A classic which previously appeared on Salon.com
Love it. If only this were effective criticism today. Trouble is, elites have wrapped themselves in an invincible cloak of woke, virtue-signaling causes. Against which any attack, will redirect and multiply that energy back at the critic, in a deadly social ostracism which is often unsurvivable. YOU are the contagion we need to wipe out, CIntra Wilson -- the elites would declare. ...and we are vaxxing the minds of children right now, so your diseased thoughts will never be able to infect this society again.
No apologies required. I remember this whip-crack-of-a-column when it was first pubbed on Salon. Anyone who can successfully employ the sacrament of Extreme Unction within a referential constellation featuring Tom Cruise, Scientology, and Hollywood sanctimony deserves multiple pirate troves of shiny, golden-wrapped chocolate doubloons. (REAL gold wrapping) Still a winner. And you were still kinda just getting started, Oscar assessment-wise. Them were the days.
Aw, Cintra, I have been reading (and loving) your writing for about five years now. So glad that I was able to follow you on Substack after getting kicked off of Fakebook so many times that I finally realized that it was me and just got off it altogether. You are, without a doubt, the undisputed snarkasm queen of pop culture criticism and seeing how well these older articles remain fresh and poignant just proves it. But, alas, after hundreds, if not, thousands, of spot-on observations, who woulda thunk that J-Lo had twenty years left in her?!?
It was, in its way no big deal, just JR was asked to vacate her seat for the name on the place-card [something like that --security was tight after 9/11] and she pitched the full, table slamming, "Do you know who I am?" The staff backed off and Denzel vibed JR away shortly, so no Mace or tasers were deployed. I spent some years doing Hollywood gigs like this, and this was the purest "pulling rank" I ever saw. Sean Connery and Michael Caine -- "Oh, pizza!" -- those guys were menschen. Charlize and Salma, sweethearts! The insecure: shitheads vicious as weasels on speed Bad company, good material.
I was working for Wolfgang Puck that night, assigned to be Denzel's "shadow" at the Governor's Ball ("Stick close and get him whatever he wants, WHATEVER he wants, and make it snappy.") Denzel treated me cordially and never asked me for anything, so I got to stand back and be a fly on the wall. There was some...behavior around Denzel's calm eye of the posturing. The aforementioned Julia Roberts stopped by the table and ... hoo boy. Details in my forthcoming novel/memoir, soon as I figure out which it is to be.
I'd forgotten this debacle entirely. I watched some of it because I was so besotted with Jackson's initial Tolkien outing that I wanted to see how it would do, but I turned the thing off when Berry's fit became too much to take. She was miscast in the role she won for (a character that would have been fine if it had been assayed by Queen Latifah or Viola Davis), but though she was okay, her display at the ceremony left me with not much use for her since. I missed Newman's acceptance speech, which I read about later, and according to me is the greatest acceptance speech in Oscar history: "I don't want your pity." Another great one, C.
You should have gotten a Pulitzer for "acceptance tantrum" alone.