"Oscars 2002: Somebody Make It Stop!"

By Cintra Wilson

By Salon Staff

Published March 28, 2002 8:00PM (EST)

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Cintra Wilson's report on Oscar 2002 was simply lovely. How the hell did she manage to get by the Bland-o-Matic censors? I'm not saying you guys at Salon are exactly dull -- I do subscribe, after all -- but I wasn't expecting such in-your-face fun in an Oscar report. Wilson is a gem, a goddess, a prophet. And she is so, so right to warn us all of the perils of the Tom Cruise menace. I just worry that his minions will discover her existence and attempt to squash her in an "M.I."-like SWAT team apocalypse.

-- Carl Skutsch

When I read the N.Y. Times coverage of the Oscars this morning, I thought that last night had just been a bad dream and that I hadn't actually spent four and a half hours in agony. So I immediately went to Salon, thinking "they must have seen what I saw." God bless Cintra Wilson for having the raw fire and courage to tell it like it was. She has single-handedly restored my faith in humankind. Next year I'll skip the program, and read her coverage instead. Pay her twice!

-- Amy Scheibe

Someone should let Cintra Wilson know that they do have medication now that might provide her with considerable relief.

-- Cindy McMullin

I just wanted to say that Cintra Wilson's article on the Oscars was the most hilarious thing I've read in ages! Now there's a talented writer! I thought it was a great night for the Oscars, in no small part because I'm an African-American woman. Nevertheless, whenever we win one of those coveted statues, there's always that feeling of, "Hmmm, is this a 'make-up' award?" Cintra hit the nail on the head with many of her astute and scathingly funny observations -- not only about giving awards to the black folks and people like Randy Newman when they are long overdue -- particularly in the wake of Sept. 11 -- but also about Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts and Ron Howard. So so funny!

By the way, I thought Whoopie was funny! She was obviously under restraining orders, though, in light of the spectacle she made of herself few years back.

Great job to Salon.com and Cintra, keep it up.

-- Karlene J. Rogers, Esq.

Regarding Cintra Wilson's crack about the supporting actress award always going to "the new babe," Jennifer Connelly's been acting since she was 11, in "Once Upon a Time in America," and if you believe the Internet Movie Database, is 31 years old. A quick check of IMDB also reveals that she's done almost two dozen films, including "Waking the Dead" and "Requiem for a Dream."

Wilson seems almost as hysterical as Halle Berry, and less in command of her facts.

-- Don Chartier

I want to congratulate Salon and Cintra on your coverage of the 2002 Oscars. It summed up what I felt the entire time I was watching. From Whoopi Goldberg's stupendously unfunny "honey chile" routine (has she ever been funny? Please make her go away), to Halle Berry's total meltdown/freakout. (Honey chile, it's just an award, not justification for your existence.) That weird and ugly scene for me summed up why the Oscars blow: We're supposed to care as much as she does about getting that award. Well, I don't. It just matters less and less to me what these overpaid, self-important hucksters do. There are so few artists who show up to that gilt debacle, and the few who do are rarely nominated, and even more rarely do they win (tell me why Denzel didn't win for "Malcom X"). I stopped watching the Grammys about three years ago when I just couldn't take the crass commercialism and throwaway, faceless boy/girl bands anymore. It's the same with these crappy movies. ("A Beautiful Mind"?! Puh-lease.) The Oscars are next on my hit list. Bah.

-- Sean Driscoll

I just read a piece written by Cintra Wilson about the Oscars that made me cringe much harder than I did when Halle Berry fell apart onstage at the Oscars. Her writing reminds me of my attempts at high school Op-Eds when I mistook ignorant rebelliousness for contrarianism. Oscars weren't thrown at Denzel and Halle, they were won by them, and deservedly, as they are both fine actors. I am so tired of the fix-is-in cynicism that pervades awards shows -- if you don't like the sappy self-congratulation, don't watch.

-- Emma Margraf

Cintra Wilson's Oscar article is the funniest, truest piece of writing I've had the extreme pleasure of consuming since "Moby Dick." This is not hyperbole. Her vivisection of Hollywood hubris and hucksterism is a painful delight -- it almost makes me content with my position among the lumpen masses, where I don't have to publicly and obscenely justify my fatuous existence every year. If Tom Cruise is übermensch, I'm the üntermensch, and that's fine with me.

-- Todd Robinson

Cintra Wilson's takedown of this year's Oscar snooze-fest was fucking brilliant. If she wants to be Owen Wilson, then I want to be her. Salon should only have more writers like her on staff and fewer arteriosclerotic poseurs like David Horowitz.

-- J.C. Costa

Your Oscars coverage was the best thing Salon has ever printed. Although there's no chance that Cintra Wilson doesn't already know that, please tell her.

-- Rachel DeWoskin

Thank you, Cintra Wilson, for showing us all the flexible and variable nature of the word "fuck" and for demonstrating convincingly that any journalist who hasn't the wit and intellect to come up with less sophomoric ways of expressing herself really has absolutely nothing intelligent or relevant to say. Larry Flynt has more brains -- and class.

When are people like Wilson going to figure out that being obsessed with hating Hollywood is just a lower, more soul-sucking form of being obsessed with Hollywood? Like it or not, America has always loved its celebrities, and its kitsch as well -- more and more since 9/11. Hollywood is just feeding the monkey. If you're so much higher and holier than Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts and the Oscars in general, spare us your envy and do what most intelligent people do when they don't like something: Ignore it. Otherwise, you just look like -- to borrow from Ms. Wilson's charmingly erudite vocabulary -- a fuckin' loser.

-- Ed Tarkington

Cintra Wilson's essay was so on-target and downright funny that I laughed myself silly reading it. It's as if she was channeling my own thoughts about the ridiculousness of Hollywood. I grew up watching Oscar telecasts and have only recently begun to see them with the same vision as expressed so beautifully by Ms. Wilson (and I'm almost 40! How sad). But what a hoot to read my exact thoughts so succinctly and uproariously expressed here at Salon.com.

Every self-obsessed, silly celebrity should read this essay and go straight to their checkbook to write a big ol' check to charities that support underprivileged children instead of sifting through their $20,000 goodie baskets.

Thanks for the chuckles.

-- Cindy Murphy

Once more, an overly smug writer (?) feels the need to prove their high I.Q. to the rest of us. Clueless Cintra: The Oscars are not highbrow; they're fun to watch anyway. Only a pretentious snob would rain on the parade.

As for all the ranting about "negroes," she proves once again that most non-African-Americans (and a few conservative African-Americans) just don't get it. It is a source of pride to a huge, influential part of our population to receive recognition by everyone. These are people who don't feel a sense of entitlement -- even after consistent, overwhelming performances. So two African-Americans win a couple of Oscars. It's about damn time.

Cintra's racism is of a particularly ugly type. I bet she voted for Ralph Nader.

Cintra, lighten up. Cintra, get a life.

-- Sylvia Silliman

Would someone please give Cintra Wilson a gaudy-ass statue for this simply scathing and utterly truthful article? Oh the joy I derived out of reading those words. It was totally priceless, right on-target and so fucking funny, I literally cried from laughing so hard. You go girl!!

-- Sandy Green

And to think, I gave up "Bride of Chucky" to watch the Oscars.

-- Sherry Bruce

Are you out of your mind? "America squirmed" during Halle Berry's acceptance speech? What America shared at that moment, which your writer may not be aware of, is called "emotion." Halle's acceptance speech was one of the few heartfelt moments of true human spirit and emotion during an otherwise overlong show. I for one thought she was great, as did just about everyone else who watched, at least according to every newspaper article I've read, radio show I have listened to, TV program I watched and every single person I have talked to about it since Sunday evening.

Maybe the writer squirmed, but she was all by herself.

-- Tom Ortenberg

Cintra Wilson's piece on the Oscars was mind-bendingly funny and painfully accurate. Thank you for reaffirming my faith in the human condition (not to mention intelligent and objective entertainment reportage) and reassuring me that I am not alone in my growing disaffection with the bloated excesses of our beloved Hollywood superstars.

-- Michael Idato, the Sydney Morning Herald

Cintra does not get it. And when I think about it, it probably isn't necessary that she does except that her words get published and read by other people, and because of that, it is always possible for her to influence someone else.

Halle Berry's speech made no sense to you, Cintra, because you are either not of color, or you are under 40, or both. Did you not hear Sidney Poitier speak? Anyone that grew up in the '60s knows and understands what true racism and bigotry are, and if they no longer admit how ingrained racism is in our society, they choose to do so because they know and witnessed the truth. Racism is so prevalent and accepted that African-Americans were very happy that three awards were presented to African-Americans last night because that has never happened before. Forget your "we are the world" idea that it all shouldn't matter. Yes, you are right, it shouldn't but it does, very much so.

-- A. Grayson

I loved Cintra Wilson's Oscar 2002 review! It nailed exactly those dark little thoughts in the corner of my mind -- that the Academy was making this Black Appreciation Night. Granted, I haven't seen "Monster's Ball" so I can't comment on Berry's Oscar, but Denzel's performance in "Training Day" didn't come across as being the best of the year. He was good, but was he that good?

Kudos also for bitching about "A Beautiful Mind" and Ron Howard. It's like he's the poster boy of What Hollywood Accepts, which happens to be safe fare. Ugh.

-- Joseph Prisco

Cintra Wilson's Oscar diatribe could be dismissed as merely adolescent if it weren't so fucking racist.

Fine, she hates Tom Cruise. Fine, she thinks celebrities are ludicrous. (Not that this keeps her from writing about them again and again, but anyway.)

However, she then makes the injurious assumption that several thousand Academy members collectively voted for Denzel Washington and Halle Berry, honored Sidney Poitier and applauded Whoopi Goldberg just to appease the darkies.

In one fell swoop -- and more sickeningly under the guise of egalitarianism and searching for meaning in a post-Sept. 11 world -- she fells the accomplishment of four enormously talented artists and entertainers who earned much deserved praise for their work.

The KKK couldn't have done it better.

-- Litsa Dremousis

Just read Cintra Wilson's reduction of the Academy Awards telecast and thought, Whoa, there goes my need for melted cheese on my vegetables, chocolate layer cake with chocolate fudge frosting, having my toes sucked by Keanu Reeves or any number of other, now-superfluous excessive indulgences. In her deconstruction of the Academy Awards, Cintra has ladled a fabulously rich, thick and salty chicken-fat gravy of comeuppance over the piping hot biscuits of celebrity excess baked in the Kodak Theater last night, and, while I felt horribly guilty eating it, I did clean my plate.

-- Julia C. Smith

A note from the author:

I wouldn't have said what I said about Ryan O'Neal if I had known he had leukemia. It's only funny if he was merely fat. Apologies.

-- Cintra Wilson

Salon Staff

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