Oscar – that little gold statue that the movie industry hands out – is all but dead.  He had a long life – born on May 6, 1929.  (93 years old – so you do not have to do the mental math).

Oscar is a lot like the real live folks in Hollywood.  He started out small, but grew to be a rich, successful, and formidable guy.  He had style … panache … charisma … and gold-plated charm.  In his day, he commanded a lot of attention.  Everyone who was anyone knew him.  He was instantly recognized.  His annual show was among the most viewed events on television.  Guessing who he would honor consumed enormous news coverage for weeks ahead of the announcement.

He is recalled whenever one hears “…and the winner is.”  Those announcements were so important that the names of the recipients were guarded by close-mouthed accountants, lawyers, and security guards.  No surprise military missions maintained better secrecy.

Those whose names were inside the carefully guarded envelopes would explode with joy and come to the stage so thrilled that they would thank everyone from the movie’s producer to the restroom attendant.

Everyone in the movie industry wished Oscar would come home with them – from the biggest stars to the people behind the cameras.  He was always afforded the most important locations in the home – and introduced to everyone who entered. 

He was so important that he was the key man in an “academy” – not just some common “Inc.” or “LLC”.  No.  No.  An academy.  He was an institution.  Twelve-foot statues of Oscar were erected – some temporary and some permanent.  Some even described Hollywood as the town that Oscar built – although folks with names like Mayer and Warner may disagree.

But Oscar is gravely ill – maybe already dead.  But why?

The first and easy answer is that nothing goes on forever.  Nothing.  And certainly not Oscar.  He started to get a little boring.  A lot of folks stopped caring who he went home with – or why.  His once prominent show started to fade in the ratings.

Like so many Hollywood has-beens, Oscar tried a few comebacks.  He changed his shows to keep the television audiences from continuing to flee.  More film clips.  Less film clips.  More singers.  Fewer singers.  More outrageous gowns covering less flesh.  More elegant gowns coving only slightly more flesh. Nothing worked.  Oscar was dying.

Oscar also seemed to give himself to stars and movies in response to Hollywood external and internal politics – and not so much on professional excellence.  Some members of the profession were virtually black-balled – although Oscar always denied all that.

Some say that Oscar has been badly injured by the new forms of movie entertainment – especially among the younger generation.  They are getting movies from multiple sources on multiple devices.  They are less interested in Hollywood’s version of the lives of the rich and famous – and that obsession has been the mainstay of the Oscar’s Academy Awards.

Oscar may have been done in by the stars he honored – at least partly.  More and more they skipped thanking the movie producer and the restroom attendant and started to give speeches on controversial issues.  And even worse, the causes promoted on the stage all came from one side of the philosophic spectrum.  Folks on the other side were now getting pissed.

Most recently Oscar got a figurative slap in the face when Will Smith literally slapped Chris Rock.  Later that night, Oscar when home with Smith as his pick for Best Actor. The golden boy of Hollywood is just not careful of the company he keeps.

In response to criticism that for years Oscar was a racist … and a misogynist … and a homophobe … he went full woke.  It seemed that he would go home only with minorities … women … and gays.  

And then there was the coup de grace.  Oscar issued his edict on diversity.  It declared that he will not even consider going home with any movie people who will not adhere to his new restrictive code that applies to the Best Picture category.

To be eligible to take home the most coveted Oscar, a movie must check a few boxes.  The cast must have acceptable diversity.  The professional and technical staff must be diversified along the lines of identity politics.  Characters in the movies – all those extras and one-liners – must reflect the demographics of America.  And even the scripts must incorporate the correct cultural message.  

Oscar’s new policy states that “at least 30% of secondary actors must be from a list of ‘underrepresented’ groups, including women, “LGBTQ+,” or disabled people.”  It is a list that Oscar made up.

In other words, woke political correctness will be the first and foremost consideration of artistic achievement in movies.  Of course, that will do nothing but stifle creativity and create bizarre storylines.  New York Post movie critic Kyle Smith wrote that Oscar (the Academy) is basically “announcing it was formally rejecting the pursuit of artistic quality in favor of a byzantine quota system.”

Writing in The National Interest, Jarrett Stepman said that “If there’s a silver lining to the Oscars’ forthcoming quotas, perhaps it will further loosen Hollywood’s grip on America’s cultural imagination and lead to a rebellion against the ideologically calcified, increasingly predictable wokeness we’ve become so accustomed to from La La Land.”  That can be translated to mean the end of Oscar.

If Oscar is not dead, he is most certainly on life support.

So, there ‘tis.

By Larry Horist

So, there ‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.