There has been a lot of brouhaha – some of it in The New York Times– regarding Green Book winning The Academy Award’s Best Picture, many suggesting Spike Lee’s Blackkklansman was much more deserving.
I am not sure what to make of this childish outrage, given that the awards orgy has far less to do with film-making than faux grandstanding.
Hollywood’s attempt to do the right thing in correcting racial representation in filmmaking, as right and wonderful as it is, has all the grace of Lenny embracing his mouse, or a strung-out actress clinging to her award.
The thing is Blackkklansman was a mediocre film at best, burdened by limited characters, heavy-handed newsreel footage and a trite rendering of the central issue – racism.
The long and short of it is that Blackkklansman wasn’t a Spike Lee masterpiece – apologies to Barbra Streisand – and pales in comparison to Jungle Fever, Mo’ Better Blues, Malcolm X andDo the Right Thing. Nor does it compare to Boots Riley’s own Sorry to Bother You, a film that takes risks and challenges the viewer.
No, Spike Lee wasn’t robbed of anything, nor did The Academy fail in the selection of Green Book. It’s status quo, folks. Even if the New York Knicks won a game.
I’ve spent my life in a state of high anxiety, waiting for the Cossacks. I am always worried. When one cause of worry exits my skull, it is replaced immediately by another. They meet shoulder to shoulder, one entering, the other exiting the cave leading to my tympanic membrane.
Remember being a kid where the world opened to something, no matter how fucked up and confused, a mess of a house, people not acting right, nobody paying attention, and it was just beyond that, through those faux trials that something would be revealed, a room of mirrors, a skeleton villain to smash up, and then outside in the fresh air?
I liked those days as much as I could, even without the booze, turning off the reality of what a shitty crew everyone was – sister, brother, mother, father – not a clue of how to care, make any sense of anything except to do what was next – this holiday, that dinner – sitting there waiting for someone to pick me up. Yeah, being an adult is better.
Remember when you were a kid and thought you knew more than anyone gave you credit? Remember when you were all grown up and thought you knew everything? Remember when you got older, maybe halfway from start to finish, and you began to forget what you said? Remember that? No? Of course you don’t.