictures, are a fluid thing. To some extent, we are still the same country that elected Obama, just like that congregation of actors, directors, producers, and more are still the “new Academy.” Democrats and assorted liberals are always waiting for the worm to turn once and for all, not realizing that change is slow, progress is hard. Republicans and assorted conservatives are always reaching to shut down Hollywood for being “out of touch,” while not a word is said of the man in office who once owned a toilet made of gold. As always, the Academy will continue to surprise and confound those who seek to pigeonhole them as a homogeneous body. And, as always, America will continue to move forward, leaving the idealistic and the nihilistic in the wind.