PIERS MORGAN: RIP The Oscars – a woke-ravaged, dull train-wreck

PIERS MORGAN: RIP The Oscars – these grim, woke-ravaged, fun-devoid awards were a howlingly dull train-wreck that killed the Hollywood dream stone dead

The howl was loud, prolonged, anguished and animated.

Actress Frances McDormand’s bizarre imitation of a wolf was comfortably the most surprising and interesting part of this year’s Oscars.

And although there was a heartfelt story behind it – she was paying tribute to a sound engineer on her movie Nomadland named Michael Wolf Snyder who took his life earlier this year – the howl perfectly encapsulated my own feelings watching the most unwatchable Academy Awards in history.

Honestly, if there was an Oscar for Worst Horror Story, it would go to whoever decided it would be a good idea to hold this year’s event in a train station.

Though ironically, that turned out to be the most perfectly appropriate venue for a grim, soulless three-hour ordeal that was the complete opposite of what Hollywood’s biggest night is supposed to be about.

I’d have been genuinely more entertained if I’d actually just watched trains coming and going.

The Oscars had one job after the whole world had endured a year of hell with the coronavirus pandemic: make us feel better.

The fact it made us all feel slightly worse by the end is an almost miraculously bad achievement worthy of winning an award itself.

Everything about it stank.

Nothing quite prepared me for the opening of The Oscars itself, or rather lack of opening. Regina King was filmed walking through the train station into what resembled a large waiting room housing a handful of socially distanced nominees and their guests 

King tripped as she reached the podium and then announced: ‘I know a lot of you people at home want to reach for your remote when you feel like Hollywood is preaching to you’

If there was an Oscar for Worst Horror Story, it would go to whoever decided it would be a good idea to hold this year’s event in a train station. Though ironically, that turned out to be the most perfectly appropriate venue for a grim, soulless three-hour ordeal that was the complete opposite of what Hollywood’s biggest night is supposed to be about

First, there was no host to make us laugh – a woefully lame decision made even more irksome by Ricky Gervais re-tweeting his brilliantly acerbic 2020 Golden Globes monologue, in which he verbally spray-gunned many of Hollywood’s biggest names, with the words: ‘It’s The Oscars tonight! I wasn’t invited, was it something I said?’

Yes Ricky, it was – you made us laugh our spleens out by being gloriously inappropriate and irreverent, but that is now a crime in liberal-fascist woke-ravaged America punishable by cancellation from all future awards shows.

Second, there were no big musical, theatrical or comedy performances to warm our covid-deflated hearts. There wasn’t even an orchestra, for God’s sake.

To which I simply ask the obvious question: why not?

Who in their right mind would think the answer to falling Oscars’ popularity, against the new backdrop of a devastating global pandemic, was no fun, no acts and longer preaching speeches?

Third, there were no big movies to celebrate. The Best Picture winner Nomadland grossed just $2.5 million, meaning pretty much nobody watched it. It’s a beautifully made film, and Frances McDormand gives a typically superb performance. But the scene where she literally sh*ts into a bucket could have been a metaphor for its box office popularity.

There were no big movies to celebrate. The Best Picture winner Nomadland grossed just $2.5 million, meaning pretty much nobody watched it. Pictured: Producer Peter Spears, Frances McDormand, director Chloe Zao, Mollye Asher and Dan Janvey

There were no big movies to celebrate. The Best Picture winner Nomadland grossed just $2.5 million, meaning pretty much nobody watched it. It’s a beautifully made film, and Frances McDormand (pictured) gives a typically superb performance. But the scene where she literally sh*ts into a bucket could have been a metaphor for its box office popularity


Sunday night’s Oscars – widely condemned as the most boring in history – ended with further upset after Anthony Hopkins beat Chadwick Boseman to win Best Actor 

The Oscar for best actor went to Sir Anthony Hopkins. This was the right decision – by common critics’ consent he gave the best and most powerful performance of the year in The Father. The problem was that Hopkins wasn’t there and didn’t appear by video-link either. (Hilariously, his agent later revealed he was fast asleep at his home back in Wales)

The reason for that is obvious: like most of the other honoured movies, Nomadland had a serious, moralising and slightly depressing theme to it. I don’t doubt the quality of the filmmaking or the acting, but the Oscars shouldn’t be an annual celebration of niche downbeat movies that make the acting profession purr at the wonder of its own stagecraft with no regard for commercial success – they should be a celebration of movies that people actually watch and which, God forbid, are actually entertaining.

We weren’t even shown clips from most of this year’s offerings, an extraordinary decision that I can only assume was based on the producers’ fear that if we saw them, we’d be even more bemused they were winning Oscars.

Instead, we were treated to a breathtakingly boring procession of self-indulgent heavily scripted actors delivering supremely virtuous identity-politics speeches.

The alarm bells for this historic fiasco first sounded with the red carpet.

The Oscars arrivals ceremony, which I’ve covered many times, is usually the glitziest, most glamorous and star-studded collection of human beings amassed on Planet Earth.

To complete a host of crazy decisions, producers decided to ditch Best Picture from its usual place as the thrilling finale and replace it with Best Actor. Cynics believed they did this to exploit feverish anticipation that the late Chadwick Boseman had posthumously won the coveted Actor gong which would provide a highly emotional denouement to the show

But I didn’t even recognize most of the small number of ‘stars’ who tottered down the shortened rug – ‘carpet’ seems an excessive description given its diminutive size – let alone care about the platitudes they spewed.

In fact, I’ve seen more famous people at my annual Christmas pub drinks party.

But nothing quite prepared me for the opening of the show itself, or rather lack of opening.

Regina King was filmed walking through the train station into what resembled a large waiting room housing a handful of socially distanced nominees and their guests.

She tripped as she reached the podium and then announced: ‘I know a lot of you people at home want to reach for your remote when you feel like Hollywood is preaching to you.’

Yes, we do, which is why Oscars’ ratings have collapsed in recent years as the woke lectures have increased in both volume and scale of sanctimony.

But that didn’t stop Regina, who wanted us to know that if the George Floyd trial verdict had gone the wrong way in Minnesota last week ‘I may have traded in my heels for marching boots.’

This triggered the habitual (in recent years) series of politically motivated podium pronouncements from presenters and winners about everything from racial injustice to transgender activism.

There’s a time and a place for such rhetoric and I’ve never thought it should be at the Oscars.

The hectoring tone was only momentarily relieved by Glenn Close, still the best actress never to win an Oscar, spitting f-word profanities and leaping to her feet to perform a frenzied impromptu Da Butt dance.

This, sadly, was a short-lived outbreak of spontaneous joy in an otherwise agonisingly dull show.

The hectoring tone of the awards show was only momentarily relieved by Glenn Close, still the best actress never to win an Oscar, spitting f-word profanities and leaping to her feet to perform a frenzied impromptu Da Butt dance

To complete a host of crazy decisions, producers decided to ditch Best Picture from its usual place as the thrilling finale and replace it with Best Actor.

Cynics believed they did this to exploit feverish anticipation that the late Chadwick Boseman had posthumously won the coveted Actor gong which would provide a highly emotional denouement to the show.

But in the eventuality, it went to Sir Anthony Hopkins.

This was the right decision – by common critics’ consent he gave the best and most powerful performance of the year in The Father.

The problem was that Hopkins wasn’t there and didn’t appear by video-link either. (Hilariously, his agent later revealed he was fast asleep at his home back in Wales.)

So, the 2021 Oscars ended with presenter Joaquin Phoenix quietly mumbling that the Academy would accept the award on Hopkins’ behalf, and er, that’s it.

It was a comically unexciting conclusion to a mind-numbingly tedious night.

And, predictably, it sparked an instant Twitter furore from never-satisfied whiny woke warriors who were outraged that one tiny part of the show hadn’t bowed to their agenda.

William Yu, a Korean-American scriptwriter, summed up this mindset by tweeting: ‘The way the Oscars had so much diversity progress only to then end on an old white man winning the last award and his not being there to accept it oop.’

That ‘old white man’ is one of the greatest actors of his generation who won strictly on merit.

But this is where the Oscars have now taken us – into a ridiculous politically-correct abyss where honoring an award-laden bona fide acting genius movie star is now seen as offensive because he’s an ‘old white man.’

Sir Anthony’s win for best actor sparked an instant Twitter furore from never-satisfied whiny woke warriors who were outraged that one tiny part of the show hadn’t bowed to their agenda. William Yu, a Korean-American scriptwriter, summed up this mindset by tweeting: ‘The way the Oscars had so much diversity progress only to then end on an old white man winning the last award and his not being there to accept it oop’

The fact Sir Anthony refused to have anything to do with last night’s grotesque farce just makes me respect him even more.

The tragic truth is that the Oscars as we know it died last night – woked to death by a craven collective desire from those involved to preach not entertain, to lecture rather than make us laugh, and to virtue-signal instead of perform.

Just when we all needed cheering up, and craved a dash of desperately needed escapism, the entertainment capital of the world tipped a gigantic barrel of misery-fluid out of screens to make us all feel just a little bit sadder.

‘Hollywood has always been a cage,’ said the acclaimed producer John Huston, ‘a cage to catch our dreams.’

Well last night, the Hollywood Dream morphed into a Hollywood Nightmare.

And by deliberately crashing the entertainment express into the sidings of Woke Central Station, Hollywood made the Oscars a howling train-wreck.

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