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Mitch Perry Report for 2.29.16 – #OscarsSoLong

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I was delighted to read online in the middle of the night that “Spotlight,” the Tom McCarthy directed film about the Boston Globe’s investigations into the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal, won Best Picture at the 2016 Academy Awards last night.

I read about it, because I wasn’t staying up past midnight to find out who took home the award.

Seriously, can the Oscars start earlier in the future? The Super Bowl starts at 6:30 p.m. for a reason – Because it ends by about 10 p.m. on a Sunday night. People gotta work, you know?

What about the show? It seems like people like to fall over themselves every year about how lame the hosts were, but it’s not so easy to dismiss Chris Rock this time around.

That’s because no other host has the pressure on him to make a social statement with his comedy on the issues surrounding this year’s broadcast – the issues regarding the lack of racial diversity being recognized by Oscar voters, who are mostly older white men.

Rock is a comedian, not an activist, so he handed the situation the only way he knew how to – with pointed jokes, including mocking some of the appointed leaders of the movement calling for an Oscar boycott, actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. “Jada’s gonna boycott the Oscars?” Rock asked. “Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited!”  He followed that by saying that while some people thought it unfair that Will Smith didn’t get nominated for his role in “Concussion”, the really unfair event was Smith getting paid $20 million for his acting in “Wild Wild West,” back in 1999.

Getting back to “Spotlight.” I actually did think it had a chance of upsetting “The Revenant,” which was great but sort of long (nearly two hours and forty minutes). Of course, not as long as the Oscars telecast.

“Spotlight” has been hailed as the best movie about American journalism since “All The President’s Men” back in 1976.

Speaking of ’76, it had been 39 years ago since Sylvester Stallone first brought “Rocky” to America, and the symmetry was all set for him to take home the Best Supporting Actor for his role as Rocky in “Creed.”

Except that didn’t happen.

Instead hailed theatrical actor Mark Rylance won it for “Bridge of Spies,” one of the few nominated films I didn’t see.

I did see “Son of Saul,” over the weekend. The searing Holocaust drama took the Best Foreign Film award. Extremely intense.

What else? “The Big Short,” got a Best Adapted Screenwriter Award. And cheers for Alicia Vikander in the “The Danish Girl.”

Who knows what the ratings will be, but let’s be honest- audiences are dwindling in movie theaters, and the Oscars refusing to honor certain films (like “Star Wars”) guarantees that people are only going to care so much about this show.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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