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I tuned in late and consequently can speak only to the last three hours of Halle Berry’s acceptance speech at the Academy Awards last Sunday. But inasmuch as she engaged in wild race-baiting to get her Oscar, her expressions of shock were not very believable. She had spent weeks complaining about one time she did not get a role because of her color. It was the part of a forest ranger. Arnold Schwarzenegger probably has trouble getting cast as a ballet dancer, too.
And yet still, somehow, white guilt worked on Hollywood liberals! Berry had successfully mau-maued her way to a best actress award and then acted surprised.
It’s interesting that Berry makes such a big deal about being black. She was raised by her white mother who was beaten and abandoned by her black father. Clearly, Berry has calculated that it is more advantageous for her acting career to identify with the man who abandoned her rather than the woman who raised her.
Demanding that everyone marvel at her accomplishment, Berry gushed: “This moment is so much bigger than me.” Whenever people say something is not about them it’s always just about them. This is a turn of phrase meant to remind the audience of the importance and beauty of them. Berry said her triumph was a victory “for every nameless, faceless woman of color who now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened.”
Yes, at long last, the “glass ceiling” had been broken. Large-breasted, slightly cocoa women with idealized Caucasian features finally have a chance in Hollywood! They will, however, still be required to display their large breasts for the camera and to discuss their large breasts at some length with reporters.
Thus, Berry has explained her philosophy on nude scenes, saying: “[I]f it’s what the character would do, then I’d use my body in any way that would best serve that character.” This, she said, is her “strong belief.” But what does it mean, exactly? Don’t all people undress sometimes? All people pick their noses, but vapid Hollywood actresses don’t insist on showing us that in every movie on the grounds that it is “what the character would do.”
In fact, Berry’s unseemly enthusiasm for displaying “these babies,” as she genteelly refers to her breasts, reduces roles for any women who lack Berry’s beauty-queen features. If movies must include soft-porn scenes, the audience is entitled to demand performers with sexual characteristics they would like to see in a soft porn movie. Somehow, characters played by Whoopi Goldberg are never the sorts of characters who would do things in real life like undress or have sex. And by the way, Billy Bob Thornton isn’t cutting it for the female audience.
When they are young, nubile Hollywood actresses all utter the same idiotic cliches about the artistic value of nudity in movies. Then they expect us to feel sorry for them when parts dry up after they become old and start to sag. Live by the breast, die by the breast.
But Berry’s self-aggrandizing pap was merely a footnote to the main theme of the awards ceremony, which was: Julia Roberts loves all the black brothers! It was a point she felt could not be made too often or with too much condescension. Her presentation of the best actor award began with the exciting revelation that she had just kissed Sidney Poitier!
Having once famously proclaimed she did not want to live in a world in which Denzel Washington had not won an Oscar for best actor, she preceded her announcement of his award saying, “I love my life!” This was about her, not him. It was her personal triumph over racism. The only patronizing remark Roberts skipped was to note that Washington and Poitier were “articulate.”
After Washington accepted his award, Roberts leapt on him and would not let go. It was as if he had grown some sort of exotic Julia Roberts wart. Not only Washington, but, more urgently, his wife deserves great credit for their forbearance. Whatever indignities Hollywood has visited on blacks in the past, it would be hard to top this.
Whenever white liberals are in trouble, they always run to the blacks. Immediately after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, Monica went to a Washington Wizards game where she hoisted some poor unsuspecting black girl onto her lap in full view of the cameras. Bill Clinton dropped the subtlety and dashed off to Africa. After his abomination of a presidency, Jimmy Carter built housing in Harlem.
Apparently, Oscars night was Hollywood’s shot at patronizing blacks to generate goodwill – perhaps as wartime penance for its long-standing hatred of America.
It’s too bad Denzel Washington’s Oscar was tainted by Hollywood’s self-serving night of condescension. He deserved that award. And he deserves a special award for not punching Julia Roberts in the mouth.