“This notion is being shoved down our throats and we can only smile in disbelief.”
Writer and director Bret Easton Ellis said last month that no one in Hollywood really believes “Black Panther” is a particularly good movie ― before launching into an impressive rant against his industry’s progressive posturing.
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The Marvel Studios superhero flick was only nominated for a Best Picture Oscar because of a “huge fatuous inclusivity and diversity push,” Ellis opined on the latest episode of his paywalled podcast, “Low Key.”
Ellis, who is the author of “American Psycho,” railed against Walt Disney Studios, which distributed “Black Panther,” for pushing what he said was a false narrative about its greatness.
“No superhero movie has ever gotten a Best Picture nomination. But believe me, Disney is doing everything in its power to make sure this happens. Even though there is no one out here in La La Land I’ve met who thinks ‘Black Panther’ is that good as a movie. Yet, as a piece of representation, they are supporting it,” he said.
He went on to similarly condemn the media for pushing the “fake news” that “Black Panther” is a “grand” work of art.
“The entertainment press and the studio is selling the notion that ‘Black Panther’ is a grand piece of cinematic art that cannot be ignored. And this notion is being shoved down our throats and we can only smile in disbelief. Or perhaps understand that this is just the moment we’re trapped in,” he said. “A joke, a hoax. It’s all fake news, folks.”
Zooming out, Ellis opined that the Academy Awards reflect the culture of Hollywood, which he said values progressive trends over artistic quality.
“Representation is so important to them. And with a huge fatuous inclusivity and diversity push. What the most flattering pose might be in the moment — as if inclusivity and diversity have anything to do with awarding a movie’s merits. Yes, this is the culture the Oscars are pushing, and it is rather nauseating,” he said.
Ellis has made a habit of taking on the Hollywood left. In 2012, he was criticized for saying on Twitter that actor Matt Bomer was “too gay” to star in “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Later that year, he tweeted that “Hurt Locker” director Kathryn Bigelow had only won Oscars because she is a “very hot woman.”
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Kathryn Bigelow would be considered a mildly interesting filmmaker if she was a man but since she's a very hot woman she's really overrated.
— Bret Easton Ellis (@BretEastonEllis) December 6, 2012
He apologized for the remark about Bigelow amid backlash, but he rejected the idea that his opinions need to be taken so seriously.
“Twitter seems like a writer’s funhouse to me, not something I’d use ‘seriously’ to ‘hurt’ someone. I don’t want to hurt anybody,” he said. “I’m just a lone voice and not a teacher. And I refuse to make my Twitter page one; it is what it is, take it or leave it, follow or unfollow, enjoy it or let it piss you off.”
More recently, Ellis has mocked his industry’s disgust with President Donald Trump, even though he said that he himself is not a huge fan of the president.
Ellis recorded his podcast rant against “Black Panther” on Jan. 17, days before the Oscar nominations were announced. But he correctly predicted that “Black Panther” ― a blockbuster about a mythical highly advanced black nation called Wakanda ― would get a Best Picture nomination.
His fearless commentary was especially notable given that he has projects in the works. A new adaptation of his debut novel, “Less Than Zero,” is being developed by Hulu, and he said on the podcast that he is adapting his novel “Lunar Park.”
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Long a liberal stronghold, Hollywood has lately been driver to ever-greater wokeness, thanks in part to a variety of progressive hashtags targeting the industry, from #OscarsSoWhite to #MeToo to #TimesUp to #4PercentChallenge.
Studios have moved toward identity-based hiring in the name of “representation” and “inclusion.” Filmmakers and actors who have tried to portray subjects or characters from supposedly marginalized groups to which they do not belong have become targets of online campaigns, which have in some cases succeeded.
While advocates for racial balance hail the forward march of culture, critics warn that freedoms of expression and thought are being sacrificed on the altar of social justice.
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