At Sunday evening’s Academy Awards, London-born actor Gary Oldman received his first-ever Oscar for playing the British Bulldog, Winston Churchill, in the film Darkest Hour. Oldman immediately thanked the United States for paving the way for his success while the only sound from the gaggle of Hollywood elitists was, to paraphrase John Lennon's famous comment to the royals in a Beatles audience, the rattling of their jewelry.
After a cursory “thank-you” to the Academy, Oldman said:
"I've lived in America for the longest time and I am deeply grateful to her for the loves and the friendships I have made and the many wonderful gifts it has given me. My home, my livelihood, my family, and now, Oscar. The movies, such is their power, captivated a young man from South London and gave him a dream."
Oldman’s nod to the American Dream was met with deafening silence from those gathered who were more interested in lecturing against the very things that made them stars in the first place: sex and guns. But how telling it is that an English person is the most patriotic American in the room.
Oldman has ruffled Hollywood feathers before. With the #MeToo/Time’s Up movement in full tilt during the awards, perhaps Oldman’s past was fresh on their minds. In 2001, the actor was accused of beating his then-wife Donya Fiorentino with a telephone in front of their children, something Oldman denies. But maybe it was also Oldman’s personal opinions that also got him the icy reception from his colleagues. Perhaps they remember him saying a few things that deviate from typical Hollywood groupthink in a recent Playboy interview:
“At the Oscars, if you didn’t vote for ’12 Years a Slave’ you were a racist.”
“I just think political correctness is crap. That’s what I think about it. I think it’s like, take a f***ing joke. Get over it. I heard about a science teacher who was teaching that God made the earth and God made everything and that if you believe anything else you’re stupid. A Buddhist kid in the class got very upset about this, so the parents went in and are suing the school! The school is changing its curriculum! I thought, All right, go to the school and complain about it and then that’s the end of it. But they’re going to sue! No one can take a joke anymore.”
Oldman is no fan of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, either:
“Well, if I called Nancy Pelosi a cunt – and I’ll go one better, a f***ing useless cunt – I can’t really say that. But Bill Maher and Jon Stewart can, and nobody’s going to stop them from working because of it. Bill Maher could call someone a fag and get away with it. He said to Seth MacFarlane this year, ‘I thought you were going to do the Oscars again. Instead they got a lesbian.’ He can say something like that. Is that more or less offensive than Alec Baldwin saying to someone in the street, ‘You fag’? I don’t get it.”
Oldman also sympathized with Hollywood pariah Mel Gibson, who has only recently been let out for brief visits from Tinsel Town Purgatory for his past behaviors:
“I don’t know about Mel. He got drunk and said a few things, but we’ve all said those things. We’re all f***ing hypocrites. That’s what I think about it. The policeman who arrested him has never used the word nigger or that f***ing Jew? I’m being brutally honest here. It’s the hypocrisy of it that drives me crazy. Or maybe I should strike that and say ‘the N-word’ and ‘the F-word,’ though there are two F-words now.”
As for his political identity, Oldman says, “I’m probably libertarian.” Yet, he knows it’s not prudent for his career to mention the fact that he’s not a flaming leftist. Alas, it took him over 20 years to be recognized by his peers at the Oscars.