Pass Me A Grapefruit

Remember that famous scene in the old film Public Enemy where Jimmy Cagney shoves a grapefruit into a woman’s face?   It came to mind for some reason when I read this dopey op-ed by Kim Elsesser this morning in the New York Times.

Now, normally, I’m so delighted to see the Times put its opinion pieces on the opinion page instead of the front page that I give them all a pass.  But Miss Elsesser, a research scholar at UCLA’s Center for the Study of Women, which up till now I thought was an off-campus tavern, opines that the Academy Awards should stop giving best acting awards in male and female categories and give just one award to both or either or…   well, you get the idea.

I know.  Who cares?  Maybe all of Hollywood should just meet on Sunset Boulevard and one half should give statuettes to the other half and then repeat the process in reverse.  But it’s such typical identity politics that it kind of bugs me.  I mean, if there should be one award for both actors and actresses then that means there’s no difference between actors and actresses, right?  So if an actor won the award ten years in a row and not an actress, there’d be nothing wrong with that because there’s no difference between them, right?  But of course if that happened, who would be the first person caterwauling and complaining in an op-ed in the New York Times that women were being treated unfairly?  Right.  The girl from the off-campus tavern.  All of a sudden, the differences would matter again.

Miss Elsesser is just doing the classic leftist two-step:  using one grievance to create grounds for a thousand more grievances.  One Oscar for males and females means every year Academy members have to do the gender equity math and we have to listen to people like this moan and groan about the unfairness of the results and how women are this, that and whatever.  Since no one gives a rat’s about the Oscars anyway, it’d only be a miniscule decrease in the joy of living, to be sure.  But with our left wing intent on depriving us of every ounce of that joy, I don’t think we should cede even a single drop.

UPDATE: Nope, the commenter is right and I’m wrong, the question was about Mo’nique.  But my point remains.  I was not thinking of race any more than I was when I lavished praise on the great Morgan Freeman.  The race thing is just something lefties say.

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  • Margaret Evans

    Just read the piece. Oh, puh-leeze. I’d always assumed they had two categories so the MEN would have a decent chance :-)

  • Will Bower

    What I’ve recently thought is this:

    On the ballot every year — in addition to having the individual acting categories as they currently stand — have all 20 of the actor nominees (male, female, supporting male, and supporting female) in an “Actor par Excellence” category… in which one of the twenty will get an uber-acting award, regardless of gender AND size of role.

    It’s a way in which we can have our cake and eat it too… keeping things the way they are, whilst also giving out a platinum medal for the standout of standouts. (This year, I have little doubt that that person would be Mo’Nique for “Precious”.)

    My friends and I have put together our own awards every year for the past six years, and the acting category is indeed blind to both gender and size of role. We’ve had 4 men / 2 women win… and 4 lead roles / 2 supporting roles… so it’s been -mostly- balanced.

    2004 – Jamie Foxx (Ray)
    2005 – Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain)
    2006 – Helen Mirren (The Queen)
    2007 – Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood)
    2008 – Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
    2009 – Mo’Nique (Precious)

  • Danielle Polemeni

    Your interview on 610AM WTVN Columbus on Friday, March 5 was extremely offensive. Your insistence on chuckling through a review of Precious, a film you admittedly did not see or plan to see, is absurd; how can you comment on a film you have not seen? Trust me, there is nothing to chuckle about in that film, and Mo’Nique’s performance as Mary Jones is brutally realistic and terrifyingly brilliant. Your assertion that her role is a “token nomination” is absolutely racist and insulting.

  • Will Bower

    If/whenever you do get the chance to see “Precious”, Andrew, I’ll be curious as to your take on it. I agree that film awards can be given for the wrong reasons, but — in Mo’Nique’s case — I can’t think of anyone who delivered a better performance in 2009. Immediately after seeing it (in early November), I came home and Twittered “I know who will be winning Best Supporting Actress next year”.

  • Taj

    The sad thing is that the lame stream media is giving this dopey UCLA researcher coverage of her stupid ideas. Nice that she timed her article just before the Oscars. Very good article, will want to read some of your books. Keep up the column!

  • Dave

    Gender neutral, simply means lesbians and men who are pussies being defined as the norm.

  • Tempus Fugit

    Maybe they should have a separate Oscarette statue with boobs. Or would a hermaphrodite statue be more appropriate?

  • Wes

    One would suppose it takes a Mary Jones type to know a Mary Jones type. Who really wants to view 90 minutes or so of dysfunctional depravity other then the dysfunctional or depraved?

  • Will Bower

    Wes — Is/was that your take on Hannibal Lecter in “Silence of the Lambs”? …or on Annie Wilkes in “Misery”?

    If so, then I can see where you’d want awards given to writers for creating screen-worthy characters. On my end, great acting is great acting is great acting.

  • EdSki

    UCLA’s Center for the Study of Women, which up till now I thought was an off-campus tavern

    That is the single funniest joke I’ve hear in I don’t know how long.

    It ranks right up there with “If I were a German, and I found myself falling for a charismatic politician, I would stop, right now.’

  • AtheistConservative

    I love that tired line of “how can you comment on a film you haven’t seen”, coming from people who routinely talk about the assumed awfulness the Conservative authors/radio hosts/politicans whose work they never consume.

    If Klavan had written a review of the movie, that would be one thing. Instead he just chuckled about it and joked about how stupid it looks, both impressions one can quite easily take from the marketing.

    And that’s all irrelevant anyway. Ever notice how whenever a leftist has one of their beliefs refuted, they try to distract?

  • captain grumpy

    Well,I have never heard of such a waste of money as a “centre for the study of women” .What a bunch of egotistacal self serving people they must be.
    I think I will change that last para to read “egotEsticle women”.
    Where is the centre for the study of men,or would that be sexist.
    Why are women so full of themselves ???

  • K

    What I want to know is what the researchers at the UCLA Center for the Study of Men have to say. . . . . . . wait.

  • CarryingColoradan

    I don’t think you need to see a movie (e.g., “Precious”) to opine that it’s dumb. While it’s true that there is nothing laughable about the situation portrayed, the movie shows nothing uplifting. It’s pretty much a complete downer, which is nihilistic. Consider “The Blind Side” by contrast. The young man has a pretty crappy upbringing, too, but in this case, somebody else steps in to help him. (Sucks that the Tuohys are (1) rich, (2) hard workers, (3) white, and (4) Christian, huh?!) Doesn’t the welfare system exist, nominally, to provide that uplift for the downtrodden? And yet it hasn’t done so, in either movie. Is there a point to making a movie that portrays a lousy situation, if not to try to rectify it in some way? But how does portraying that situation as utterly hopeless right up to the credits help?

    There’s enough misery out there that you don’t need to waste two hours or more in a theater to see it; you can actually go out and do something about it.

  • Wes

    Yes that’s my take.

  • Will Bower


    In “Precious”, people do indeed step in to help Precious… namely Ms. Rain (Paula Patton) and Mrs. Weiss (Mariah Carey). In the case of the latter (Mrs. Weiss), she is indeed within the welfare system which you mention.

    I would say that the end of “Precious” is indeed uplifting. Precious decides to take responsibility for both her children and to walk away from her abusive home situation. As grueling as it was to get there, the end made me feel as if good decisions were ultimately made and that hope was once again a possibility.

  • Danielle Polemeni
  • Will Bower

    Having just listened to the WTVN interview:

    Firstly, I think Andrew has nothing to worry about re: Sandra Bullock. I think she’s a shoe-in for Best Actress.

    As for his take on “Precious”, Danielle, I don’t believe there’s anything racist in his assessment. I do believe, however, that Mo’Nique will be giving her acceptance speech in about, oh, 46 hours from the time of this posting. :)

    With the exception of Best Pic and Best Director, I think the other six of the Big Eight are nearly set in stone… Bridges, Bullock, Waltz, Mo’Nique… with Screenplays going to “Inglourious Basterds” (Original) and “Up in the Air” (Adapted).

    As for Best Pic and Best Director, I agree with Andrew that a split this year is most likely, with “Avatar” for Pic, and Bigelow for Director.

  • Will Bower

    Ps, I listened to the interview once more, Danielle, and it sounds as if Andrew is referring to the film “Precious” as a whole… and not to Mo’Nique’s performance. As much as I prefer “Precious” (and “Up”) to most of the other nominees, I believe Andrew is correct insofar as his belief that the film (and not the acting) has little chance of winning, at least against the likes of “Avatar” and/or “The Hurt Locker”.

  • Mark

    If actress’ continue to ask to be callled an “actor” in interviews, why not eliminate the best actress category? For the last ten years I have noticed this phenomenon becoming more accepted. Since there are no more that ten outstanding performances a year between both categories, why not? Besides, it would speed up the show!

    These days all we have are actors and actresses, sadly no movie stars.

  • Mr B

    Everyone should get an Oscar for participating.

    I suspect that Andrew’s comment on Mo’nique stem’s from the problem created by the Lefts war on Merit (did she earn it?). I find Affirmative Action offensive. And in Leftist centered environments, like Hollywood and the Oscars, one might expect to see a “token gesture”; just to make them feel better about themselves (and inclusive). The problem with that is that it is not based on merit then, it is based on skin color (racism).

    If Mo’nique acted brilliantly then she needs to be rewarded on merit and not anything other than that. That problem stems from the racist policy created by the Left.

    So, I find Danielle’s OUTRAGE amusing. Is it based on an unfair assessment of merit or a criticism of a leftist racist policy?