Variety movie critic Owen Gleiberman is calling for Hollywood to protest President Donald Trump during the Academy Awards ceremony on February 26 in Los Angeles.
In an op-ed published January 30, Gleiberman writes that “given the presidential actions of the last week alone, we suddenly seem to be living in an America where every dimension of our political process, our freedom, our very perception of reality is up for grabs.”
Gleibermann concedes that in recent years “Oscar-night advocacy has become, more often than not, a breed of self-abrogating kitsch…conforming to what I’m tempted to call the Susan Sarandon Principle: The bigger the star, the more off-putting — and therefore ineffective — the display of high-minded compassion.”
However, to Gleiberman, protesting President Trump is not about specifically policies but because Trump lacks empathy:
To watch a good movie is to feel connected to the souls of the characters it’s about. That’s why a movie doesn’t need to be “political” to be a moral experience. That act of connection — of empathy — realigns how we feel about the world. The people who work in Hollywood may be wealthy and lucky, but to suggest that they’re simply a colony of “narcissists” is to radically bypass what they do. Empathy is their art, their business, their mission. That’s why, at their best, the movies they make show us a higher way of being.
What Meryl Streep was suggesting [in her anti-Trump speech at the Golden Globes] is that Trump World isn’t just about a bunch of ideas she disagrees with; it’s about the destruction of empathy…It’s a declaration of hate.