Old School Hollywood Types Have Rare Chance To Reclaim Lost Glory And Award Some Badass Movies

(Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

Gage Klipper Commentary & Analysis Writer
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The 2024 Oscar nominations were released Tuesday morning. While most nominees are predictably — even comically — bad, a few gems stand out from the woke milieu. Will the Oscars finally redeem themselves this year?

Unlike the Oscars, we’ll cut through the anticipation and go right to Best Picture. It’s another large pool this year, a total of 10 films, which is the new maximum since the Academy upped the limit in 2021. Apparently, that’s what happens when it becomes fashionable to include foreign films beyond the specific foreign film category. Three of this year’s nominees (“Past Lives,” “Anatomy of a Fall,” and  “The Zone of Interest”) are foreign films.

Beyond the multi-culturalist virtue signaling, the nominees form the veritable list of schlock you’d expect from Hollywood’s most seasoned critics.

“American Fiction” pokes fun at affluent, white liberals’ obsession with race, but it amounts to little more than the approved self-flagellation that liberals use to demonstrate their understanding of just how racist America remains in 2024.

“Barbie” can in some ways be interpreted as a satirical hit on feminism. But while it admits feminism may have gone a bit overboard, it still puts all the blame at men’s feet. In doing so, it makes the evil patriarchy public enemy number one for a new generation of little girls. Similarly, “Poor Things” is the story of a repressed Victorian-era woman who embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery and sexual exploration — enough said.

“Maestro” the biopic of legendary conductor Leonard Bernstein, features Bradley Cooper in a prosthetic nose, the left-wing “controversy” over which drove much of the press around the film.  It centers on the musician’s sexual fluidity as the driving force of the film, and apparently the source of his greatness. One hundred years out from Freud, and our solipsistic cultural arbiters apparently think it’s still deeply insightful to analyze an entire character based on his sexual preferences.

Scorcese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon,” is quite captivating, despite its nearly four-hour run time. It tells the story of a Native American woman as she tries to save her community from the murderous greed of the white man. It is, in fact, based on a true story. But ultimately it plays out rather tediously, preaching the same message we’ve all been force-fed since grade school. We get it: Manifest Destiny was really bad. 

That leaves two, respectable contenders. (RELATED: Do The Emmys Realize They Heaped Praise On A Show Jam-Packed With American Values?)

“The Holdovers,” starring Paul Giamatti, was surprisingly fantastic. It tells the story of a curmudgeonly professor at an elite New England boarding school in the 1970s as he babysits a rich kid left behind by his parents over the Christmas break. The pair bond with the lunch lady, a black woman mourning her son killed in Vietnam. From the premise alone, one would expect it to be an excoriation of white privilege that parrots the lie of a racist America sending predominantly black men over to die in Vietnam. Yet it was a surprisingly wholesome and heartwarming tale that played out as if it was made in the time period it depicted.

Last but certainly not least, “Oppenheimer.” The historical epic takes a sympathetic look at the physicist who created the technology that liberals have despised for the last 75 years — the atomic bomb. It features an all-star cast but was nevertheless crucified by critics for not including enough women and minorities. It’s not a glorification of war by any means, but it doesn’t grovel for forgiveness from contemporary leftists; America did what it had to do to end the war. Ultimately, it is an eminently even-handed depiction of the complexities of American power and greatness.

Either of these two would be a worthy choice. It’s notable that “Oppenheimer” is the most nominated film of the night. The Oscars have given credit where it’s due.  But the options only get worse for the lesser awards.

Best Actress nominees all come from the leading ladies of the Best Picture contenders, except one. Annette Benning is nominated for her portrayal of Diana Nyad in the eponymous Netflix biopic about the lesbian endurance swimmer who probably flubbed her swim from Cuba to Florida at age 60. Only Netflix would think anyone wants to watch a film about aging lesbians competing in an obscure sport.

But let’s be real— after the re-emergence of the Sacheen Littlefeather scandal last year, the Academy will almost certainly want to buy some goodwill. Lily Gladstone is sure to win Best Actress for her performance in “Flower Moon, despite now identifying as a “they.”

Best Actor nominees also come from the Best Picture nods, with one addition. Paul Giamatti already took home the Golden Globe for his performance in the holdover — and he deserved it. In a fair world, he would receive the Oscar as well. Cillian Murphy would also be a worthy choice for his portrayal of Oppenheimer.

But the Oscar is almost certain to go to Colman Domingo, playing an openly gay confidante to Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement in “Rustin.” This just checks too many identity boxes for the Academy to pass up.

“Oppenheimer” also has a shot at both Supporting fronts, with Emily Blunt and Robert Downey Jr. nominated in their respective categories. However, you don’t have to check the Vegas odds to know the British white woman who is married to the action hero who depicts strong American military men is not going to win. (RELATED: Robert Downey Jr. Hilariously Recalls Scathing Reviews From The Past As He Accepts Critics Choice Award)

If the Academy does find it in its heart to award either of the non-woke films, it would be a major step back in the right direction for Hollywood. Surprisingly, they included any normal films at all. However, don’t hold your breath. With flailing viewership and overall disinterest in the box office, the safe bet for the Academy is to take a leaf out of the Grammy’s book and heap praise on the most commercially successful hit.

Twitter is already abuzz with complaints that “Barbie” director Greta Gerwig and star Margot Robbie did not receive individual nominations, despite the film making over $1 billion and being nominated in eight other categories. This will surely require some damage control — get ready for a “Barbie” sweep this year!