Did the Oscars FINALLY get the message?

“Top Gun: Maverick” won just one Oscar on Sunday night, but the blockbuster still ruled the night.

2022’s apolitical sequel and graceful star Tom Cruise set the tone for a shock Oscar reversal. The 95th annual gala focused on glamour, glamor and gratitude, mostly eschewing the far-left politics that have made the ceremony a staple in recent years.

That’s not to say the 3.5 hour gala entertained us. The event remains a bloated, boring affair that can’t let go of its ceremonial excess.

The change in tone cannot be denied. Why, it’s like someone in Hollywood realizes that the biggest night in the industry shouldn’t be trying to push viewers far, far away.

Jimmy Kimmel, yes this Jimmy Kimmel, set the tone from the jump. His monologue lacked political bite – one joke referred to Hunter Biden in a toothless way – and he delivered some well-deserved top cuts to last year’s Oscars fracas.

Yes, he addressed “the Slap” because he had no choice.

Otherwise, his jokes were clever if not hilarious, endearing but not heartbreaking. In short, he summoned Billy Crystal to the best of his limited ability.

That’s enough in our logbook.

The ceremony mostly took from there. The evening featured a few unnecessary revivals, but the presenters mostly stuck to the script. They congratulated family, friends and fellow artists and spoke of gratitude, not pet causes.

No Trump jokes. Really.

Ke Huy Quan’s speech for Best Supporting Actor came early and was typical of the night’s atmosphere. The man once known as Short Round even called his win a sign of the American Dream, a pro-American sentiment that seemed surreal given the way modern Hollywood thinks.

Elizabeth Banks, a prime-time virtue signaller, kept her time light on the catwalk by making it loud with a man in a bear costume. Yes, his movie “Cocaine Bear” made us smile once again.

As for the trophy winners, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” topped the night, with “All Quiet on the Western Front” coming a distant second.

This gave “EEAAO” directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert too much time on the podium. The duo started out strong but began to meander with their subsequent appearances.

Scheinert tried to scream drag queens, bringing the culture wars to the stage. Except he ignored the reason for the conservative rage against this art form. The drag queens now routinely perform their sexually charged shtick for children, undoing his defense.

Kimmel couldn’t hold back her partisan impulses, unleashing two anti-GOP jokes near the end of the impossibly long telecast. Neither came off sharp, but the fact that he waited so long to say them spoke to something deep.

Ironically, Tom Cruise didn’t show up for the ceremony. Somehow, her presence was felt more than any other star.

On some level, Hollywood can understand the damage to its brand. Maybe the success of “Maverick” and Cruise’s charm offensive has opened enough eyes. There’s no doubt that someone at the top of the Oscars food chain told the production team to focus on the movies, not virtue.

And it (mostly) worked.

An apolitical Oscar gala is the industry’s most subversive act in ages.


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