Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Hollywood Toasts Itself, Hardly Bats an Eye at Protesters the Show Biz Must Go on - a Letter from Oscar Night

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Hollywood Toasts Itself, Hardly Bats an Eye at Protesters the Show Biz Must Go on - a Letter from Oscar Night

Article excerpt

CELEBRITIES are America's royalty, which means nobody watches out for its stars like Hollywood.

One of the town's most famous lines, "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain" (from "The Wizard of Oz," 1939), came to mind as I made my way past two groups who were trying to disrupt the Oscar ceremonies outside Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Monday night. One, the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle, held placards reading, "Clean up your act, Hollywood" and "Down with dirty movies."

The other group, which calls itself Queer Nation, was demanding honest and more-varied depictions of gays and lesbians in mainstream movies.

The placards were pointed from opposite directions and competed in vain for the attention of arriving celebrities, who were hidden behind the dark-tinted glass of their limousines. Nor were the protesters' cries audible beneath the screams of crowds who were ogling arriving stars or the drone of helicopters that helped broadcast the proceedings to 1 billion viewers worldwide. With a line of mounted police in riot gear and four rows of limos parked in the protester's way, establishment Hollywood's response seemed to be: "Pay no attention to those people behind the barricade."

Once inside, I thought of the "Oz" line again as I watched the parade of Oscar winners make their way through the press rooms for obligatory questioning. Between the best-supporting actor/actress awards at the show's beginning and the best actor/actress awards at the end, almost no journalist paid attention to winners in technical categories: sound, film editing, visual effects.

When Dennis Gassner and Nancy Haigh won the Oscar for art direction in "Bugsy," the only question they got backstage was: "Was there a moment while making the film when you knew that Warren Beatty and Annette Bening were falling in love?"

Pay no attention to those creative people behind the movies, the press seemed to be saying. …

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