Imagine how her interview with, say, Jennifer Garner, could have gone. Instead of asking what designer she was wearing (Gucci), Ms. Chenowith might have asked: “Did you know that even though women account for 51 percent of the movie-going audience, we accounted for only 33 percent of all characters in top-grossing films?’’
And instead of asking Hugh Jackman if she weighed more than an Oscar, Chenowith might have informed him that since 1950 male film characters have outnumbered females 2:1, but that women were more likely to have sexually explicit scenes.
Hugh, after all, is far more likely to hum something from “Les Miz” than to sing the juvenile ditty “We saw your boobs!” – the title of MacFarlane’s opening number on Oscar night.
And then there’s the study that shows girls as young as six are beginning to think of themselves as sex objects. Don’t know where they would get that idea once a nine-year-old is told on national television how many years she needs before she’s too old to date George Clooney – MacFarlane’s reference to nine-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis, the youngest Best Actress nominee for her role in “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”
We can carp all we want about Seth MacFarlane’s arguably misogynstic, racist, and anti-Semitic language, but his Oscars ceremony was just business as usual. It was a reflection of the same forms of misogyny, racism, and lack of diversity that plague Hollywood and its films in general. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences should take the heat for selecting this host and this kind of ceremony, but the industry should take the heat for too often excluding and poorly portraying women and people of color in its films.